Ablative CO2 lasers for skin tightening: traditional versus fractional

Dermatol Surg. 2014 Dec;40 Suppl 12:S147-51. doi: 10.1097/DSS.0000000000000230.


Background: With patients more resistant to invasive treatments and those that result in significant downtime, there has been a rise in using lasers to improve skin laxity and induce tissue tightening as an alternative to surgery. Traditional and fractional ablative resurfacing induces skin tightening through precise dermal heating and a wound-healing effect.

Objective: The purpose of this review was to discuss the mechanism of action of using ablative lasers to induce skin tightening and compare traditional versus fractional technologies.

Materials and methods: A review of the literature was performed.

Results: The authors discuss traditional and fractional ablative lasers for achieving skin tightening.

Conclusion: Neocollagenesis and dermal remodeling seen after ablative resurfacing contributes to the clinical improvement seen in tissue tightening. Fractional photothermolysis may enhance tissue tightening effects of ablative lasers because of its ability to ablate deeper into the reticular dermis without significant risk for scarring.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cosmetic Techniques / instrumentation
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy / instrumentation*
  • Lasers, Gas / therapeutic use*
  • Re-Epithelialization / radiation effects
  • Skin Aging / pathology*
  • Skin Aging / radiation effects*