Fractional Laser

Our skin changes as we get older. Damage from the sun and the elements can cause blemishes and melasma to crop up. The vital nutrients the skin relies on become depleted. Wrinkles and lines start to form, and our complexion changes as our youthful glow fades. Fractional lasers are multi-purpose tools capable of treating all of these conditions and many others. The treatment is non-invasive, which means that it doesn’t require needles or scalpels, and it’s known for its efficacy. Patients often find it to be convenient and seamless. It allows them to take back their youth and walk away feeling rejuvenated.

Yes Doctor’s Plastic Surgery Procedure Fractional Laser

What is a Fractional Laser?

A fractional laser is a device used in a non-invasive cosmetic treatment known as laser skin resurfacing. It is considered to be an improvement on the older generation of devices because it has a shortened recovery time. It’s less invasive, and it is capable of targeting specific layers of skin, as opposed to altering all of them at once, which is where the term “fractional” comes from. Fractional lasers are capable of treating pigmentations, acne scars, wrinkles, stretch marks, complexion, and skin texture. Patients who receive the treatment are known to have a reduction in the appearance of photo-aging and a generally youthful glow. Fractional lasers can be used all over the body, including the arms, legs, thighs, and knees. But they are most commonly used on the neck, hands, chest, and parts of the face, where they are particularly effective at reducing wrinkles. The device works by dividing a laser beam into thousands of microscopic zones for treatment. It moves along the skin, altering each zone similar to the way a photograph would be altered pixel by pixel. Its ability to target different layers of skin allows it to treat a variety of different conditions based on the type of fractional laser utilized during the session. 

There are three different types of fractional lasers. Each targets a specific layer of skin or the two layers closest to the surface simultaneously. It can remove the upper epidermis, improving pigmentation, texture, and tone by causing that layer to grow back smoother and tighter. It can also heat the dermis beneath. This results in tissue coagulation, which tells the body to begin producing more collagen, a protein responsible for the skin’s strength and elasticity. When a patient first detects a dermatological issue they should begin by finding a trusted, qualified provider. Their skin condition will be assessed, along with their skin type, and their specific aesthetic goals. If they are determined to be a candidate for fractional laser resurfacing, they will be given a list of instructions to prepare for the procedure, including skincare and any necessary products. On the day of the procedure, their treatment area will be outlined, giving the provider a road map that they can follow. An anesthetic cream will be administered to ensure their comfort and a sliding gel will be applied to allow the device to move freely. The procedure itself is quite simple. A laser beam attached to a robotic arm is swept across the target region and a cooling device is used to make the process easier to withstand.

Types of Fractional Laser

  • Which Fractional Laser is Right for You?

    As mentioned above, there are three types of fractional laser beams: ablative, non-ablative, and dual/hybrid. Each one is used to address various conditions, which will be discussed with the provider beforehand. They can also be adjusted for the amount of power (joules) they output, the warm-up time, the wavelength (nanometers), and the degree and depth of the coagulation. All of these things are considered based on a patient’s skin type, the desired recovery time, the desired invasiveness, and the patient’s aesthetic goals. Patients might not be able to grasp the full nuance of this process, but it is best to spend as much time as possible researching and trying to understand the procedure before undergoing treatment. This research should also come in conjunction with advice from a qualified, well-trained provider who’s willing to answer questions and guide the patient through. During the initial consultation, the provider will set up an individualized treatment plan. Patients should help them with every detail and be sure that they have all of the information that they need. Keep in mind that there are several different brands of fractional lasers, each with its own quirks and advantages. Read about them. Know the differences between them, and strive to make informed decisions about which one to go with. That is the best way to avoid any risk of complications and side effects. 

  • Ablative

    Ablative lasers have a wavelength of 2,940 and 10,600 nanometers. They’re designed to remove a predefined portion of the epidermis, encouraging the growth of newer, healthier skin cells in the upper layer. This type of laser has more drastic results. It is used for deep acne scars, deep wrinkles, and deep stretch marks. Due to the strength of ablative lasers, they tend to cause more side effects, and they can only be used on certain skin types. They also tend to require a longer recovery time, within 7 to 10 days. Undergoing this type of treatment is a big decision. It should not be taken lightly.

  • Non-ablative

    Non-ablative lasers use wavelengths of 1440 to 1927 nanometers. They are considered weaker than ablative lasers. They leave the epidermis intact and treat the dermis below. They’re generally used on the face, chest, neck, and hands, as well as the stomach and thighs. They treat pigmentations, shallow wrinkles, and some stretch marks. They can also tighten pores and improve complexion, and they can be applied to all skin types. Unfortunately, they tend to require more sessions to achieve the desired results, which can increase the cost of treatment. Most patients choose non-ablative lasers when their condition is less severe and easily remedied.

  • Dual

    Hybrid lasers combine both ablative and non-ablative laser technology, allowing them to treat the dermis and the epidermis. They have the ability to provide many of the results achieved with non-ablative lasers. They can treat dilated pores and the complexion, and they’re also capable of addressing scars, stretch marks, and most wrinkles. They’re more versatile when it comes to choosing the treatment area, and they work on most skin types, though they can result in hypopigmentation in phototypes IV, V, and VI. Since they are gentler than ablative lasers, the downtime tends to be shorter, and the risk of complications isn’t as high.

Why Fractional Laser Therapy?

Sometimes we need a refresher, something to wipe away all of the old gunk and debris, and make us feel whole again. We want to feel young, rejuvenated, and fresh. That’s how we greet the world, take on life, and make the best of what we have. Laser skin resurfacing is a way to clear out all of the dermal burdens we carry, whether it’s dead skin cells, crepy, dry skin, or a patch of pigmentation. It gives us a clean slate–a new take, one that we can be proud of. That’s why patients choose fractional lasers. They want to get rid of the old and begin anew, and it works. Patients leave the office with a clear, youthful complexion, clean pores, and tighter skin. It can be a drastic step to take, but it’s well worth the benefits. It leaves the skin shining and smooth, burning away years of grime and dry damaged cells. It’s one of the best ways to get rid of old freckles and liver spots. It turns back the clock on photo-aging, healing the trauma caused by the sun, and it’s not necessarily about vanity or beauty. It’s about being renewed and being able to walk tall with confidence. 

  • Reduce Wrinkles and Lines
  • Tighten Skin
  • Cleanse Pores
  • Exfoliate
  • Clear Away Pigmentations

What are Concerns for Fractional Laser Procedure?

Fractional laser therapy is not a spa treatment or a minor alteration. It involves damaging the largest organ in the human body, and it can result in serious complications. There is a lot for patients to learn. After-care, for example, requires study, caution, and a degree of patience and fortitude, especially when it comes to ablative laser treatment. Patients will have to endure a recovery period, and they’ll have to learn how to maintain their skin’s health to ensure proper healing. Preparation is another area of concern. In many cases, patients are prescribed a strict regimen of products and a list of precautions that must be taken to avoid any side effects and ensure the success of the procedure. Missteps have consequences. Before any of that, patients will have to wrestle with candidacy. Fractional laser therapy isn’t for everyone, which is why it’s essential that patients give their doctor a full list of medications and their complete medical history when they first seek treatment. They should be honest about anything they may be taking, including supplements, vitamins, and OTC drugs, and they should make sure to ask their provider about approved forms of pain relief to avoid any interactions. Below is a list of concerns to take into consideration. Use it as a jumping-off point for further research.

  • Candidacy

    Fractional laser therapy is not suitable for everyone. Patients with pre-existing medical conditions should ask their doctor before undergoing treatment. The same can be said for patients who are pregnant or nursing, taking oral isotretinoin or Accutane, as well as patients undergoing chemotherapy, and patients who have open wounds or infections. The skin type of the patient is essential when deciding whether or not they are a viable candidate for the procedure. Some skin types react poorly to laser therapy. Patients facing this issue should seek other forms of treatment. There are many viable options available, and they can be just as effective.
  • Preparation

    Following their initial consultation, patients will receive a set of instructions detailing how best to prepare for the procedure. This includes abstaining from certain cosmetic ingredients, including glycolic agents and retinoids, for 10 days prior to the session. Tanning products, tanning booths, and direct exposure to the sun should be avoided for at least a week. Patients with cold sores will be advised to take antiviral medication to mediate the issue, and it will be necessary to abstain from certain photosensitizing medications. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to provide the doctor with a full medication list before undergoing treatment.
  • After-care

    Recovery period and instructions will vary drastically depending on the type of laser used. Patients should schedule time away from work. There will be swelling, redness, and potentially bleeding and scabbing in the target region. Peeling will occur soon after. There will also be a certain amount of pain. This should only be relieved with approved medication. Patients will receive a detailed list of steps to take to maintain their wounds. This will include abstaining from direct sunlight, using only approved products, and eventually using SPF protection. Moisturizers, hyaluronic acid, and topical and oral vitamin C may be prescribed. The latter two are known to aid in healing and promote collagen production.

Steps to getting your procedure


Step 1


Step 2

Matching with a doctor

Step 3

Getting financing

Step 4

Booking a consultation

Why Yes Doctor for Fractional Laser

Fractional laser therapy is a big step, and it’s one that has to be entered into with a degree of caution. Doing so could make or break the results of the procedure. Patients have to stay informed, and they have to find the right person for the job. That’s why Yes Doctor was created. We have everything you need to research your chosen form of treatment and the low-down on all of the providers in your area. We also offer easy financing options, allowing patients to break their payments up into affordable monthly payments. Applying won’t impact your credit, and you may already qualify for 0% APR.

Frequently Asked Questions

Most patients who receive fractional laser therapy are satisfied with the results. These devices have been in use for decades, and in order to be used on the market, they’ve had to undergo the same FDA screening used to determine the safety and efficacy of medical treatments. But there are risks, and they should be understood. Some patients experience hypopigmentation. Burns are extremely rare, but they do occur. Infections are a possibility as well. They’re either bacterial or fungal in nature. Herpes can crop up. It’s something that providers take precautions to avoid. But it’s also something that patients should know to watch out for.
The number of sessions necessary to achieve the desired results will depend on the patient’s specific skin condition, the severity of that condition, and the type of laser used in treatment. Ablative lasers are better at knocking out problems in a single session due to their strength. Non-ablative lasers tend to require more work. Dual/hybrid lasers are somewhere in the middle. Some skin conditions are known for their high occurrence of relapse. In these cases, patients will have to monitor the target region for years before determining whether to schedule another session. This is known to be a problem with melasma.
There is a vast array of fractional laser products on the market. One of the most popular is called Fraxel. It’s usually the brand that patients are most familiar with. But it is just one of countless options. Fractional lasers are also combined with a massive range of different cosmetic treatments, such as RF therapy, CO2 lasers, and microneedling. All of these things are heavily publicized and touted as miracle cures. It’s the patient’s responsibility to find a way past that noise and to try to understand what each form of treatment entails. There are significant differences, and they do matter.
Providers take a number of steps to help mitigate the pain of fractional laser therapy. It has been described as similar to snapping a rubber band against the skin, but it’s dulled with a cooling device and an anesthetic numbing cream. So it is considered bearable. After the procedure, when that cream wears off, patients do tend to feel sore and there could be a stinging sensation. The first 48 hours, especially the first night, can be particularly hard. There are ways of managing the pain. Some providers will suggest an OTC pain reliever. But these should only be taken under advisement.