CO2 Laser Resurfacing — Northeast Dermatology | SKIN Dermatology

CO2 Laser Resurfacing

Cosmetic Dermatology

Laser resurfacing uses laser light energy to produce a very controlled removal of the top layer of skin in order to encourage production of new collagen and skin cell growth.  The older, damaged top layer of skin is removed to make way for a fresher, newer layer.  This provides our physicians with a very precise and effective means to non-surgically treat lines, wrinkles, scars, and blemishes.  

Fully Ablative CO2 Lasers vs. Fractional CO2 Lasers

Fully ablative CO2 lasers remove a greater percentage of the top layer of skin with each pass, resulting in more improvement with one treatment compared to fractional CO2 lasers.  However, this more aggressive treatment results in a longer down time and slower recovery.  Fractional CO2 lasers were developed in order to address the need for rejuvenation with less redness, less downtime, and less recovery compared to fully ablative CO2 laser resurfacing.  However, it is possible that multiple treatments may be needed to achieve optimal results.  

Common Uses for CO2 Laser Resurfacing

Some of the frequently targeted uses for CO2 laser resurfacing are:

  • improving fine lines and wrinkles of the face.
  • smoothing and tightening of eyelid skin.
  • lessening the appearance of crow’s feet (wrinkles around the sides of the eyes)
  • softening of pucker lines of the lips
  • decreasing pigmented spots such as “liver spots” or melasma
  • improving the appearance and firmness of scars
  • improving the overall tone and texture for fresher appearing skin 

Fractional CO2 Treatment

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After

Ablative CO2 Treatment

Before

After

Many patients will combine laser resurfacing with other procedures in order to achieve maximal improvement.  Botulinum toxins work synergistically with laser resurfacing as they relax and soften the muscles that cause wrinkling of the skin.  By combining these two procedures, the treated area is smoother as the new skin and collagen are formed and modeled. Dermal fillers help to elevate areas of depression, such as acne scars or deeper lines and wrinkles.  This makes it easier to resurface the base of these lesions during CO2 laser treatments.

Areas of treatment will appear bright pink or red for several days following treatment and must be cared for with topical ointments in order to keep moist.  The treated areas will be fresh and sensitive to sunlight and must be protected from sun exposure for several weeks following your treatment.  Make up may be resumed in days to weeks, depending on which type of resurfacing is performed.  Significant complications are rare and the risk of scarring is low.  You may wish to discuss any concerns you have for potential side effects with your doctor prior to receiving treatment.