CO2 Laser Resurfacing

Traditional CO2 laser resurfacing of photoaged skin has been the gold standard of the industry for many years. Unfortunately, problems associated with this procedure included hypopigmentation, the loss of melanin in the skin creating white areas, extended downtime, delayed wound healing and infection. The surface of the skin was completely removed creating an open wound that required several weeks to heal.

To decrease these complications, laser companies began looking for alternatives, including using different wavelengths and attempting to create collagen stimulation with non-ablative therapies that heat the deeper tissue without creating an open wound. These therapies required multiple treatments with mixed results.

Today, the pendulum has swung full circle with the invention of fractionation of the CO2 light—small columns of tissue are penetrated and areas of unaltered skin remain between the columns. This allows the untreated skin to assist in wound healing, decreasing downtime. Because the entire skin surface is not treated, the risk of hypo or hyperpigmentation is dramatically reduced, as is downtime and infection risk.

Lumenis® has recently introduced an improvement in their CO2 system that includes the DeepFX™ bridge therapy, creating even deeper areas of penetration to stimulate collagen production which acts in concert with their ActiveFX™ treatment to provide an even more impressive treatment. The goal of fractional laser treatments is simple: replace damaged skin with new fresh skin.

The goal of fractional laser treatments is simple: replace damaged skin with new fresh skin. The results of a single treatment, with proper sun protection, can last for many years. Many of the effects can be seen immediately, but the collagen stimulation can result in improvement of skin texture and wrinkle reduction over time. The improvement and the final result may not be apparent for up to six months.

Photoaging affects not only the face but other areas of the body as well, including the chest, hands and arms. These areas can also be treated with the Lumenis® CO2 Laser system.

CO2 Laser Treatment

ActiveFX™ and DeepFX™ produce a dramatic effect on the skin:

  • Immediate collagen contraction
  • Reduced wrinkles and fine lines, and softened deeper frown lines
  • Noticeable improvement of skin tone and texture
  • Stimulation of collagen formation
  • Fine lines and wrinkles, especially around the upper lip (smoker’s lines), cheeks and forehead
  • Crow’s feet around the eyes
  • Brown spots and splotchy uneven skin tone
  • Scars, especially acne scars

CO2 Laser FAQ

Downtime is somewhat subjective. Some people won’t leave their house with peeling skin. Others have no problem going to work the next day with the occlusive ointment on their face. It all depends on how you feel comfortable. It also depends on how aggressive a treatment you have. If the setting of your laser treatment is light, you will peel for a few days followed by redness for about a week. If you have a deeper treatment, you will likely swell (particularly the first day after the treatment), peel for three to four days, and the redness may last for two to three weeks. Once the face has peeled, the redness can be camouflaged with a mineral makeup. If you have a deep treatment around the eyes or eyelids, you will definitely experience swelling for 24-36 hours. You would need to be able to take time off until the swelling dissipated if your eyes were swollen shut.
There is discomfort associated with the procedure. We apply a topical anesthetic cream for approximately one hour before the laser to numb your skin. We augment this with injectable anesthetic around the mouth area. We also provide you with a prescription for a relaxant and pain medication to take while you are numbing, which helps to calm you while you are prepping for the procedure. We make every effort to keep you comfortable during the procedure, reapplying topical as needed. The procedure takes approximately 30-45 minutes once we start. After the laser, you will experience fairly intense heat in the treated area for the first two hours, which will gradually disappear. After that, any pain is extremely unlikely.
The Active/DeepFX is safe for most people. People who should not receive the laser treatment include those with:

  • Accutane™ usage for acne in the past 12 months
  • History of keloid formation
  • History of poor wound healing
  • Abnormal response to a laser patch test
Sun avoidance both before and after the procedure is very important. Your results will be much better if you follow the instructions we give you for your post laser care. The use of sunscreen is very important. This cannot be stressed enough! Any products that can cause you to bleed more easily should be stopped two weeks prior to the laser. These include Vitamin E, omega 3 supplements, aspirin, ibuprophen, Excedrin™, Motrin™, garlic or ginger supplements, or ginko biloba. If you take Coumadin or Plavix™ for a medical condition, you would need permission from your prescribing physician to stop the medications for the laser treatment.