“Ablative” or “Non-ablative”? Your Laser Skin Resurfacing Vocabulary Lesson

Provider performing a laser skin resurfacing treatment on a woman


If you’ve spent any time researching laser skin resurfacing at day spas in Idaho (or perhaps our own med spa), you’ve probably come across unfamiliar words. You’re likely to run into two in particular, over and over again: “ablative” and “non-ablative.” Let’s talk about what these terms mean for your skin.

Ablative lasers are the more invasive of the 2 options. Their powerful energy actually clears away the outermost layers of the skin, revealing new, clear skin beneath while it stimulates your skin’s own natural healing response. This one-two punch of power can yield big results, and these sorts of lasers often come into play when there are significant aesthetic concerns or damage to treat. However, because ablative lasers are more aggressive, treatment usually requires a period of recovery.

Non-ablative lasers are the less invasive option, working by simply heating the skin’s deeper layers to jump-start collagen development. This gentler laser option yields more mild results — but patients can typically undergo the treatment without any downtime afterward.

In our practice, we like the Halo™ hybrid fractional laser, an innovative option that combines the results of an ablative laser with the gentle touch of a non-ablative. It treats surface and deeper layers of skin at once, and it can be customized to meet your specific needs. In other words, you can choose a single, more intense treatment or multiple gentle procedures, depending on your preferences.

Halo can effectively treat signs of sun damage, fine lines and wrinkles, textural irregularities, and more. Its versatility and suitability for patients of all ages makes it one of the most popular options here in our office. It’s also only one option among many that our medical spa patients can take advantage of. To learn more about everything we offer, start by requesting your consultation.

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