CO2 lasers deliver most of their energy as pure heat and as far as I know are the work horses of industrial metal cutting. Water doesn't have nearly the same level of heat absorbtion (I forget the specific scientific term for a substances specific ability to absorb input heat energy) as say stainless steel.
I was told a story about an industrial laser technician who decided to _hold_ the polymer test block when checking the focus on a machine he'd been sent out to service (instead of following procedure and setting it up on a platform as required). The focus was dead on, the aim however, was _not_. He ended up with severe burns, but eventually recovered. No hole in his arm.
As for epidermal skin rejuvination, all they're doing is blowing off dry dead skin anyway. Not so hard when your target is dry.
It may not take as much energy, but it takes a longer exposure. So I suppose, to make my original statement correct, it should probably say "it takes more directed energy to fry a face than a piece of plate steel in the same amount of time."
I'm not pointing this out to be a butthead, or to insist that I'm right. It's just that I find it to be an interesting and odd tidbit of information that it's easier to burn a hole in a piece of metal than it is to burn a hole in a person.
And yeah, i realize it was supposed to be a silly post, and I laughed (on the inside); but as I said, I think it's interesting.
This, of course, would make Priss's railgun spikes more deadly against human targets than her laser. It may also be why Sylia uses mostly laser and melee weaponry on the hardsuits; a stray shot has less chance of causing fatal harm to an innocent bystander (though god help you if you're a firebee pilot).