Modern scientific advances have produced lasers that are safe and yield great results in experienced hands. The fractional CO2 laser uses light-energy to resurface the top layer of the skin and produce new collagen and offers less risk than non-fractionated ablative laser treatments.1 Thermal injury is created in microscopic treatment zones made up of columns of tissue. The skin then regenerates through wound remodeling, and new collagen is produced.
CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing in Houston
The physicians at My Houston Surgeons will sometimes recommend pairing CO2 laser treatments with the incorporation of customized nourishing and anti-aging products. To that effect, our team has developed and tested post-treatment and maintenance skincare regimens for optimum CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing treatment results. Inquire about our CO2 Laser Post Procedure Skincare Kit and CO2 Laser Maintenance Skincare Kit at your appointment!
The products in each kit contain a range of formulations that include high concentrations of growth factors, as well as soothing topicals to stimulate a healing response and are believed to improve recovery and healing. The result is beautiful rejuvenated and refreshed skin. Maximal results can take 3-6 months due to the time it takes for new collagen to form and for the skin and cellular components to remodel to a more youthful form.
Fractional CO2 Lasers Skin Resurfacing can also be combined with facial surgery to optimize results and go even further in improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It can be combined with facelift surgery or upper and/or lower eyelid surgery for maximal improvement of skin aging.
Benefits of CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing
Patients love Fractional Co2 Laser Skin Resurfacing because it significantly:
- Stimulates collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid production and improves skin laxity (tightness)
- Reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles
- Minimizes the appearance of crepey skin
- Reduces acne scarring
- Removes damage from UV or ultraviolet rays
- Improves the appearance of surgical and trauma scars
- Reduces pore size
- Improves overall skin tone, texture, and quality
Candidacy for CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing
Good candidates for CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing are men and women in general good health with concerns about skin laxity, tone and texture, mild to moderate lines and wrinkles, large pores, and acne scarring.
People who are not good candidates for CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing are those with concerns regarding deep or severe wrinkles, excessively sagging skin, active acne, or very dark skin tones.2
What to Expect During Your CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing Procedure
Our state-of-the-art surgical practice uses the newest and most effective generation of CO2 Laser called the DEKA DOT Fractional CO2 Laser System. This is a carbon dioxide, or CO2 laser that delivers powerful ultrapulsed (short bursts of pulsed light energy) light beams. This light effectively and safely vaporizes superficial, damaged skin cells as well as the deeper dermal tissues.3 In fact, the CO2 Laser is such a popular laser because it has the ability to precisely remove thin layers of skin while maintaining the integrity of the surrounding tissues.
In preparation for your procedure, the surgeon will thoroughly cleanse your face and provide eye protection. Next, because CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing can be painful, your doctor will numb your skin with local anesthetics as well as possibly administer a sedative or Pro-Nox gaseous anesthetic to help you relax and keep you as comfortable as possible during your procedure. Your surgeon may opt to administer a heavier, total IV based sedation for those patients opting for extensive resurfacing, or for those who are undergoing other cosmetic or surgical procedures simultaneously. After your procedure, your doctor will apply soothing products to the treated skin and provide medication to ensure your continued comfort in the coming days.
CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing Recovery
Your recovery time will depend on the depth and intensity of your CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing procedure. Most patients report feeling like they have a mild sunburn on the treated areas. You can expect to have some swelling and redness, and you may experience stinging or itching sensations for several days following your procedure. These symptoms can be greatly reduced by using our CO2 Laser Post Procedure Skincare Kit, especially developed for our CO2 Laser patients by My Houston Surgeons.
However, every patient is unique; for those that opt for extensive skin resurfacing, it’s possible that your skin may present with what looks like a severe sunburn. Your skin could be raw and might blister. This is normal and not a cause for concern. Some patients find that their treatment site oozes a yellowish liquid and forms a scab-like crust. It’s important that you do not pick at or scratch this crust because it can cause scarring.4
Approximately one week after CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing, your skin will become dry and peel and full results can be seen as early as a few weeks.5 We recommend waiting to resume the application of Retin-A and/or glycolic acid products until at least six weeks following your CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing procedure or as directed by your doctor. Full results of this powerful laser treatment, including elimination of fine, moderate, and deeper wrinkles as well as noticeable tightening of the skin can take up to 6-9 months to fully realize since the healing and age-reversing process takes place slowly at the cellular level.
In the weeks following your CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing procedures, the treated skin will peel off and reveal new, rejuvenated skin. This new skin will be pink in color at first, but will gradually lighten over the ensuing months. Most patients find their skin appears pink or red for anywhere from two to six months, however, it could take up to one year for the pinkness to completely dissipate.
Most patients find that they are very sensitive to sunlight anywhere for months following a CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing procedure and all the way up to one year. That’s why we strongly recommend minimizing any direct sun exposure and liberally applying sunscreen every day.
CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing Results
Immediately following your CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing procedure, you will notice a marked improvement in the overall tone, texture and smoothness of your skin as the top layers begin to peel and slough off. Most patients see progressive, gradual improvements in their skin as collagen production continues to accelerate. Over time, wrinkles appear finer and mild and/or shallow acne scars will be gone. Total time to realize full results from a single treatment can take up to 6-9 months.
While the effects of CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing can last for many years, the normal process of aging will cause wrinkles and lines to reoccur even in the treated areas. Many patients love their results so much that they come back for maintenance treatments every few years or as necessary. With proper skincare, CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing can be greatly optimized and extended. For ideal results, we highly recommend our custom CO2 Laser Maintenance Skincare Kit.
1 Seminars in Plastic Surgery. Fractional CO2 Laser Resurfacing Complications. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3580977/. Accessed May 28, 2020.
2 American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Who is a good candidate for laser skin resurfacing? Available at: https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/laser-skin-resurfacing/candidates. Accessed May 28, 2020.
3 Seminars in Plastic Surgery. Fractional CO2 Laser Resurfacing Complications. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3580977/. Accessed May 28, 2020.
4 American Society of Plastic Surgeons. What should I expect during my laser skin resurfacing recovery? Available at: https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/laser-skin-resurfacing/recovery. Accessed May 30, 2020.
5 American Society of Plastic Surgeons. What should I expect during my laser skin resurfacing recovery? Available at: https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/laser-skin-resurfacing/recovery. Accessed May 29, 2020.
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