Non-ablative Fractional Lasers

Compare To Other Treatments

What Is It?

Non-ablative lasers are less invasive but also less effective than ablative lasers. Non-ablative fractional lasers shine a focused beam of light at the skin in a fractional (dot-matrix) pattern, leaving the skin intact, while stimulating collagen and elastin production over time.

This procedure is normally repeated 4 times (3 or more) in 4-week intervals, and you should see gradual results with each session. And after your last session, your skin should continue to improve.

Good or Excellent Response

Strength of Evidence
46% of patients achieved a good (>50%) or excellent (>75%) improvement in scarring after 4 sessions

Moderate Response

Strength of Evidence
81% of patients achieved at least a moderate (>25%) improvement in scarring after 4 sessions
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  2. Lu, K. & Cai, S. Efficacy and safety comparison between 1927 nm thulium laser and 2940 nm Er:YAG laser in the treatment of facial atrophic acne scarring: a prospective, simultaneous spilt-face clinical trial. Lasers Med Sci 37, 2025–2031 (2022).
  3. Shi, Y., Jiang, W., Li, W., Zhang, W. & Zou, Y. Comparison of fractionated frequency-doubled 1,064/532 nm picosecond Nd:YAG lasers and non-ablative fractional 1,540 nm Er: glass in the treatment of facial atrophic scars: a randomized, split-face, double-blind trial. Ann Transl Med 9, 862 (2021).
  4. Manuskiatti, W., Punyaratabandhu, P., Tantrapornpong, P., Yan, C. & Cembrano, K. A. G. Objective and long-term evaluation of the efficacy and safety of a 1064-nm picosecond laser with fractionated microlens array for the treatment of atrophic acne scar in Asians. Lasers Surg Med 53, 899–905 (2021).
  5. Zhang, M., Fang, J., Wu, Q. & Lin, T. Evaluation of the safety and efficacy of a picosecond alexandrite laser with DLA for acne scars in Chinese patients. Lasers Surg Med 52, 176–181 (2020).
  6. Yang, C.-S. et al. A prospective study of fractionated dual-wavelength picosecond laser in treating acne scar. Lasers Surg Med 52, 735–742 (2020).
  7. Wen, X., Li, Y., Hamblin, M. R. & Jiang, X. A randomized split-face, investigator-blinded study of a picosecond Alexandrite laser for post-inflammatory erythema and acne scars. Dermatol Ther 33, e13941 (2020).
  8. Wang, B. et al. Efficacy of non-ablative fractional 1440-nm laser therapy for treatment of facial acne scars in patients with rosacea: a prospective, interventional study. Lasers Med Sci (2020) doi:10.1007/s10103-020-03107-x.
  9. Kwon, H. H. et al. Comparison of a 1064-nm neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet picosecond laser using a diffractive optical element vs. a nonablative 1550-nm erbium-glass laser for the treatment of facial acne scarring in Asian patients: a 17-week prospective, randomized, split-face, controlled trial. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol (2020) doi:10.1111/jdv.16643.
  10. Gamal, A., Nada, E., Ibrahim, H. & Mohamed, E. Erbium-YAG laser alone versus erbium-YAG laser with platelet rich plasma in treatment of atrophic acne scars. (2020).
  11. Chayavichitsilp, P., Limtong, P., Triyangkulsri, K. & Pratumchart, N. Comparison of fractional neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet (Nd:YAG) 1064-nm picosecond laser and fractional 1550-nm erbium fiber laser in facial acne scar treatment. Lasers Med Sci 35, 695–700 (2020).
  12. Cannarozzo, G. et al. A new 675-nm laser device in the treatment of acne scars: an observational study. Lasers Med Sci (2020) doi:10.1007/s10103-020-03063-6.
  13. Huang, C.-H., Chern, E., Peng, J.-H. & Hsien-Li Peng, P. Noninvasive atrophic acne scar treatment in asians with a 755-nm picosecond laser using a diffractive optic lens-a retrospective photographic review. Dermatol Surg 45, 195–202 (2019).
  14. El-Taieb, M. A. et al. Fractional erbium-YAG laser and platelet-rich plasma as single or combined treatment for atrophic acne scars: a randomized clinical trial. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb) 9, 707–717 (2019).
  15. Tantrapornpong, P. & Sirithanabadeekul, P. Efficacy and safety of using a fractional picosecond 1064-nm laser for treatment of atrophic acne scars in Asian skin types. Thai Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences 42, 180–184 (2018).
  16. Elsaie, M. L., Ibrahim, S. M. & Saudi, W. Ablative fractional 10 600 nm carbon dioxide laser versus non-ablative fractional 1540 nm erbium-glass laser in Egyptian post-acne scar patients. J Lasers Med Sci 9, 32–35 (2018).
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  20. Alexis, A. F. et al. Nonablative fractional laser resurfacing for acne scarring in patients with fitzpatrick skin phototypes iv-vi. Dermatol Surg 42, 392–402 (2016).
  21. Chae, W. S. et al. Comparative study on efficacy and safety of 1550 nm Er:Glass fractional laser and fractional radiofrequency microneedle device for facial atrophic acne scar. J Cosmet Dermatol 14, 100–106 (2015).
  22. Brauer, J. A. et al. Use of a picosecond pulse duration laser with specialized optic for treatment of facial acne scarring. JAMA Dermatol 151, 278–284 (2015).
  23. Al-Dhalimi, M. & Jaber, A. Treatment of atrophic facial acne scars with fractional Er:Yag laser. J Cosmet Laser Ther 17, 184–188 (2015).
  24. Sardana, K., Manjhi, M., Garg, V. K. & Sagar, V. Which type of atrophic acne scar (ice-pick, boxcar, or rolling) responds to nonablative fractional laser therapy? Dermatol Surg 40, 288–300 (2014).
  25. Ghaly, N. Comparative study of 1540-nm non-ablative fractional erbium laser versus 2940-nm ablative erbium: YAG laser in resurfacing of post-acne scarring. Tanta Medical Sciences Journal 3, 29–39 (2012).
  26. Bencini, P. L. et al. Nonablative fractional photothermolysis for acne scars: clinical and in vivo microscopic documentation of treatment efficacy. Dermatol Ther 25, 463–467 (2012).
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  29. Hedelund, L., Moreau, K. E. R., Beyer, D. M., Nymann, P. & Haedersdal, M. Fractional nonablative 1,540-nm laser resurfacing of atrophic acne scars. a randomized controlled trial with blinded response evaluation. Lasers Med Sci 25, 749–754 (2010).
  30. Cho, S. B. et al. Non-ablative 1550-nm erbium-glass and ablative 10 600-nm carbon dioxide fractional lasers for acne scars: a randomized split-face study with blinded response evaluation. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 24, 921–925 (2010).
  31. Chan, N. P. Y., Ho, S. G. Y., Yeung, C. K., Shek, S. Y. N. & Chan, H. H. The use of non-ablative fractional resurfacing in Asian acne scar patients. Lasers Surg Med 42, 710–715 (2010).
  32. Yoo, K. H. et al. The use of 1540 nm fractional photothermolysis for the treatment of acne scars in Asian skin: a pilot study. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed 25, 138–142 (2009).
  33. Hu, S., Chen, M.-C., Lee, M.-C., Yang, L.-C. & Keoprasom, N. Fractional resurfacing for the treatment of atrophic facial acne scars in asian skin. Dermatol Surg 35, 826–832 (2009).
  34. Lee, H. S. et al. Fractional photothermolysis for the treatment of acne scars: a report of 27 Korean patients. J Dermatolog Treat 19, 45–49 (2008).
  35. Chrastil, B., Glaich, A. S., Goldberg, L. H. & Friedman, P. M. Second-generation 1,550-nm fractional photothermolysis for the treatment of acne scars. Dermatol Surg 34, 1327–1332 (2008).
  36. Alster, T. S., Tanzi, E. L. & Lazarus, M. The use of fractional laser photothermolysis for the treatment of atrophic scars. Dermatol Surg 33, 295–299 (2007).
  37. Hasegawa, T. et al. Clinical trial of a laser device called fractional photothermolysis system for acne scars. J Dermatol 33, 623–627 (2006).

Side Effects

Low-medium side effects and adverse reactions


139 Reviews