Non-Ablative Fractional Skin Resurfacing

Non-ablative laser treatments target the skin’s deeper layers, leaving the surface intact. The experience is typically more comfortable, both during and after the procedure, than treatment with an ablative laser. Recovery is also shorter. Fractional skin resurfacing is appropriate for lighter skin types and is used to treat fine lines, strengthen skin, and skin texture irregularities. We recommend scheduling a series of three treatments spaced six weeks apart for optimal results.

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Laser skin resurfacing reduces the appearance of wrinkles, scars and blemishes using non-invasive techniques. The technology used for laser skin resurfacing has come a long way and can now provide the above benefits with minimum discomfort and minimal downtime. One such technology with a proven track record is non-ablative fractional skin resurfacing, available now at U Laser Medspa in San Diego, CA.

What Is a Non-Ablative Fractional Resurfacing?

Non-ablative fractional skin resurfacing is the least aggressive form of laser therapy. It is used to correct mild to moderate skin concerns caused by aging, injury or inflammation. The technology involved in this type of treatment is a fairly recent development and is considered a significant innovation from traditional lasers.

Non-ablative means that the laser resurfaces the skin without causing injury to its topmost layer (epidermis). Fractional means the laser is broken into thousands of small beams that treat a fraction of the skin at a time instead of the whole surface at once. This approach allows the skin to heal faster, reducing the recovery period and lowering the risk of complications.

How It Works

Laser is a highly focused beam of light of a single wavelength. When the skin is exposed to laser light, its pigments absorb it and turn this light energy into heat energy. The heat targets layers of the skin, triggering cell renewal and collagen and elastin remodeling. The cell renewal process removes damaged skin cells while collagen and elastin improve the texture and tone. This results in younger-looking skin.

What sets non-ablative fractional lasers apart from their predecessors is the use of thousands of microscopic beams of light. This creates microchannels inside several layers of the skin, leaving the surrounding skin uninjured. The undamaged surrounding skin provides healing function to the damaged layers. Because only a fraction of the skin is targeted, recovery is faster with non-fractional and non-ablative lasers.

What It Treats

Non-ablative fractional skin resurfacing can correct a wide array of skin imperfections on the face, neck, chest and hands. Common problems that we treat using this technique are:

  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Loose and sagging skin
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Uneven skin texture
  • Acne scars


These days, there are many skin resurfacing techniques to choose from, but not all of them provide the unique benefits of non-ablative fractional skin lasers:

  • Non-invasive and gentle
  • Quick treatment with fast recovery
  • Little to no downtime
  • Results lasting months to years

Preparation & Treatment

Before your procedure, one of our providers will review your medical history and take a careful look at your skin. Let your provider know if you have a history of cold sores since you may need to take antiviral medication before treatment. We may also ask you to avoid the following in the days leading up to your treatment:

  • Blood-thinning drugs and supplements (e.g. aspirin, ibuprofen, fish oil, turmeric, etc.)
  • Deep facials and chemical exfoliants
  • Botox and dermal fillers
  • Sunbathing and tanning beds
  • Retinol Products

During your appointment, we will first cleanse the treatment area and apply numbing cream. Once you are ready, your provider will pass the laser handpiece over your skin in a series of passes. You may feel mild burning or prickling as they do this, which most patients find tolerable. The whole treatment should take about 30-45 minutes.

Recovery & Results

Unlike CO2 laser treatment, non-ablative fractional skin resurfacing requires little to no downtime. There is no major swelling, peeling or oozing involved. Instead, you may experience two to three days of minor swelling and itchiness. It’s best to avoid direct sun exposure and use daily moisturizer to speed up recovery.

Your skin should completely heal within one to two weeks. You will notice diminished fine lines and wrinkles, as well as smoother, tighter skin. Your skin will continue to produce more collagen over several months, so you will continue seeing improvement in your skin’s texture and tone.

Laser Skin Resurfacing at U Laser Medspa in La Jolla

At U Laser Med Spa, our focus is U. We want our patients to receive the latest and best in medical aesthetics, which is why we offer non-ablative fractional skin resurfacing. Patients who need a quick, minimal downtime treatment to address their skin concerns can benefit from this advanced skin resurfacing treatment.

If you want to rejuvenate your skin in a few short sessions with no need to take time off from work, consider getting treated at our medical spa center. Call U Laser Med Spa today at 619-304-6974 to schedule a consultation.

Frequently Asked Questions


Am I a good candidate for non-ablative fractional lasers?

The ideal candidate for non-ablative fractional laser skin resurfacing is someone who has mild to moderate skin concerns and no active acne, fungal infections, psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.

How many treatments will I need?

Most patients require three to four treatments spaced several weeks apart for noticeable improvement. Because non-ablative fractional lasers are gentler than other lasers, multiple sessions are required to produce a similar effect.

How soon will I see my results?

You will see a noticeable mild improvement in your skin’s appearance within a week of your first treatment. Your results will continue to improve with each treatment session and several months following treatment.

How long will my results last?

The results from non-ablative fractional laser skin resurfacing should last at least 12 months and for up to five years with good skincare. You may need to have touch-up treatments once a year to maintain your results for as long as possible.

Are there any side effects?

Side effects from this treatment are rare. It is normal to experience minor swelling, redness and flaking following treatment, which are indicators that the procedure was successful. However, if you experience pain or significant swelling, contact your doctor immediately.

Is a non-ablative fractional laser suitable for all skin tones?

Unlike some ablative lasers, this treatment is suitable for darker skin tones. There is a lower risk of hypopigmentation and scarring with this treatment.