Carbon dioxide laser therapy (CO2 laser therapy) is among the most popular cosmetic procedures nowadays. It is a process that induces facial rejuvenation, improves the skin’s appearance and corrects minor facial flaws. CO2 laser therapy is also called laser resurfacing, as a new, healthy layer of skin resurfaces to perfect the skin.
Fractional CO2 laser treatment or CO2 laser therapy uses laser light with a 10,600 nm wavelength that is invisible to the human eye.
The energy from the CO2 laser light is readily absorbed into the tissues to effectively improve the skin’s texture and appearance. This light energy is pulsed on the skin in very short intervals or through continuous light beams in a scanning pattern. This removes thin layers of skin with minimal heat damage.
CO2 laser resurfacing uses carbon dioxide laser to precisely remove the outermost layer of the skin which is the epidermis. Then, it uses safe and controlled laser light to heat up the underlying skin (dermis). With this, the collagen layer is stimulated.
Collagen is an important protein in the body that prevents the skin from sagging and gives the skin a youthful look. So, as the outer skin layer grows over the healthy dermis, the treated area will appear smoother and tighter.
Aside from the rejuvenation of the natural, brilliant glow of the skin, CO2 laser treats several skin issues including:
$30 to $900
The fractional laser treatment using CO2 laser is an outpatient procedure. This means the entire procedure is done in one appointment and you are free to go home after. Let’s look at the step-by-step CO2 laser procedure:
1. Skin Prep
Preparation of your skin for the laser therapy is done several weeks prior to the procedure. This may include several necessary treatments depending on your doctor’s advice. These treatments may be targeted to increase your skin’s tolerance or even reduce the side effects after treatment.
Once your dentist evaluates that you are in excellent health, you will be scheduled for your CO2 laser treatment.
2. Skin Cleansing
To ensure a clean canvas for the treatment, your skin will be cleaned. Excess oil, dirt, and bacteria will be removed. This also helps with producing better results after treatment.
3. Application of Anesthetics
On the day of the procedure, topical anesthetics will be applied on the area to be treated. However, do note that topical anesthetics are not necessary for everyone, you can consult with your doctor beforehand to find out if you need it.
The anesthetic cream will take effect for 60 minutes. And if there is a larger area of the skin to be treated, a sedative or pain killer may be recommended.
4. CO2 Laser Therapy
Once the area is numb, your doctor will begin the treatment. The laser will be slowly moved around the designated area of the skin until fully treated.
Time required: Around 15 – 45 minutes depending on the size of the area to be treated. Full-face treatments can take up to 2 hours.
The process can cause slight burning as the laser light heats the skin. Experienced doctors will pause the process at certain intervals to ensure maximum comfort for the patient.
5. Skin Care
Following the procedure, a non-stick dressing will be applied on the treated areas and this should stay in place for a minimum of 24 hours. Your doctor will also discuss the post-treatment guidelines, such as how to clean the treated area. This is to ensure minimal to no side effects.
We understand you may want to change your plans due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and its health implications.
Other risks and side effects include:
Should you encounter any of the moderate to severe complications, make an emergency visit to your doctor for proper treatment and management.
What is the recommended number of CO2 laser treatments in order to achieve optimum results?
This should be explained by your doctor before the treatment. But generally, one full treatment should suffice. However, for deeper skin lesions such as deep moles, 2 – 3 treatments may be needed.
When can the first positive results be expected?
But this will also depend on your skin condition. Some patients take 3 -5 treatments to achieve the results they want. Collagen regeneration will happen at this time so you can expect better results after some time. For maintenance of your beautiful glowing skin, going back for yearly follow-up treatment is recommended.
How many treatments with the CO2 laser are necessary?
This depends on your goals and expectations of treatment which you should discuss with your doctor prior. The condition and health of your skin will also play a role in the effectiveness of the process. Some are already pleasantly satisfied after the first treatment, while others may need up to 5 or more.
Can I go into the sun after a treatment with the CO2 laser?
Sun exposure should be strongly avoided. Use the recommended sun protection if you will be exposed to the sun to prevent risks of sun damage or even scarring.