Jan 25 2014

What is Skin Resurfacing?

Skin Resurfacing - Skin Rejuvenation - Mystic, CT

There are several different ways to categorize skin resurfacing: by the device that is used, by the intensity of the procedure, and by which skin problem is most improved by the treatment.

Skin resurfacing: device categories

Medical Microdermabrasion          skin resurfacing photo

Chemical Peels

Non-ablative laser skin resurfacing  

Ablative laser skin resurfacing (fractional laser)


Not done in our office:

   Focused Ultrasound


   Electrical Current

Skin resurfacing: mild no-downtime


Medical Microdermabrasion. A wand is moved across the skin in an even pattern to lightly abrade the superficial layers of the epidermis (top layer of the skin).  There are many different types of microdermabrasion devices. In our office, medical microdermabrasion can be done as an independent introductory level skin resurfacing procedure, or can be done in combination medical microdermabrasion photowith other procedures, such as a non-ablative laser or a chemical peel or a product infusion, to enhance the results of both procedures.

Light Chemical Peels: Different combinations and strengths of specific active ingredients are applied to the skin. The skin peels to the desired degree to make the skin texture smoother and fresher. In our office, we blend chemical peels and customize treat your specific skin issues, at the depth and strength you feel comfortable with.

Non-ablative laser resurfacing (top layer of skin remains intact-no skin cells are "vaporized"): Laser light is applied to the skin and travels through the top layer of the skin without affecting it at all. The light then interacts with the collagen in the second layer of the skin (the dermis) to stimulate new collagen cells to grow--in this way making the skin texture smoother, filling in wrinkles and acne scars, decreasing pore size. As the laser light does not affect the epidermis, there is no downtime with these procedures. Our office offers several different types of non-ablative laser resurfacing depending on you skin issue:

Watch a video of a non-ablative skin resurfacing procedure:



Skin resurfacing: medium depth

Medium depth chemical peels: the ingredients in the chemical peel are blended to remove skin to a slightly deeper level, inducing more of a peel, with a few days of down time.  A medium depth peel has more on a positive effect on the skin the a mild chemical peel. A medical microdermabrasion followed by a chemical peel induces the peel even a bit deeper into the skin layers.

Non-ablative laser skin resurfacing: the same procedure as described above, but with slightly stronger laser energies.  non ablative laser skin resurfacing photo

Ablative laser skin resurfacing (some skin cells are "vaporized" and removed by the process): A more aggressive form a laser skin resurfacing because the laser light removes or vaporizes tissue in a very layered controlled manner as the wand is moved over the skin. The laser energies can be controlled to tailor the depth of the "laser peel" to suit your skin needs, and your work or social schedule.

Fractional laser skin resurfacing: A form of laser skin resurfacing which lays down hundreds of dots on the skin. The dots are microscopic channels of vaporized tissue which stimulate new collagen growth--thus achieving the results of smoother skin.

Skin resurfacing: aggressive

Fractional Laser Skin ResurfacingAblative laser skin resurfacing: An aggressive laser skin resurfacing procedure, using a fractional CO2 laser, is one of the most aggressive yet safest ways to treat deeper wrinkles and acne scarring. The diameter, depth, and density of the dots can be controlled and varied to suit your skin needs, and your work or social schedule.

Deep chemical peels: An even deeper peel in induced, most commonly using TCA as the active ingredient. Deeper chemical peels are less commonly done as fractional laser skin resurfacing can achieve the same results, in a more controlled and uniform fashion.

Skin resurfacing versus skin tightening

Skin resurfacing procedures: smooth texture. Reduce wrinkles, pore size, acne scars. Improves the quality and tone of the skin. Decreases brown spots.

Skin tightening procedures: non-surgical approach to tightening and firming the skin. Decreases skin laxity. Decreases jowls. Tightening neck skin. Makes loose skin tighter and less "droopy". The Accent radiofrequency device is an example of a non-surgical tissue tightening procedure.

Which skin resurfacing treatment is best for your skin issue


Wrinkles Reduction Treatments

  • Ablative laser skin resurfacing using a fractional CO2 laser

Acne Scarring Treatments

  • Non-ablative laser skin resurfacing-* 
  • Ablative laser skin resurfacing



Pore Reduction Treatments

  • Medical microdermabrasion-**
  • Non-ablative laser skin resurfacing-*
  • Ablative laser skin resurfacing

Redness and Pore Reduction Treatments

Brown Spot, Wrinkle, and Acne Scarring Reduction Treatments

  • Chemical peel
  • Intense pulsed light
  • Fractional laser skin resurfacing
  • Laser Revlite Peel-**

"I want my skin to look more radiant and fresher" Treatments

  • Medical microdermabrasion
  • Medical microdermabrasion followed by a chemical peel or a product infusion
  • Non-ablative laser skin resurfacing
  • Light fractional laser skin resurfacing


* can be combined with microdermasion and a product infusion to customize and enhance

**can be combined with laser procedures, chemical peels, and product infusion to customize and enhance



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Coastal Dermatology: Daniella Duke, MD

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