Safer, faster, better results: Erbium laser technologies are redefining skin resurfacing
Kirsch Dermatology in Naples, Florida, takes great pride in providing a blend of advanced treatments and a boutique-style environment and approach to care. Investments in the “latest” technologies help to support this mission. Notably, we use highly customizable alternatives to earlier-generation erbium laser systems and carbon dioxide (CO2) laser technologies. These innovations include ProFractional and the Contour TRL™ (Tunable Resurfacing Laser) developed by the medical and aesthetic laser technology leader: Sciton®.
Erbium Laser 101
Erbium lasers represent a type of YAG laser. “YAG” refers to “yttrium, aluminum, garnet,” the crystal located within the laser. The depth of tissue penetration, tissue absorption, and tissue-sparing properties depend on the materials added to the crystal. The erbium laser differs from Neodymium (Nd: YAG) laser devices and other YAG lasers because it is “ablative.” Ablative lasers are high-powered; they can cut through, abrade, and trim tissue.
As such, erbium YAG lasers (Er:YAG) support the process of removing the surface layer of the skin. In doing so, fresh skin is revealed and a healing response is triggered. The erbium laser also generates heat, which promotes collagen remodeling or the production of new collagen. As we age, our bodies produce less collagen naturally. Since collagen proteins are responsible for the firmness and structure of our skin, the remodeling process encourages skin tightening over time.
Due to how water in skin cells absorb erbium lasers, they are renowned for being a precise treatment option. They can target and remove specific areas of damaged tissue or conditions. The surrounding area remains untouched.
What can Erbium Laser Resurfacing Treat?
Erbium lasers can effectively treat a wide range of patients and skin concerns. “Treatable” conditions include:
- Fine lines
- Saggy, lax skin
- Acne scarring
- Surgical scars
- Hyperpigmentation; for instance, brown “age” spots
Er:YAG devices are appropriate for treating the skin on the face, neck, chest, and hands.
First introduced in 2007 by Sciton®, the Contour Tunable Resurfacing Laser (TRL™) can be precisely adjusted to each patient’s needs. By varying the depth of thermal coagulation and ablation (to heat, destroy, and remove tissue), the TRL™ system may be customized to trigger the therapeutic processes related to both ablative and nonablative lasers and both erbium and CO2 laser devices.
The Contour TRL™ is more efficient at ablating (or removing) targeted, damaged tissues than CO2 devices. This allows for the utmost comfort, safety, and efficiency, with reduced downtime. Such technologies further minimize the risks of unwanted side effects following treatment and expedite healing.
Contour TRL™ is suggested for a wide range of treatments due to its capacity to be “tuned” to varied tissue effects.
Primary applications include:
- Chronic, deep wrinkles around the mouth and eyes
- Post-traumatic and surgical scars
- Dark lesions
- Saggy skin (all areas)
- Rough skin texture
- Uneven skin tone
Suitable as a facial and body treatment, TRL™ is safe for all skin types.
ProFractional Technology –
Sciton® characterizes ProFractional as the “premium erbium laser” available today. It is designed to provide exceptional “fractionated” skin resurfacing. Fractional or fractionated lasers create small, narrow channels in the skin. Accordingly, the laser energy generated and delivered to the skin is highly targeted. This design provides optimal efficacy when initiating a controlled wound healing response. Undesirable side effects and risks are minimized by leaving healthy, unblemished tissue untouched.
Other resurfacing techniques are categorized as “full field,” meaning they treat and remove all surface areas within the targeted site.
ProFractional lasers are commonly used as a treatment for overall age-related changes and to improve UV damage, discoloration caused by melasma, and the appearance of scars. It is also recommended for:
- Annual skin maintenance to sustain overall skin quality and tone
- Pigmentation; for instance, moles, actinic keratosis (pre-cancerous lesions), freckles, and “age spots”
- Scars caused by acne
- Collagen production to resurface the skin, minimizing fine lines to deep folds
ProFractional may be used on the face, neck, chest, hands, arms, and legs. It is well-suited to all skin types, from Fitzpatrick type 1 (light, always burns) to type 6 (black, never burns).
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of the erbium laser treatment?
Erbium lasers get dramatic results in less than half the time of “traditional” resurfacing technologies. They are less aggressive and require less downtime than conventional ablative CO2 laser resurfacing. Due to the targeted nature of Er:YAG, very deep treatments can be performed safely with minimal risk of complications. The technology facilitates consistent, predictable results and shorter recovery times and avoids most of the side effects commonly seen with other laser and light-based systems. Lastly, Er:YAG is incredibly versatile. It may be combined with other technologies, such as BBL HERO®, and it may be safely applied to all skin types – both face and body.
What do you feel like after the treatment?
The treatment causes little to no discomfort. You may experience a lingering sensation of warmth for 30 to 60 minutes (or longer for deeper treatments). The skin may be itchy or slightly swollen. It is essential to exercise proper sun protection because the skin may be sensitive to the sun and peel following treatment. Moisturizing with gentle products can also help retain the skin’s softness and elasticity.
How many treatments are needed?
Patients who undergo treatment enjoy dramatic results in one to four treatment sessions. We may recommend semi-annual or annual maintenance treatments after the initial series of treatment sessions.
When will I see the results?
Initial results are often visible within three and five days. Skin gradually improves for up to six months.
Contact Kirsch Dermatology
There are myriad treatment combinations and ways to customize treatment with Er:YAG, ProFractional, and Contour TRL™ laser technologies. So, we encourage you to contact us to find out more about your options. Schedule a consultation at Kirsch Dermatology in Naples. Call (239) 300-9767 or request an appointment on this website.