What is CO2 Laser?
CO2 lasers treat advanced textural issues such as skin crepiness, scarring, fine lines, wrinkles and creases, as well as issues of pigment and discoloration.
How does it work?
CO2 lasers resurface the skin by causing controlled injury. The benefits develop as the body heals itself, replacing the old, damaged skin cells with new cells, increasing collagen production and breaking up textural issues. CO2 is an ablative laser. While non-ablative lasers (like Fraxel Dual) heat the targeted tissue without destroying it, CO2 laser uses carbon dioxide to vaporize tissue completely. CO2 lasers can be set to provide fractionated or non-fractionated treatment. Fractionated treatment creates tiny columns of micro-injury sites among unaffected skin. Non-fractionated treatment affects the entire surface of the treatment area and is the more aggressive of the two treatments. Dr. Cox will select the settings most appropriate for your skin condition and objectives.
What kind of results can I expect?
The CO2 laser is one of the most aggressive aesthetic laser treatments, and results tend to be dramatic. CO2 lasers are most commonly used to treat the face, neck and chest, and can target small areas, such as the area under the eyes or around the mouth, or be used for full face, neck or chest rejuvenation. Multiple areas can be treated in a single session. Patients can expect a relatively dramatic reduction of textural issues, such as crepiness, fine lines, wrinkles and creases, as significant improvement of unwanted pigment and sun damage. Improvement is generally evident within a few days, with further improvement noticeable over the next three to six months as the deeper layers of the skin heal, and produce elevated amounts of collagen. CO2 lasers treat:
- Crepey skin
- Fine lines, wrinkles and creases
- Skin laxity
- Sun damage, including sun spots, age spots, freckles, lentigines
- Discoloration and uneven pigmentation
- Acne scars and other scars
- CO2 lasers are especially good for fine lines around the eyes and mouth
How long will the results last?
The results of CO2 lasers on existing conditions are permanent. However, the natural aging process will continue and accumulation of future sun damage or uneven pigmentation and texture is possible, especially without good sun protection following treatment. Results can be best preserved by a skin care regimen that provides both protection and nourishment, and we’re happy to help our patients customize a post-procedure skin care plan that will best address their lifestyle and goals.
How many treatments are necessary?
Dr. Cox will evaluate your current skin condition and suggest a treatment plan to help you achieve your goals. Typically, just one treatment is recommended. Patients may opt for additional touch-up treatments at a future date, but multiple CO2 laser treatments in series are generally not appropriate.
What can I expect during the procedure?
When you come in for your consultation, we will provide detailed information about what to expect on your treatment day, as well as instructions to prepare your skin for treatment. Because CO2 laser is a more intensive procedure, you can expect to spend several hours in the office, and will need a driver to take you home. Comfort measures are developed for each patient based on the treatment plan and most patients report little discomfort during the procedure. We can also provide medication to help you relax you prior to the treatment.
How long does recovery take?
CO2 laser treatments requires downtime. This extent of downtime depends on the area treated and the laser settings selected to achieve your goals. Pinpoint bleeding and oozing may occur immediately after the procedure, and continue for the first 48 hours. Most patients experience swelling, puffiness, redness and discomfort that typically subsides after a week, but may last up to a month. During the healing process, common side effects include itching, dryness, peeling or flaking, oozing and crusting. It is typically possible to wear make-up after 10 days, and go about your normal routine within two weeks after the procedure.
The way you treat your skin during the healing process is incredibly important, and can affect your results. It is essential is follow the personalized post-care instructions given to you after your procedure. Throughout recovery, it is also important to drink lots of water and avoid all sun exposure.
Is it safe?
CO2 laser treatments are FDA approved to treat textural issues of the skin. They have been extensively studied, and found to be safe, effective and predictable. As with any ablative laser treatment, there is an elevated risk of delayed wound healing, infection, pigmentary changes and scarring. As a teacher and trainer of other physicians in laser procedures, Dr. Cox stresses the importance of finding an experienced physician who understands the finer points of laser resurfacing. It is also important to know who will be providing anesthesia if that’s part of the treatment plan, and whether the facility itself is accredited by an external body such as the AAAHC.
Who is a good candidate?
CO2 laser is best for patients bothered by advanced textural issues. Due to increased risk of hypo- or hyperpigmentation, CO2 laser is not typically performed on patients with darker skin tones. As with any procedure, good candidates are those who understand the procedure and post-treatment care, and have realistic expectations concerning results of the treatment.
Why come to Aesthetic Solutions for treatment?
Since 1994, our team leader Dr. Cox has performed laser resurfacing almost every single day of her practice. Thanks to her extensive experience, Dr. Cox knows which laser treatments, including CO2 laser treatment, will produce optimal results for each individual patient in her care.
- Dr. Cox has performed thousands of laser resurfacing procedures over twenty years.
- Dr. Cox learned from the best, getting her early training from Dr. Richard Fitzpatrick, the inventor of laser resurfacing.
- Today, Dr. Cox trains other physicians in many areas of cosmetic dermatology, including best laser resurfacing practices.
- While she may not have written the book, she has several chapters! Dr. Cox has contributed to several textbooks on laser resurfacing.
- Aesthetic Solutions is accredited by the AAAHC, and organization whose members are routinely audited to confirm they adhere to best practices for safe and effective treatment.
You can feel confident that Dr. Cox will provide the best possible results. Call us today at (919) 338 5007 to arrange a consultation.