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What is CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing?

Carbon dioxide laser resurfacing is used to treat a variety of skin conditions. CO2 lasers remove thin layers of skin very precisely with minimal thermal damage to surrounding structures. Carbon dioxide laser treatment:

  • Wrinkles (wrinkles)
  •  photodamage
  •  scar
  •  wart
  •  Linear epidermal nevus (birthmark).
  •  Rhinophyma (enlarged oil glands on the nose)


Lasers have been used to treat benign and malignant skin conditions for many years. The new generation of CO2 lasers use very short pulses of light energy (superpulses) or continuous beams delivered in a scanning mode.


This new technology has revolutionized the ability to restore sun-damaged, wrinkled skin. CO2 laser peels are combined with other treatment options, including retinoid products, vitamin C lotions, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, collagen or fat enhancement, and Botox to reduce facial lines and scarring. Be sure to look for a surgeon who is trained and experienced in laser surgery.


What happens during and after CO2 laser resurfacing?

Carbon dioxide laser resurfacing is usually performed on an outpatient basis, using local anesthesia and sedative medications given by mouth or intravenously.


Use a local anesthetic to numb the area to be treated. General anesthesia can be used to treat the entire face. Wrinkles around the eyes, mouth or forehead can be treated individually or with full face laser resurfacing. A partial face laser resurfacing takes 30 to 45 minutes, and a full face treatment takes an hour and a half to two hours. After the laser resurfacing procedure, a non-stick dressing was applied to the treatment site for 24 hours. You may be instructed to cleanse the treated area 2 to 5 times a day with saline or a diluted vinegar solution, which you can then apply to the area. This wound care is designed to prevent any scab formation, which increases the chance of scarring and prolongs healing time.


Generally, these areas heal within 10 to 21 days, depending on the nature of the disease being treated and the intensity of the laser settings. The stronger the setting, the longer the recovery time. Once these areas have healed, you can use oil-free makeup to camouflage the pink-to-red color you typically see after laser resurfacing. Green-based makeup is especially good for reddened skin. Redness at the laser treatment site usually subsides within two to three months, but it can take up to six months to go away. It usually lasts longer on blondes and redheads.


Patients with darker skin are at greater risk of healing due to darker pigmentation (hyperpigmentation), although anyone can be affected by this condition after laser treatment. This can be minimized by using bleach before surgery. Continued use of the drug after healing may also decrease.


You should avoid sun exposure for four weeks before laser treatment and apply sunscreen liberally before and after surgery.


What are the possible risks and side effects of CO2 laser resurfacing?

Milia are small white bumps or cysts that may appear on the laser-treated area during the healing process. These can be removed by gently cleaning with a towel or by a dermatologist in the office by making an incision on the surface with a blade and squeezing the cystic material out of the skin. Acne flares may occur after laser resurfacing. This can resolve on its own or can be treated with traditional acne treatments. Hyperpigmentation, and, more rarely, hypopigmentation, may result in laser-treated areas. Generally, hyperpigmented areas can be treated with a bleaching cream to lighten the fading of the pigment. Hypopigmentation is more difficult to treat. Herpes simplex cold sores may reactivate, especially after laser resurfacing around the mouth. This can be prevented by giving antiviral medication before surgery and continuing it for 7 to 10 days after surgery. Bacterial infections can be prevented by taking antibiotics before surgery and for 7 to 10 days after surgery. Postoperative swelling is expected and can be reduced with intramuscular steroids. Patients are encouraged to sleep on an extra pillow at night to help reduce swelling. An ice pack application is also helpful within the first 24 to 48 hours. Scars, although rare, may appear on areas treated with lasers. Smoking cessation is strongly recommended as it has documented detrimental effects on the healing process.


How to care for the skin after CO2 laser resurfacing?

Sunscreen must be applied daily after healing to protect the newly laser resurfacing skin.


What is a CO2 laser used for?

As Fractionated CO2 Laser Resurfacing targets lines, texture, tone and brown spots, it is used to fully rejuvenate the skin. It corrects color problems, smoothes out fine lines and tightens the skin, leaving the entire face looking younger and refreshed. Although it is most commonly used to treat the face, CO2 lasers can be used to improve the skin of the neck, chest, arms, and hands. It is also often used in conjunction with surgical lifting procedures. If a facelift or neck lift is done alone, the skin often doesn’t match the look of the new lift, making it look “done.” By rejuvenating the skin at the same time as the procedure, the end result is more natural. The laser also does a great job of softening and removing vertical lines around the mouth and tightening the eyelid skin, something no surgery or injectable filler procedure can do.


How does it work?

In the 1990s, fully ablative CO2 laser resurfacing was the only technique available, and since this laser removes the entire skin surface at once, the healing time is prolonged and the likelihood of scarring or permanent pigment changes after treatment is higher. More recently, complete ablation devices have been replaced by fractionation devices that offer both faster recovery and fewer side effects. CO2 lasers work by focusing tiny beams of light into the skin in a grid pattern. Because the laser targets water, the main component of the skin, it vaporizes the tissue immediately upon firing. Vaporizing tissue removes brown spots and sunburns, and laser-created micro-wounds stimulate the wound-healing process, which leads to collagen synthesis. Ultimately, this smooths lines and tightens the skin. Because there is a small area of ​​”normal” skin between the micro wounds, healing is accelerated. Typically, pink new skin is visible 5-10 days after surgery.


Who is a good candidate?

Healthy patients with realistic expectations seeking full skin rejuvenation or treatment of scars from surgery or acne are ideal candidates for fractionated CO2 laser resurfacing. Patients with active inflammatory skin conditions may need to have these conditions treated prior to laser treatment, and those with very dark skin are not good candidates because of the risk of changing skin tone.


Post time: Apr-29-2022