The CO2 laser is great for:
- Moderate lines & wrinkles
- Benign pigmented lesions & dyschromia
- Acne scars
- Skin texture flaws
- Deep skin resurfacing
The CO2 laser is the gold standard treatment for laser skin resurfacing in order to treat the effects of facial skin aging. The latest laser technology, the fractional Cortex CO2 laser, offers many of the benefits of the full face CO2 laser, with a fraction of the downtime.
The laser is used to treat the effects of sun damage on the skin as well as facial skin aging. The laser can provide skin tightening, treat dyschromia (brown spots and skin discoloration), even out the skin tone and color, remove fine lines and wrinkles, smooth out acne scars, and a reduction in the size of large pores.
Frequently Asked Questions
You will see gradual improvement in the appearance of your skin immediately after the initial healing phase is complete at about 5 days. The CO2 laser stimulates collagen production in the dermis (deep skin layer) that helps fill in the fine lines of your face. The building of collagen can take up to 6 months to complete.
The carbon dioxide laser (also knows as CO2) is the gold standard for laser resurfacing. It is the most effective laser for skin tightening, collagen stimulation, improving fine wrinkles, and helping to reverse the signs of aging and years of sun damage. More specifically, fractionated CO2 is the most cutting edge technology. Fractionation involves breaking up the CO2 laser beam into many small separate columns of laser energy. This treats the skin and penetrates into the deep layers to provide long-lasting results, but between each column of laser energy is an untreated area of skin. This allows a much faster recovery and dramatically reduced risk of problems that were seen with the old version of CO2 laser treatments.
Erbium (or erbium:YAG) lasers are also highly effective for skin resurfacing. Both the CO2 laser and the erbium laser focus their energy on the skin cells in the outer layer (epidermis) and the deeper layer of the skin (dermis). This is in contrast to other types of lasers that are specifically designed to treat different issues like red spots, blood vessels, or tattoos for example.
In the most basic terms ablative lasers remove or break down skin cells, mostly in the outer layer where you shed old skin cells. Non-ablative lasers do not remove any of the surface skin cells. Instead, they typically work by more gently heating into the deeper layers to induce new skin growth and collagen production.
Ablative treatments come with some more down time and more potential for side effects if performed inappropriately. However, the results are typically more impressive than with the less invasive non-ablative options. Non-ablative treatments usually require a series of several treatments to gain modest results.
If you have fine lines or wrinkles around your eyes or mouth or on your forehead, shallow scars from acne, or non-responsive skin after a facelift, then you may be a good candidate for laser skin resurfacing.
If you have acne or if you have very dark skin, you may not be a candidate. This technique is also not recommended for stretch marks. You should discuss whether laser resurfacing is right for you by consulting with our Anazao MD experts before having the procedure done.
The two types of lasers most commonly used in laser resurfacing are carbon dioxide (CO2) and erbium. Each laser vaporizes skin cells damaged at the surface-level.
The CO2 laser goes deeper, to address the dermis. It uses fractional technology, which enhances rapid healing. Hundreds of tiny laser beams smaller than the width of a hair pierce the skin to the depth of the dermis. The dermis is stimulated to pour out collagen in a healing response to the laser beams. As a result of this healing response, skin tightens and thickens, collagen production increases, and a general overall rejuvenation is achieved. This treatment is recommended for moderate to severe wrinkles and sun damage and severe acne scars. It is also quite effective in minimizing scars due to surgery or accidents.
You should expect the emergence of young, healthy, radiant skin within a week or so after treatment as well as a reduction in the appearance of wrinkles and skin texture irregularities.
Many patients describe the treatment with energy pulses as warm, sharp feeling and experience an immediate tightening of the skin. After treatment, most patients look and feel like they have a sunburn. Typical downtime after the procedure could last several days to a week, depending on the depth of treatment. Topical anesthetics and cooling devises may be applied to reduce any discomfort during and after the treatment.