Ablative lasers VS non-ablative lasers: What’s the difference?
9 Jul 2019
In the past, if you wanted to tighten and lift, you’d have to consider a traditional facelift. That along with all the risks that come with it. Now, however, thanks to amazing innovations in technology, you have a lot more alternatives to going under the knife. Today’s aesthetic lasers can tighten sagging skin as well as resurface it to improve the look of wrinkles, texture, tone and even scarring. There’s also something for everybody. This includes the option of ablative lasers or non-ablative lasers. In the past, laser treatments were only suited to those with paler complexions, but now, thanks to “colour blind” lasers like the Laser Genesis machine, it’s possible to treat skin of every colour.
When choosing a salon or clinic to undergo any type of laser treatment, it’s always a good idea to ensure they offer a wide variety of options. In short, some lasers are simply better at doing certain things than others. This is why it’s important that you consult with a highly experienced aesthetic doctor before undergoing any kind of treatment. They’ll be able to assess the severity of whatever you’re wanting to target and suggest the best machine for the job.
Having said all that, lasers will typically fall into two categories – ablative and non-ablative. No clue what means? Don’t worry. We’re going to explain the difference.
Resurface with precision – ablative lasers
The word ablative essentially means to “remove”, and thus ablative lasers can get rid of the uppermost layers of your skin. This makes them more invasive than non-ablative lasers, so you’ll experience a little downtime, but the results they deliver are dramatic.
One of the most popular types of ablative lasers is the CO2 type. It can resurface your skin in a way that’s a lot more precise than a peel and dramatically reduce the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, scars and pigmentation. The treatment isn’t uncomfortable as a topical anaesthetic will be applied to the area beforehand. Afterwards, you can expect redness and swelling for up to 7 days but could go back to work in as little as a day, depending on the intensity of your treatment.
A less invasive option – non – ablative lasers
As for non-ablative lasers, these are much less invasive. They pass right through the surface of your skin without removing it and heat up a targeted section of the tissue beneath it. The end result can be a firmer, tighter-looking skin thanks to the stimulation of new collagen creation. As they don’t destroy any tissue, there’s no real downtime, but you’ll typically require several treatments before you see results.
Popular non-ablative lasers include machines like Laser Genesis, Photo Genesis, Titan Skin Tightening, Limelight and Fraxel Dual. Each one can perform multiple functions but your doctor will be able to help you choose the one most suited to your condition, skin colour and budget. For example, a Titan laser, like its name suggests, is great at firming skin but can’t treat pigmentation. A Limelight laser is great at evening out skin tone, however, but isn’t a top pick for tightening.
The bottom line
Ultimately, lasers can do amazing things but they’re only as brilliant as the person using them. This is why it’s vitally important to only pursue treatment with a highly-skilled aesthetic doctor or therapist.
Most therapists will know their way around a non-ablative laser, but the ablative ones are reserved for the use of our doctors only. A doctor will also be best qualified to assess your condition and suggest the best machine to do it. In the right hands, you can expect fantastic results, no knife required!