The old style CO2 lasers were called “ablative.” These lasers basically burned all the skin off your face in order to tighten and smooth it. The treatments were very effective, with dramatic improvements even in acne scarring.
The problem with fractional lasers is the side effects. Long recovery times, permanent scarring, and ghostly hues to the skin were just some of the complications that can occur with aggressive ablative lasers.
So now doctors are performing fractional lasers. Instead of burning all the skin off your face, fractional lasers burn a fraction of the skin. This results in less downtime, less risk of complications, and a more predictable result. The newer ablative lasers are typically fractional.
Fractional lasers can be very effective at reducing fine lines, tightening the skin, improving the crepiness of skin, and removing pigmentary blemishes like sun spots. Downtime can range from a few days to a week or so. Exercise caution if you have darker skin or a history of cold sores.