Fractional CO2 Laser Treatment at Skin And Cancer Institute
The carbon dioxide laser (CO2) is one of the most popular and effective dermatology lasers on the market today. This skin resurfacing treatment is one of dermatologists’ favorite for improving a wide range of skin issues. Many spots, warts, birthmarks, acne scars, stretch marks and skin lesions respond well to CO2 laser treatments when nothing else works. The laser works by using light beams to zap outer layers of skin. These thin outer layers of skin are essentially vaporized, revealing fresh skin underneath. In addition, the CO2 laser causes small, controlled injuries in the skin. As it heals, collagen is stimulated and the skin is left looking fresher, younger and more radiant than before. The CO2 laser offers skin resurfacing somewhat similar to microdermabrasions and chemical peels, but is much more aggressive in nature and significantly more effective.
Fractional CO2 laser treatment is available for a wide range of skin conditions. It can be used on all parts of the body except for skin tissue nearest the eyes.
If you are looking for a safe and effective way to improve the appearance of your skin, you may want to consider CO2 laser treatment. This FDA- approved treatment can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, and acne scars. CO2 laser treatment works by targeting the surface layer of skin with light energy that stimulates the production of new collagen. As a result, patients can enjoy smoother, younger looking skin with minimal downtime. CO2 laser treatment is often considered the gold standard in skin rejuvenation, and it can provide long-lasting results.
Fractional CO2 laser treatment is the perfect antiaging treatment for adult men and women of all ages. If you’re committed to proper after care, this procedure is right for you!
Some skin tones are not compatible with CO2 laser treatment and should not have it performed. People with darker skin run the risk of post inflammatory pigmentary changes and should ask their dermatologist about alternative treatment options.
To prepare for CO2 laser skin resurfacing, it is important to stop heavy sun exposure and tanning several weeks before your treatment. You should wear sunscreen during this time. Also avoid using retinoids and other skin irritants leading up to your appointment. Medical providers will often prescribe a “bleaching cream” to apply for a couple weeks prior to treatment in order to decrease the risk of post inflammatory pigmentary changes of the skin.
Fractional CO2 laser treatment is a safe, quick, and easy office procedure that takes 15-30 minutes depending on the areas and conditions being treated. For your comfort during treatment, you may be given a topical or injectable anesthetic. A skin care specialist will glide the laser applicator over the area to be treated, and a cooling device will blow chilled air across the skin. As the applicator delivers laser energy in tiny bursts, you will feel a heated prickling sensation and hear a sound that resembles radio static. Once treatment is complete, a nurse will apply cool gel to the treated area.
Most patients describe the feeling after treatment like a bad sunburn. This feeling can last anywhere from two hours to two days. We often prescribe medications both before and after surgery that make is unsafe to operate a vehicle, so you may need to designate a driver to take you home after treatment.
CO2 Laser skin resurfacing results are visible after one treatment and, with proper skin care and sunscreen usage, they can last for many years.
Patients are typically able to go back to work the day after fractional CO2 laser treatment. Even though you are able to return to regular activities, it is important to follow the after care instructions given to you by your skin care specialist. Failure to do so may delay or diminish the results of fractional CO2 laser treatment.
Within 24 hours of treatment, new epidermal skin begins to develop. This process of skin repair involves bronzing and flaking. Your skin will have a bronze appearance that lasts anywhere from 3-14 days, depending on the treatment level. Your skin will naturally and vigorously exfoliate as the new skin replaces dead tissue. It will be flaky and look and feel similar to a minor sunburn. By the 7th day, you can apply makeup, though your skin will still be pink and slightly sensitive. Over the following weeks and months, the body will continue to peel and heal.
Potential side effects of CO2 laser skin resurfacing include redness, discoloration, and sometimes peeling of the skin. These minor side effects may persist for 1 to 3 weeks following treatment. As soon as your skin is healed you may use makeup to conceal any temporary redness.
Your provider will give you detailed instructions about your specific skin care needs. You may receive a prescription for special creams or gels to maximum the results of your fractional CO2 laser treatment. You will need to keep your skin well moisturized in the weeks following treatment. Be sure to use sunscreen daily to protect your skin from sun exposure during both the healing phase and for several months after treatment. Apply a moisturizing sunblock with an SPF of at least 30. For at least six months after treatment, avoid being in the sun as much as possible.
Patients typically see results after just one fractional CO2 laser treatment. The skin will continue to improve for a period of six months following the procedure if proper skin care is used and sun exposure is minimized. Sometimes results are not significant until the 6th or even 9th month, depending on age and after care routines.
Occasionally, in an area that cannot be treated aggressively, we may need to do more than one treatment to optimize results. Maintenance treatments may also be necessary for continued results, especially if sun is not avoided or proper skin care is not used. Even with the best care, another treatment may be necessary in a few years.
The following are some featured patients who have undergone a Fractional CO2 Laser procedure.