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Erbium (Er:YAG) laser

Erbium lasers fire infrared light onto the skin in short bursts, helping to reduce wrinkles, scars and age spots.

By Zeel Editorial Staff, Last updated: June 26, 2012

Erbium lasers are a very useful tool in the burgeoning field of laser skin resurfacing. Erbium lasers were first used in the 1990s in dental procedures and then later for cosmetic treatments. Today, the devices are used in skin resurfacing procedures.

The laser uses the chemical element erbium to generate energy (hence the name) and fires infrared light onto the skin in short bursts, helping to reduce wrinkles, scars, age spots, and other such skin conditions. The erbium laser erases fine lines and wrinkles and also stimulates collagen production underneath the epidermis, which fills in wrinkles from underneath, while getting rid of dead skin at the same time. Ideally, this results in a more youthful appearance.

What It's Good For

Erbium laser procedures are most commonly performed on the face, but the laser can also be used on the neck, arms, hands, as well as scars. It can rid the skin of obvious wrinkles, scars, and age spots, though total elimination is unlikely.

Who it works for: The ideal patient has light skin. But with care, the Er:YAG laser can be used on darker shades of skin.

Recommended age range: There are no age limits or requirements for the Er:YAG laser.

When will I see results?: When a deeply penetrating erbium treatment is used, usually only one treatment is necessary. When lighter or more superficial treatments are applied, multiple treatments may be necessary.

Key benefits of Erbium (Er:YAG) laser: The Er:YAG can significantly reduce the appearance of wrinkles and scars.

Who's Done It?

Allegedly, public figures as widely variable as Meryl Streep, Hilary Clinton, and Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling have treated themselves to laser resurfacing procedures.

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