FAQs – Fractional Carbon Dioxide CO2 Laser

The latest fractional carbon dioxide CO2 lasers are the most effective treatment on the market for non-surgical revitalization of the skin. As the CO2 lasers are the strongest of all the lasers in the market and capable of producing exceptionally great outcomes. It can safely be used for improving the texture of all the skin types including the eyelid, around the mouth and on all the areas of face, neck, arms, hands, chest and legs. Wrinkles, fine lines, blotchiness, sun damage spots on the face and hands, traumatic scars or acne scars can be treated very effectively in less than an hour. The CO2 lasers have the longest wavelength which is why it is safe for improving even darker skin tones after suitable adjustments in the settings. 

 What does Fractional Carbon Dioxide CO2 Laser treatment not do?

It is not an effective treatment for improving redness like dilated blood vessels or telangectasias and reddish discoloured patches on the neck or poikiloderma. In fact, the CO2 laser treatment can make these problems even worse because it causes some redness of the skin for a limited time period after the surgery. Basically, a pulse dye laser such as Candela or a medical grade intense pulse light (IPL) can be very effective for problems with veins and redness.

What is Fractional Carbon Dioxide CO2 laser treatment?

The light from a CO2 laser system is highly effective for revitalization of micro-ablative skin. Typically, the CO2 laser beam is pixelated into thousands of small rods of light by the fractional CO2 laser. These micro beams of light hit the layers of skin in depth. They focus at a specific portion of the skin surface at one time this and heals the skin quickly. They help in curing the skin by pushing out the old skin damaged by the sun and replacing it with the fresh skin. The indirect damage from heat help in reducing the production of collagen from the skin.

This treatment tightens the skin and stimulates the natural production of collagen. It also improves the skin tone and texture by reducing the wrinkles, large pores, small and large acne scars and age marks on the hands and face. As a result, you get younger looking and fresher skin.

How long does the fractional CO2 resurfacing laser treatment effects last?

The effects of fractional CO2 resurfacing laser treatment will last longer if you protect your skin properly from the sun rays and other factors such as smoking, health, weight loss or weight gain, etc. All of these factors can cause your skin to age. 

In addition to this, you can wear brimmed caps and apply sunscreen to maintain the positive effects of your CO2 laser treatment for a long time.

How the fractional CO2 laser differs from the fractional erbium laser such as the Fraxel Restore?

In CO2 laser treatment the light beams goes slightly deeper and shrinks collagen in a very different way as compared to that of the Fraxel laser. It therefor gives effective results for curing acne scars, deeper wrinkles, creeping around the eyes and lines as well as aged neck skin. The best results are seen in patients in their late 40s-70s who have moderate to deep sun damage or wrinkles or severe scarring from acne.

When this treatment is performed by a specialist with appropriate settings, it shows better outcomes for patients with aged neck skin and eyelids.

How long does it for the treatments to show results?

Remember that the fractional CO2 laser treatment can be personalized. Based on your problem the treatments can be deeper and need more downtime to heal properly, or it may not be a deeper treatment and take less time to heal. However, the deeper treatments usually produce better outcomes. But the patients who prefer to have two shallower treatments can avoid a lot of downtime. Deeper treatments usually require a general anaesthetic.

It will usually take three to six months to get full results. It may take about 3 to 14 days for your skin to heal after which it may remain pink for a period of four to six weeks. Your skin will look less blotchy and stay smoother during this period. Once the colour returns to normal, you will observe less blotches and lines and your skin will glow and appear younger.

How much does it cost to undergo fractional CO2 laser treatments?

See our pricing page for more details.

That depends on the area in which you live, Our practice charged $1200 for a light face treatment. Each subsequent treatment costs less.

We usually quote different prices for different areas like neck and face or chest and neck. I don’t advise ttreatingmore than two areas at the same time because the numbing cream, which is applied before treatment is absorbed through the skin and can cause problems if too much is used.  

Is this treatment effective for acne scars and other scars?

Yes, this treatment has been always very effective for acne scars and other scars. It is as powerful treatment as the old CO2 resurfacing.

Will I need to do anything before treatment?

We will get you to see a skin specialist for pretreatment and to discuss post treatment management as this greatly improves your result and long term maintenance. This consultation (not products) is included in the price of your treatment. You will also need to see the doctor to discuss and have realistic expectations of the outcome.

How much time does it take to get healed after the treatment?

After going through the treatment you may feel your skin to be sunburned during the first 24 to 48 hours. You should use ice packs and moisturising creams for 5 to 10 minutes every hour during the first 5 or 6 hours after the treatment. During first 3-6 weeks your skin will be pink and peel in 2-7 days. However, this time period may vary based on the depth of your treatment.  After one week of treatment you can apply make up to cover the pink spots. However, slight bruises may develop on your skin which may take about 2 weeks to heal.

How much time does it take to recover after CO2 treatment?

You should not return to normal activities or work for at least 24 hours (preferably 48 hours) after undergoing the treatment. You will need to rest for one day to take care of the healed area. With the lighter fractional CO2 treatments, you will need three to five days of downtime. We do not perform deeper treatments at our clinic. This usually requires up to 2 weeks of downtime.

 

Are these treatments safe for the eyelid area?

This treatment is safe for the eyelids are because there are special laser “contact lenses” which are used to protect the eyes from any damaged. We will insert these shields prior to treating the eye. We usually use “numbing eye drops” before insertion. The protective eye shield will comfortably fit within the eyes and can be removed easily after the treatment. After that the upper and lower eyelid will be treated. After the treatment it is normal to have redness and swelling for about 2 to 4 days. During the healing time you must avoid exposure to the sun.

Are there any reasons to avoid these laser treatments?

There are many reasons for avoiding fractional laser treatment. These include the use of medications that increase photosensitivity, chemotherapy, use of Accutane in the last 6 months or year, use of anticoagulants, poor history of bleeding disorders pregnancy and history of painful scarring and healing.

How many CO2 laser treatments will I need?

It will depend on the amount of damage from the sun, wrinkles or acne scarring and also on the duration of downtime you can accept. You may need between 2 to 4 treatments for an optimal result. Darker skin types will need lower doses of treatment and may require even more.  

What are the associated cosmetic or medical side effects?

Our doctor will consult with you prior to any decisions being made in order to decrease the likelihood of complications during the CO2 laser treatment. Although there is very little chance of complications, the following can occur with the use of fractional CO2 laser.

  • Even if the procedure is performed effectively some patients may go through emotional difficulties or depression. Realistic expectations need to be discussed prior to the procedure.
  • Many patients find the treatment slightly painful because of the measures mentioned above. In rare cases, patients may experience a mild discomfort at the first day after their surgery.
  • Some people may experience excessive swelling instantly after laser surgery for a temporary period. And, it will take around 3-7 days to resolve this problem.
  • During this procedure, there is also little scarring like keloid scars or hypertrophic scars. The thick elevated scar formations are called as keloid scars. It is necessary to carefully follow the post-operative instructions to avoid scarring.
  • You may also develop redness on skin for about 2 weeks to 2 months after undergoing laser treatment. Even more rarely it may take up to 6 months for this to disappear. This is more likely in patients with a history of flushing or who have dilated vessels on the skin surface.
  • In laser surgery, there is also a great risk of harmful eye exposure. Therefore, it is important to wear protective eyewear and close your eyes when going through the procedure.
  • In the CO2 laser a slight wound is caused to the outer layers of skin and it takes approx. 2-10 days to get treated. However, it may result in mild to moderate swelling. The healed skin surface may be sensitive to the sun for about 4 to 6 weeks.
  • In rare cases, pigment changes may occur usually in darker skin types and it may last for 2-6 weeks after the treatment. It generally takes 3 to 6 months to heal hyperpigmentation.
  • It is important to avoid any infection of the area. This may result in more scarring that you originally had. Follow your preoperative and postoperative instructions diligently as this improves your chances of a great outcome considerably.

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