A CO2 Fractional resurfacing laser is a carbon dioxide laser that precisely removes deep outer layers of damaged skin and stimulates the regeneration of healthy skin underneath. The CO2 treats fine to moderately deep wrinkles, photodamage, scarring, skin tone, texture, crepiness, and laxity. A fractionated CO2 treatment helps regenerate new collagen and consequently more youthful, healthier-looking skin while allowing for shorter healing times and safer treatments than traditional methods. This is an ablative treatment and downtime should be expected.
• Minimizes sun damage, acne scars, and fine lines
• Improves skin texture and evens skin tone
• Stimulates collagen for firmer, more youthful skin
• May help treat skin lesions
• Better long-term results
• Creates a firmer and more youthful skin appearance
• Minimal downtime for significant results
Carbon dioxide laser beams penetrate the top skin layers through micro channels reaching into the dermis. It creates tiny microscopic areas of thermal damage that stimulate new collagen production and replaces damaged skin surfaces with new epidermal cells.
The major difference between IPL treatments and Fractionated CO2 Laser Resurfacing is ablation. Fractional CO2 laser is a deep, ablative treatment for more intense cellular turnover. CO2 laser resurfacing is the original and the most in-depth cosmetic laser treatment on the market – “The Gold Standard” of lasers.
It is an ablative procedure, meaning that the laser energy destroys the outer layer of damaged cells to encourage new collagen production and prompt the body to create fresh, new skin. Recovery can take one to several weeks, but the results can be dramatic. Other lasers may be lighter or non-ablative and do not yield as significant results.
Carbon dioxide laser resurfacing is usually performed in the office, using topical anesthesia in combination with ProNox laughing gas, if needed. Wrinkles around the eyes, mouth, and forehead may be treated individually, or a full-face laser resurfacing may be performed. Following the laser resurfacing procedure, the skin is cleansed and an occlusive ointment is recommended. The stronger the settings, the longer the recovery time.
We can do a light resurfacing with no downtime or go big! Once the areas have healed, you can wear oil-free makeup to camouflage the pink-to-red color that is generally seen after laser resurfacing. You should avoid sun exposure for four weeks before laser treatment and liberally apply sunscreens pre- and post-procedure.
Patients and doctors commonly compare the sensation felt during most laser treatments to a rubber band snapping against the skin. However, what laser resurfacing feels like depends on the depth and area of treatment and an individual’s tolerance for pain. Deeper CO2 laser treatments may require topical or local anesthetic injections, or intravenous sedation to keep a patient comfortable. We do not typically go that deep here.
Some non-ablative laser treatments (Where the laser passes through the skin without removing layers) cause little-to-no pain and require only a topical numbing cream to offset discomfort. These are nice alternatives but typically cannot provide as impactful results and many more sessions are required.
Initial results will be apparent within weeks of treatment. Full results, however, can be seen 3-6 months after the initial treatment, once the skin has completely healed. Improvements from a CO2 laser procedure may be seen for many years after treatment.
Typically, 1 session may be sufficient depending on your individualized desired results. Many patients also benefit from subsequent treatments at lower settings called “micro laser peels”.
Daily sunscreen application is necessary after healing to protect the newly laser-resurfaced skin. A broad-spectrum sunscreen is recommended, which screens both ultraviolet B and ultraviolet A rays. Use sunscreen specifically formulated for use on the face with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Liberal moisturizer application is also recommended after healing. You can resume application of Retin-A and/or glycolic acid products approximately six weeks after the procedure, or as directed by your healthcare provider.
Sessions generally take approximately 30 minutes, based on the area being treated. For patients requiring more intensive sessions, the duration of a session may run 30 minutes to up to an hour long.
Yes, there may be 3-7 days of downtime depending on the intensity of treatment.