• 2016-4-960

    What is a dermatologic surgeon?

    Part of a progressive medical subspecialty, ASDS member dermatologists perform medically necessary and cosmetic procedures to improve the health, function and beauty of skin through every stage of life.

  • 2016-3-960

    From forehead furrows to frown lines…

    Performing more than 5 million cosmetic procedures each year, ASDS member dermatologists offer many treatments that are less intense, safer and have quicker recovery times than ever before.

  • 2016-2-960

    3 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every year

    Any suspicious new growths or changes should be examined by a dermatologist immediately. ASDS member dermatologists are trained to select the best treatment choice based on the individual patient.

  • 2016-1-960

    From excess fat to wrinkles…

    Offering a range of office-based cosmetic procedures, ASDS member dermatologists can select the appropriate treatment choice to meet your individual goals.

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In This Section

Non-ablative Laser Rejuvenation


Uses for Non-ablative Laser Rejuvenation


Learn more about specific conditions where non-ablative laser rejuvenation can be used


What is non-ablative laser rejuvenation?

Non-ablative skin rejuvenation uses a laser to improve the appearance of wrinkles, brown spots and minor scars by creating heat in the skin without injuring the surface of the skin. The heat generated by the laser promotes collagen production which causes the skin to tighten and look young and healthy. Nonablative lasers often are fractionated so they deliver heat into the skin through thousands of tiny, deep columns known as microthermal treatment zones with intervening normal untreated skin. The fractional approach allows the skin to heal much faster than if the entire area was treated. This approach lessens the recovery period and reduces the number of complications that can occur. Multiple sessions are needed in most cases.

What should first be done before considering non-ablative laser rejuvenation?

Before the procedure, an ASDS dermatologist will usually review the patient’s medical history and conduct a physical exam. Let your doctor know if you have a history of cold sores or similar disorders. This is also the time for the doctor and patient to discuss appropriate treatment expectations, potential risks and benefits of the procedure. Prior to treatment, the patient should:

Linda Susan Marcus, MD, explains non-ablative laser rejuvenation.  
  • Avoid tanning or excessive sun exposure.
  • Avoid perfumes, deodorants and other potential irritants in treatment area.
  • Avoid taking aspirin and other blood thinners prior to treatment.

When is non-ablative laser rejuvenation appropriate?

The procedure is used to improve the appearance of skin conditions such as:

Botox Masseter_BandA 
Before (left) and after (right) nonablative fractionated laser resurfacing with pulsed dye laser – Acne scars

Photo courtesy of J Waibel   
Botox Masseter 2_BandA 
Before (left) and after (right) 1927 nm non-ablative fractionated laser.

Photo courtesy of S. Fabi    

Who is not a candidate for non-ablative laser rejuvenation?

The procedure may not be appropriate for people with certain chronic health conditions or unrealistic expectations of the procedure’s outcome.

Is non-ablative laser rejuvenation painful?

A topical anesthetic is usually applied to the treatment area to minimize discomfort. Pain is usually minimal.

What are the potential complications of non-ablative laser rejuvenation?

Botox Masseter_BandA 
 Before (left) and after (right) - 8 non-ablative fractionated laser treatments - acne scars - right cheek.

Photo courtesy of T. Katz  
Botox Masseter 2_BandA 
Before (left) and after (right) - 1 month after 4 NAFR.

Photo courtesy of S. Bruce 
  • Temporary lightening or darkening of the skin
  • Scarring
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Infection


What can I expect after having had non-ablative laser rejuvenation?

Recovery time following the procedure is minimal. Improvement is gradual and can take several months to take full effect. In some cases, a series of treatments may be necessary.

  • Most patients can return to work immediately after the procedure.
  • Redness caused by the treatment can be camouflaged by makeup without any negative effects.
  • The treatment area should be kept well moisturized.
  • Patients should avoid sleeping on the treated area to prevent prolonged swelling.
  • Cold compresses can be applied to alleviate pain.
  • Sun exposure should be avoided after the treatment. Broad spectrum sunscreens of at least SPF 30 should be applied daily.

For more information and referrals

For more information on skin conditions and treatments, along with a list of ASDS members in your state, please visit the find a dermatologic surgeon section of our website.

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