CO2 laser skin rejuvenation is a procedure that involves the use of carbon dioxide (CO2) and a laser to remove the surface of the skin (ablative laser) to remove scars, warts and deep wrinkles.
Ablative lasers, like CO2 lasers, act by traumatizing the skin. They remove the thin outer layer of the skin (epidermis) and heat the lower skin (dermis). This stimulates the growth of new collagen fibers. As the epidermis heals and regenerates, the treated skin looks clearer, smoother and tighter. Non-ablative lasers, such as pulsed light (IPL) devices, do not traumatize the skin, but stimulate collagen growth and improve skin tone and texture. This is less invasive and requires less time to recover, but is less effective.
Laser skin rejuvenation CO2 laser can be used to treat:
- Fine and deep wrinkles
- Age spots
- Uneven skin tone or texture
- Sun-damaged skin
- Mild to moderate acne scars
- Large pores
- Superficial to deep hyperpigmentation
Other uses for CO2 include:
- Seborrheic keratosis
- Verruca vulgaris / plana
- Hyperplasia of sebaceous glands
- Connective and complex tissue nevi
When is a CO2 laser not recommended?
Laser skin rejuvenation with CO2 laser is not recommended for:
- Active bacterial, viral or fungal infections
- Unrealistic expectations
- Poor general health
- Oral use of isotretinoin (Accutane) in the previous six months
- Skin phototypes Fitzpatrick 5 – 6 (very dark skin)
- Other renewal procedures in the previous two to three months
- Too thick or thin skin
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or systemic infections
- Propensity to form keloids or a thick scar
Before undergoing CO2 laser treatment, our team will apply topical anesthetics to make you comfortable during your procedure. Laser energy is delivered via a hand-held device that moves across the treatment area. Although you can feel the heat as the laser energy penetrates the layers of the skin, it should not be painful at all. The integrated cooling device maintains a comfortable skin temperature throughout the treatment. Most procedures take about 30 minutes to complete.
You can go home immediately after the procedure if you have not taken any oral pain medication or sedative before treatment. Your skin will be red and feel swollen, like sunburn, about a week after the procedure. Within a few days, you may begin to notice peeling on the surface of the skin as the treated cells begin to shed and reveal younger skin cells beneath. When the peeling is over and the redness subsides, you should see a noticeably smoother complexion with fewer lines and other imperfections than before the treatment.
Although some of your improvements will become apparent after about a week, these results will continue to increase for weeks and even months after the laser procedure. During that time, neocollagenesis takes place, and as the collagen level gradually increases, your skin will look younger and more radiant. These changes will be natural and long-lasting, giving you months to enjoy a refreshed complexion.
Some of our patients choose to undergo a deeper laser penetration into the lower layer of the skin. Although this approach requires a longer healing time, the results can be even more dramatic and last for many years. If you choose an easier approach, you can repeat the procedure within a few months to further improve and prolong the positive results.
How do I care for my skin after the laser skin rejuvenation procedure?
- Avoid rubbing the skin or rubbing the skin vigorously when cleaning or in the shower.
- Avoid hot showers.
- Skin care after laser application of the surface is similar to the treatment of second degree thermal burns.
- Keeping the wound moist and regular dressing promotes faster healing.
Two ways of dressing wounds can be used:
- Open type: Apply occlusive ointment (like Vaseline) until the skin heals. Avoid topical antibiotics.
- Closed type: Apply a semi-occlusive biosynthetic bandage until the skin heals. It is painless and promotes faster healing. However, it is expensive and requires frequent visits to clinics and increases the chances of infection.
If it is necessary, antibiotics, painkillers and antipruritic drugs can be used.