Plasma Skin Resurfacing

Plasma skin resurfacing is an alternative choice of ablative skin rejuvenation techniques to the classic ablative laser resurfacing (typically done with a CO2 or Erbium laser). Different from ablative laser skin resurfacing, plasma skin resurfacing using high-energy ionized gas (nitrogen) as its microdamage thermal energy source in triggering skin’s healing response resulting in skin tissue remodeling and rejuvenation. Because nitrogen is chemically inert, it can suppress tissue burning even though skin layers get damaged by plasma (via heating, fragmentation and vaporization), they do not burn off as they do under ablative laser treatment therefore is much safer and less invasive as compared to ablative laser techniques but still more invasive and more effective than nonablative laser light.

Plasma skin rejuvenation can be done at two energy levels – low- or high-energy settings. Low energy levels are typically used for more superficial treatments such as discoloration, texture and fine lines. High-energy settings can in additon significantly reduce wrinkles, acne scars and produce some tissues tightening effects as well. Typically, lower energy treatment are no more effective than nonablative laser techniques. High-energy setting are much more effective than nonablative methods but still not as effective as ablative laser resurfacing. Typically, a single high-energy treatment can produce more visible results than even series of low energy treatment usually done 3-4 times every 3 weeks. Most experts believe that high energy plasma skin regeneration are about 50-60% as effective as ablative lasers. Therefore, plasma skin resurfacing procedure becomes the leading alternative for clients who are seeking a skin rejuvenation procedure that can achieve the similar and comparable results as to the ablative laser resurfacing but with much better risk profile and without the drawbacks of traditional ablative laser light.

The following table compares the effectiveness, safety of plasma skin resurfacing to ablative laser skin resurfacing and nonablative laser skin beauty procedures.

Comparison Of Plasma Skin Resurfacing To Ablative And NonAblative Laser Skin Beauty Procedures

ProceduresPlasma Skin Resurfacing
- Low Energy
Plasma Skin Resurfacing
- High Energy
Ablative Laser Skin ResurfacingNonAblative Laser Techniques 
Effectivenessleast effectiveabout 50-60% as effective as ablative resurfacing and more effective than nonablative lasermost effectiveless effective than ablative laser and high energy plasma resurfacing
Risk of side effects (burn, scar, infection, loss of pigmentation)little, mildreduced risk of side effects as compared to ablative laserhighestnone
Downtime / Recovery Timea few days1 and 2 weeks2 to 4 weeks none
skin texture
fine lines
acne scars
some skin tightening effects similar to nonablative laser, but with downtime and side effects
wrinkles and fine lines
skin tightening
other skin conditions
wrinkles and fine lines
some skin tightening

Currently, the most commonly used system for plasma resurfacing is Rytec’s Portrait plasma resurfacing system with 3 energy setting: PSR1 (low) and PSR2/3 (high).

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