Fractional carbon dioxide (CO2) lasers are one of the latest advances in non-surgical skin rejuvenation treatments. The CO2 laser has the longest wavelength of all the lasers on the market and can be used safely on darker skin types with appropriate adjustments in the settings.
Fractional CO2 lasers excel at treating deeper wrinkles, more severe textural changes from sun damage, wrinkles, blotchiness, acne scars, and surgical or traumatic scars. It can be used on the delicate eyelid skin and around the mouth. It is also a very effective treatment for sun damage and precancerous growths.
The fractional CO2 laser takes the CO2 laser beam and fractionates, or pixellates that beam into thousands of tiny little shafts of light. These tiny shafts of light penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin. The skin then repairs those tiny shafts by pushing out the old sun damaged skin and replacing it with new skin. The collateral heat damage also helps to shrink existing collagen.
That depends on how well you protect your skin from the sun and other factors that cause aging like your general health, smoking, changes in weight, etc. If you apply sunscreen and wear brimmed hats, you can maintain the good effects of your CO2 laser treatment for several years.
Not the same day generally. The CO2 laser is compatible long term with Botox, Juvederm, Restylane, Sculptra and other laser based technologies like hair removal, Fraxel Restore, IPL, pulsed dye, etc.
Bear in mind that the fractional CO2 laser can be customized. Treatments can be deeper, with more healing and downtime, or shallower, with less healing time. The deeper the treatment, the better the results generally. But some patients prefer to have two treatments that aren't as deep so they can avoid a lot of downtime.
You will see some immediate results but you won't see the full results for 3-6 months. After your skin heals, which may take up to 3-14 days, there will be a period of 4 to 6 weeks after that when your skin might be slightly pink. During this period, your skin will feel smoother and looks less blotchy. As the color returns to normal, you will see fewer lines, less blotchiness, and more glow.
Your face will be cleansed and a numbing cream will be applied to the area to be treated.
After you numb for about an hour, the numbing gel will be removed. The treatment takes about an hour for a full face and feels a little like a 'pins and needles' sensation.The discomfort ranges from mild to moderate. Plan on being in the clinic for 2 hours total.
Most people drive to and from their own fractional CO2 laser appointments.
CO2 lasers have always been very effective for acne and other scars and the fractional CO2 is no exception.
During the first 24 hours after treatment, your skin may feel as though it is sunburned. Ice packs are used 5-10 minutes per hour for the first 5-6 hours after the treatment.
Healing all depends on how deep your treatment is. After a week or so, you can wear make-up rarely bruising may develop, which can take up to two weeks to resolve. Allow longer for body sites like arms or legs.
The number depends on the extent of your sun damage, scarring or wrinkles
Reasons not to do a fractional laser treatment may include use of medications that increase photosensitivity, use of anticoagulants (some are fine), chemotherapy, history of difficulty healing or scarring, history of bleeding disorders, and pregnancy.