CO2 is unique as it offers both epidermal skin ablation (heating the tissue to 100°C and instantly vaporizing it) and heat damage (where both surrounding epidermal tissue and underlying dermal tissue is heated to a temperature where proteins denature or breakdown).
While the ablation of the epidermis is all that is required to improve discoloration and repair epidermal pigmentation, the heat damage causes stimulation of dermal cells called fibroblasts that are responsible for the structural integrity (the extracellular matrix) of the skin and which are responsible for formation of new collagen.
Shondra Smith MD offers Juvia Fractional CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing for patients in Lake Charles LA and surrounding areas. Call today to schedule an appointment
What Is Fractional CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing?
The most effective laser for facial resurfacing is the fractional CO2 (carbon dioxide) laser. This laser is capable of minimizing wrinkles and brown spots of the skin of the face, neck, chest and hands. It is also highly effective in balancing out pigment irregularities of the facial skin and minimizing facial scars from trauma or acne.
Fractional laser skin resurfacing means that the laser only treats a fraction of the skin’s epidermis, while still effectively treating the entire dermis, or deeper layer, of the skin. This leaves bridges of untouched skin to aid in a speedy healing process resulting in very little downtime, typically one week or less. This allows for a quicker recovery and less downtime, while achieving the same results as older, non-fractional laser resurfacing.
What Is The Difference Between Fractional CO2 And Non-Fractional Laser Resurfacing?
The term “fractional” is the key. With our fractional CO2 resurfacing, the laser creates hundreds of microscopic punctures/channels through the epidermis down into the skin’s second layer, the dermis. These microscopic holes are surrounded by untouched skin, which immediately gets busy helping heal the punctured skin adjacent to it.
That’s the beauty of the fractional approach — only a fraction of the skin is damaged by the laser energy. The microscopic punctures actually fully heal in just hours. With fractional resurfacing there may be some mild crusting or scabbing of the skin
With non-fractional laser resurfacing, the laser energy vaporizes an entire layer of the surface skin. The depth of the skin removed depends on the aggressiveness of the procedure. Regardless, there is some serious recovery required. With ablative resurfacing, the skin will generally crust over and will require the application of salve to help with the healing. Ablative resurfacing requires at least a week or two off of work. Plus, sun exposure must be avoided at all costs, as the skin has little protection as new skin grows.
While ablative laser skin resurfacing delivers more dramatic improvements, there can be issues with side effects such as hyperpigmentation and even scarring.
Who Is A Good Candidate For Fractional CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing?
Just about everyone could use the skin rejuvenation offered by these procedures at Dr. Smith’s. These are the skin problems we treat with fractional laser resurfacing:
- Fine lines
- Acne scarring
- Sun spots
- Large pores
- Areas of uneven pigmentation
- Areas of uneven skin texture
Frequently Asked Questions
When Will I See Results From My Fractional CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing?
After your treatment your skin will show an immediate new vitality as a response to the microscopic punctures created by the fractional laser. Your skin will feel softer and smoother, and your skin tone will be more even. But your real results will begin to show after your skin has calmed and your body begins sending new collagen and elastin to the treatment areas. This process continues for the next 3-6 months, and the skin continues to improve. These changes will endure for years, although your skin will continue to age, as you would expect.
What Will I Look Like Immediately After My Fractional CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing?
Your skin will be red across the treatment areas and you will have some swelling and possibly blistering. The degree of these side effects will depend on how aggressive your treatment has been. You should expect to look as if you have a moderate to severe sunburn on your skin. Your individual healing characteristics will have a lot to do with how your skin initially appears. In most patients, the top layer of skin will darken and lift within a couple of days leaving fresh pink new skin. It may take the skin 2-3 weeks to return to your natural skin tone.
How Long Do The Results Of Fractional CO2 Laser Resurfacing Last?
You will continue to age and new treatments may be required years down the line. But if you protect your skin from the sun and use our skin care products like retinoid, the effects can be prolonged for years.
What Can Be Treated With Fractional CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing?
Fractional laser resurfacing is a cosmetic procedure that treats a variety of skin problems such as wrinkles, acne scarring, enlarged pores, sun damaged skin, uneven texture, etc. This laser treatment rejuvenates the skin and successfully helps form newer, smoother, and more youthful appearing skin.
How Many Treatments Of Fractional CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing Do I Need To See Results?
Typically, just one laser resurfacing treatment session is required. If problems are more severe such as acne scars, multiple treatments may be required. Laser treatments are usually spaced at least two months apart.
Is Fractional CO2 Laser Resurfacing Painful?
Most people describe the discomfort after laser skin resurfacing as a sensation similar to a moderately severe sun burn. Cool compresses and generous application of healing ointment will make the recovery comfortable.
Is Fractional CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing Safe?
Fractional CO2 laser resurfacing has been cleared by the FDA and has proven to be safe and very effective at improving the skin. Because the laser energy only affects a portion of the skin surface, these procedures are safe, fairly easy to tolerate, and have little recovery time. Peeling usually lasts only 2-3 days, and there can be some slight flaking for 4-7 days. In most patients, the top layer of skin will darken and lift within a couple of days leaving fresh pink new skin. It may take the skin 2-3 weeks to return to your natural skin tone.
Are There Any Side Effects Of Fractional CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing?
Soon after the procedure is done, you may suffer from pain and discomfort. This can be controlled with the use of over the counter painkillers. The skin may appear red or sunburned for a few days, but you can use cosmetics to cover this up. Some of the side effects that are associated with fractional laser resurfacing are swelling of the skin that’s been treated, bruising, peeling and skin pigmentation. Although infections don’t usually occur, they may develop in a few patients.
We offer fractional CO2 laser skin resurfacing for those located in Lake Charles, Sulphur, Moss Bluff, and Jennings LA, Orange TX, and surrounding areas. Call our office today with any questions you may have, or to schedule an appointment today!.