What Is the Best Laser for Wrinkles and Skin Tightening?

By Emily M.| Last updated on April 13, 2023
best laser for wrinkles
⏱️ 5 min read

Laser skin resurfacing is a widely popular form of skin care, helping people address all sorts of issues: wrinkles, scars, pigmentation problems, signs of aging, and various minor and major aesthetic concerns.

However, not all lasers are ideally suited for all treatments. The best laser for acne scars may not be the best laser for wrinkles, and the choice of treatment depends on every person’s skin type and other factors.

So, what is the best laser for wrinkles and skin tightening? Let’s take a look.

Best Laser for Face Tightening

When it comes to tighter, more youthful skin on the face, three types of laser tend to stand out: fractional CO2, Er:YAG, and Nd:YAG. Each of them is suited to specific laser skin treatments.

Here’s a brief overview of each of these laser types.

CO2 Laser (Carbon-Dioxide)

This treatment uses a laser to vaporize the targeted skin cells, which inflicts microtrauma and triggers the body’s natural healing response. It stimulates the production of collagen and elastin fibers, which tightens the treated skin and achieves a firmer structure.

CO2 laser resurfacing can be done via the ablative or the fractional method. Fractional CO2 lasers are the better choice for facial skin tightening. This type of treatment projects the laser in multitudes of tiny separate mini-beams, instead of one ray of energy.

That way, there are untouched spots between the treated parts of the skin, which reduces the necessary downtime as well as the total recovery time.

Er:YAG Laser (Erbium)

This laser treatment is similar to CO2, but it uses a different wavelength of light. It can be ablative or fractional as well. Erbium lasers are much less intense than CO2 lasers, making them a good option for patients with more sensitive skin.

The shorter wavelength of light these lasers produce makes them better for treating surface-level skin concerns like wrinkles, fine lines, and scars. They’re especially effective in tackling signs of photoaging.

Er:YAG lasers generate more heat than Nd:YAG lasers, which means they can cause more discomfort during treatment. However, they also typically require fewer sessions to achieve the desired results.

Image source: Instagram @omni_skin_pa

Nd:YAG Laser (Neodymium)

Nd:YAG is similar to Er:YAG, but can be considered more gentle. This laser generates light of a longer wavelength, which penetrates deeper into the skin. This makes it better for treating hyperpigmentation and spider veins.

Nd:YAG lasers are often used to tighten loose skin on the neck and lower cheeks. They’re also applied in some types of hair removal.

So, Which Laser Is the Best Option for Facial Tightening Overall?

Recommendations for facial skin tightening treatments are always based on individual patient needs. There’s no universal answer as everyone’s circumstances are unique.

That’s why you should have detailed consultations with your doctor to discuss your treatment goals. They will assess your skin type and current skin condition, and determine the best type of laser and the most appropriate treatment method for you.

Image source: Instagram @excellase_nc

Best Laser Treatment for Wrinkles

Laser treatment for wrinkles usually targets very specific areas: under and around the eyes, around the mouth, and on the neck.

While wrinkles can appear elsewhere on the body (e.g. on the hands), treating them around the eyes and mouth requires extra care because the skin of the face is thinner and more sensitive than the skin of the body.

For that reason, the best laser treatment for wrinkles in any facial area will typically be a fractional laser.

Best Laser for Under Eye Wrinkles

The best choice of laser for treating wrinkles under and around the eyes is usually either fractional CO2 or erbium laser. Your skin expert will determine which one is the best option for your particular case.

Fractional CO2 laser creates small, controlled injuries in the skin under the eyes in order to trigger the production of new collagen. This helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

Erbium lasers are also applied via the fractional method when treating the sensitive eye area. They’re effective for both wrinkles and age spots, and can also help treat the natural skin laxity that occurs as we age.

Image source: Instagram @dr_mokhtari_dermatologist

Best Laser for Wrinkles Around Mouth

Just like addressing under eye wrinkles, the best laser treatment for wrinkles around mouth will be custom-selected for you by your skin tech based on your specific skin type, overall skin condition, the depth of the wrinkles etc.

That said, the treatment options are generally the same. Fractional lasers are better for the sensitive area, and you’ll mostly have a choice between CO2, Er:YAG, and Nd:YAG lasers.

Best Laser for Lip Lines

Lip lines are also known as smoker’s lines, barcode, and vertical lip lines. Those are the two lines that connect the middle of your upper lip and the bottom of your nose.

The best laser treatment for vertical lip lines will depend on your individual needs and goals. Some of the most popular laser treatments for reducing the appearance of barcode lines are fractional CO2, erbium, and pulsed dye.

We’ve already covered fractional CO2 and Er:YAG lasers, so you can scroll back up to review how they work. They work in essentially the same way for vertical lip lines as they do for eye and mouth wrinkles.

But let’s take a look at pulsed dye laser treatments.

Pulsed Dye Lasers for Wrinkles Around the Mouth

Pulsed dye lasers use a special solution of organic dye as the medium for the laser energy, just like CO2 lasers use carbon-dioxide gas and YAG lasers use synthetic garnet crystals.

The solution is absorbed by the skin’s pigment cells so they become easier for the laser to target.

From there, the pulsed dye laser works just like the others: it destroys the cells it targets, triggering the body’s recovery mechanism and boosting the production of collagen and elastin.

The best laser for smokers lines in your particular case will depend on your skin type, condition, overall health, etc. Discuss your options with your doctor or laser treatment provider.

You can also read our Ultimate Guide on Laser Skin Resurfacing for more details about the different types of lasers and methods of applying them.

Image source: Instagram @la_laser_ltd

Final Notes on Choosing the Best Laser for Wrinkles

The best laser treatment for wrinkles will largely depend on the person: their skin type, health, depth of wrinkles, and other factors. Detailed consultations before an appointment are necessary to determine the optimal treatment option.

However, lasers aren’t always the best option for wrinkle reduction treatment. If the wrinkles are too deep, or your skin too lax for the laser to make a significant difference, your doctor might recommend alternative skin tightening procedures like microneedling or nanoneedling.

Your doctor could also decide to redirect you to an alternative if you already had many laser treatments in the past, because that might have made your skin too sensitive for any more laser procedures.

Cover image source: Freepik



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