In the past, skin has been "rejuvenated" by chemical peeling and mechanical dermabrasion. These methods are unpredictable as the depth of wrinkle removal is difficult to control.
Recent technological advances have enabled the use of the powerful carbon-dioxide (CO2) lasers, which have a wavelength of 10,600 nanometres, to deliver char-free ablation (i.e. free of scarring and pigmentation) by moving the high powered focused beam rapidly by a microprocessor controlled opticomechanical device. This enables a short exposure time at each position.
More recently, erbium:YAG lasers have also become available for laser resurfacing. They have a wavelength of 2,940 nanometres, and the bursts of energy are delivered by very short pulses. The erbium lasers produce less post-operative erythema (redness), because the penetration is not as deep as the CO2 laser.
In the three to six months following the operation, the remodelling of collagen (structural protein of skin) will continue, and consequently the process of skin softening is ongoing.