Background: Resurfacing the skin with deep chemical peels, dermabrasion, or lasers tightens the skin via dermal remodeling. The erbium (Er):YAG laser is a new laser for resurfacing and it removes lesional tissue efficiently with minimal residual thermal damage. In this paper, I present the first published study, to my knowledge, documenting and quantifying the cutaneous contraction following Er:YAG laser resurfacing of human skin.
Objective: To document and measure the cutaneous contraction resulting from Er:YAG laser resurfacing.
Methods: Using lentigos as skin markers, square areas on human forearm skin were resurfaced with the Er:YAG laser. The distance between these skin markers was measured before, immediately after, at 3 days, and weekly for 16 weeks after laser surgery.
Results: After two to three passes with the Er:YAG laser, there was an immediate 4% linear tightening of the skin, which persisted at 3 days, increased to 8% at 1 weeks, was 11% at 2 and 4 weeks, 13% at 6 weeks, and 14% at 16 weeks.
Conclusion: Er:YAG laser resurfacing produces measurable cutaneous contraction. This phenomenon may contribute to the positive clinical tightening of human skin following Er:YAG laser resurfacing.