Skin resurfacing options include ablative treatments, non-ablative treatments, or something that lies in between.
Ablative treatments entirely remove the outer layer of skin. Recovery is significant, although not as serious as a facelift or other major surgery, but the results can be just as dramatic. Ablative procedures can remove fine lines, deep discoloration, pre-cancerous cells, and some scars.
Non-ablative treatment does not injure the outer layers of skin and therefore does not require recovery time. There is no significant scabbing and peeling. Discoloration and visible veins are removed from the outer layers of the skin and collagen production is stimulated.
Fraxel resurfacing combines the two effects by reaching deep, but only in tiny areas, leaving surrounding tissues undamaged. The results are more dramatic than with non-ablative procedures, but healing is sped up by leaving unharmed cells surrounding the affected ones.