Skin Rejuvenation with the Fractional CO2 Laser
Skin Rejuvenation with the Fractional CO2 Laser
We are pleased to introduce an exciting new advance in skin rejuvenation to our Phoenix area cosmetic surgery practice: the fractional CO2 laser.
Cosmetic surgeons have been using the CO2 laser for more than a decade to rejuvenate the skin of the face. CO2 lasers work by vaporizing the outer layer of the skin in a controlled manner, a process known as ablation. As the skin heals from being ablated, new collagen production within the skin is stimulated. It is this new collagen that is responsible for the reduction of wrinkles, acne scars, brown spots, and the overall improvement in the texture and tone of the skin. Although the older CO2 lasers were remarkably effective at skin rejuvenation, recovery time from then was often long and difficult. Additionally, undesirable complications with the older lasers were all too frequent.
However, a newer type of CO2 laser, the fractional CO2 laser has improved the process of skin rejuvenation enormously. Instead of ablating the entire surface of the treated skin, the fractional CO2 laser makes many tiny holes in the treated skin, leaving the skin surrounding these holes intact. The result is the desired stimulation of collagen production with much a shorter recovery time and far less complications - a comparable improvement with a much more patient-friendly procedure. While traditional CO2 lasers were far too harsh on the more delicate skin of the neck, upper chest, and back of the hands, the new fractional CO2 laser can treat these areas with ease and great results.
What kind of skin problems can the fractional CO2 laser treat?
The fractional CO2 laser is ideal to treat the following: wrinkles, brown spots, hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tones, large pores, acne scars, sun damage and weathering.
How long does a treatment take?
A standard treatment to the face takes about 20 minutes. Treating the face, neck and chest takes about 35 minutes.
Does the procedure itself hurt? Is there any pain after the treatment?
We use topical and local anesthesia along with minimal sedation to eliminate any pain with a fractional CO2 laser treatment. There can be mild discomfort for up to an hour after the treatment after which there is no further pain. For the first few days the treated skin may feel tight and may itch occasionally.
What happens after a treatment and how long does it take to recover?
After a fractional CO2 laser treatment, the outer layer of skin turns darker and peels within three to four days. Peeling is usually complete by seven days leaving a soft, smooth, new pink-red skin underneath. This new skin may be pink for about two weeks after the procedure and this can be easily disguised with make-up.
Am I required to do anything special to my skin after a fractional CO2 laser treatment?
Postoperative care is quite simple: the skin is kept lubricated with Vaseline until it starts to peel, and cleaned frequently with water while it peels. After the skin has peeled, an over-the-counter moisturizer and sunscreen are applied to protect the new skin.
How long before I can go out in public?
For the first few days after the surgery, it will look like you have a sunburn, however you are not restricted to home and can certainly go out during this short time period. You will be entirely presentable after the peeling is complete, usually within three to five days. Any residual redness can be covered with make-up.
Is one treatment sufficient or do I have to have more than one?
A single fractional CO2 laser treatment will substantially improve your skin. However, if you have very deep wrinkles, marked unevenness of skin tones, and many dark spots, a second treatment four to six months later may be desirable.
Can a fractional CO2 treatment be combined with other procedures?
Yes, easily. A fractional CO2 treatment is so quick to perform, so well tolerated and has so short a recovery time, it can be readily combined with most other facial cosmetic procedures such as Cool Lipo necklift, facelift, eyelid surgery, chin and cheek implants and many more. In fact, the combination of a Cool Lipo necklift with a fractional CO2 treatment can often be a cost-saving substitute for a traditional facelift.
Can this treatment be used on people of color?
All skin colors can be treated with the fractional CO2 laser. We usually pretreat our patients with darker skin tones with special creams for several weeks prior to a treatment to prevent any potential darkening of their skin after a fractional CO2 treatment.
I have heard that there are many different fractional CO2 lasers. Is any one better than another? What fractional CO2 laser do you use?
While there are many different companies producing fractional CO2 lasers such as the Fraxel, MiXto, Active FX, SmartXide DOT, etc., they all do essentially the same thing yielding similar results. We use the new Pixel Fractional CO2 Laser made by Alma Lasers and are very happy with the results to date. You will be too.
Is a fractional CO2 laser treatment expensive?
Not at all! We have deliberately kept the price of a fractional CO2 treatment very affordable. We want as many of our patients as possible to enjoy the benefits of this wonderful advance in skin rejuvenation.