What is the Erbium Laser?

The Erbium Laser removes superficial and moderately deep lines and wrinkles on the face, hands, neck, and chest. It causes fewer side effects than CO2 lasers. One of the benefits of erbium laser resurfacing is minimal burning of surrounding tissue.

How it Works

The Erbium laser emits light absorbed by water as the light hits the skin. The tissue that contains water is vaporized. The excess heat in the area generated by the laser results in collagen shrinkage and stimulates the formation of collagen, which will tighten the skin further.


In most cases, patients are fully recovered and back to normal activities within a week, depending on the area treated and the energy used. Studies show consistent improvement of lines, wrinkles, photodamage, and scars for up to 6 months after treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions


Lasers provide a level of control that is difficult to achieve with other treatments. With lasers, your doctor can immediately visualize the effect of the treatment. Laser resurfacing is more predictable than other forms of treatment. Shorter recovery times than traditional treatments are often noted, with most of our patients able to apply makeup at their one-week follow-up visit.


Laser skin resurfacing is usually performed with topical anesthesia and other medications in our office. We typically give narcotics, anti-anxiety medicines, and an intramuscular shot of Toradol (a drug similar to ibuprofen). Nerve blocks (like what you get at the dentist) can also be used. Intravenous sedation is available, but most patients do very well with the above combination of pain control modalities.


As with any procedure where there is a break in the skin barrier, side effects can occur. Infection is uncommon but responds rapidly to the appropriate antibiotic. Everyone undergoing full face resurfacing is given an antibiotic, an antiviral, and an anti-yeast medicine to help prevent skin infections.

Hyperpigmentation (extra tanning or browning of the skin) is more common than hypopigmentation (lightening of the skin) but is transient and responds well to topical creams and sunscreen. The long-term sun-damaged cells will be removed, clearing any precancers or excess brownness, and will return your skin to its natural skin tone. We can use several products for your neck, chest, arms, and even legs to help treat brown spots in these areas. Permanent hypopigmentation is very unusual.

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