Laser Season Calling

All you need to know about CO2 laser skin resurfacing


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Lasers are becoming increasingly popular skin rejuvenation technique which is extremely effective. Before you consider laser, treatments there are a few things you should know.

If you’re looking for a way to improve the appearance of your skin, you may want to consider carbon dioxide laser resurfacing. This therapy involves removing the top layer of skin to stimulate the growth of new cells. A carbon dioxide (CO2) laser sends short, concentrated pulsating beams of light into the skin to remove thin outer layers of damaged skin, revealing the fresh, healthy skin underneath.

What Is A CO2 Laser?

CO2 lasers emit energy of a wavelength of 10,600 nanometers. This wavelength is absorbed by water within the skin cells, resulting in the ablation of the superficial layer of the skin. This process is called skin resurfacing. When you get laser skin resurfacing, the laser targets the uppermost layer of your skin (the epidermis). This vaporizes the skin cells, and as your skin heals, new skin cells grow to replace the old ones. The laser also targets the middle layer of your skin (the dermis), which stimulates the growth of new collagen fibers. The treatment produces a type of heat injury that stimulates the formation of collagen. Collagen is a protein in the body that provides a tightly organised fiber network and contributes to the skin’s elasticity. After the CO2 laser treatment, your skin begins the healing process by creating new skin cells. These new cells result in a smoother, tighter, and more elastic complexion.

If you’re considering CO2 laser skin resurfacing, it’s likely because you’re looking to improve the appearance of your skin. Whether you’re hoping to get rid of acne scars, fine lines and wrinkles, or are simply trying to offset the effects of skin aging, this treatment can be a great option for anyone on their journey to healthy glowing skin.

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How To Prepare For CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing Treatment?

If you’re looking to get a CO2 laser skin resurfacing treatment, you’ll need to follow these pre-treatment steps provided by your dermatologist. This will ensure that your treatment is as safe and as effective as possible. Depending on your medical history, pre-care for treatment typically involves:

    • avoiding tanning or heavy sun exposure for at least four weeks before treatment;
    • avoiding any deep facial peel procedures for four weeks before your treatment;
    • not using medications that cause photo sensitivity for three days before treatment;
    • taking an antiviral medication for a few days before and after treatment if you have a history of herpes or shingles;
    • quitting/reducing smoking of any kind (including vapes, shisha etc.) for two weeks before and after the treatment. Smoking can interfere with healing;
    • it is essential to use skin pigment stabilisers before laser for a minimum of 2-4 weeks such as hydroquinone and tretinoin;
    • skin prep for darker skin types is more specific – consult your physician

Even if you have fair skin, your genetic predisposition may subject you to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, always consult your physician.

What Makes The CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing Different Than Other Laser Alternatives?

When it comes to laser skin resurfacing, the fractional CO2 laser is the Rolls Royce of options. There are many different lasers on the market, and each has its own benefits and drawbacks. The quality of the laser and the medical professional administering treatments are critical when it comes to the effectiveness of the treatment and the safety of the client. The fractional CO2 remains the gold standard and most powerful laser which is also used in surgery to cut through skin. This is the laser that generates the greatest heat and is clinically proven to provide deeper penetration and better results in just a single treatment in many cases.

You might see a clinic offering fractional CO2 laser skin resurfacing, but that doesn’t mean they’re using the best quality laser. Some clinics use cheaper/second hand lasers that don’t meet safety requirements and also are not upkept well. A fractional CO2 laser must be precisely calibrated. With a clinic that leases their fractional CO2 laser, or has purchased it form an authorised provider, you can feel confident knowing there’s no risk to your safety during treatments as the machine is up to standard. At Aestha Clinic we use SECRETPRO by Cutera, which is an acclaimed product by a reputable provider. For more on SECRET PRO read here.

The effects of CO2 laser skin resurfacing depend on many factors:

    • energy applied
    • skin resistance and hydration
    • post treatment care
    • skin concerns you are addressing

All of the above will be thoroughly discussed with you during an initial consultation and in-depth skin analysis by your clinician.

co2 laser skin resurfacing
co2 laser skin resurfacing

Side Effects Of CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing

CO2 lasers have been used for decades and are considered safe and effective. However, like any procedure, there is some risk involved with CO2 laser resurfacing. Common side effects of CO2 laser resurfacing include skin discoloration, swelling, raw skin (similar to a mild sunburn), itching, dryness, and peeling. Sun sensitivity is also common. Deeper, more extensive resurfacing can cause your skin to look and feel like it does after a severe sunburn, with additional oozing and blistering.

The best way to minimise your risk of complications is to have the treatment performed by a reputable, board-certified medical professional, who has undergone the necessary training to perform the procedure.

Co2 Laser Resurfacing Aftercare Advice

After CO2 laser skin resurfacing treatment, your skin will be raw and may have drainage. It may also look and feel like it’s severely sunburned. New skin will begin to grow after 2 weeks. The skin will take 2-4 weeks to heal completely.

During your recovery process, you should follow your doctor’s advice to avoid complications. While you are healing, it is important to take it easy and avoid any strenuous activity. Additionally, you should not pick or scratch at the skin as this can impede the healing process. To help with pain, you can use over-the-counter medication or ice packs. It is also important to minimize sun exposure and use proper sun protection, such as SPF50 sunscreen. Finally, be sure to attend any follow-up appointments to ensure a successful recovery and optimal results.