Does it make that much of a difference which laser is used?

Question:

There seem to be a lot of different lasers used for laser skin resurfacing. Does it make that much of a difference which laser is used? What are some of the more common or more effective lasers and what are they appropriate for treating?

Answer:

The short answer is that all lasers are different.  We have had approximately 18 years of experience with skin resurfacing using lasers and there are a wide range of lasers.  Each laser is used very specifically for one thing and often is not very effective on others. With wrinkling and especially deep wrinkling and sun damage, the best laser to use for this is the carbon dioxide laser which is still considered the ‘gold standard’ for skin resurfacing.  It unfortunately does have considerably more of a recovery period but with that comes the fairly dramatic results.  There are other non-ablative type lasers that do not remove the outer layer of skin but certainly are less effective.  This answer could literally go on for pages and pages to describe all the various lasers but in the interest of time, we will limit our discussion.  It is also important to remember that while we have a lot of technology available, chemical peels are also still an outstanding option for skin resurfacing.  I often inform patients that not only is it important to look at the type of laser but also the physician and their experience in all different modalities as someone with a lot of experience is likely more able to make a better decision as to what gives the best option for resurfacing based on the patient’s goals.