Latest Skin Treatments: Laser Resurfacing with CO2

Laser resurfacing with CO2 makes use of targeted beams of light that removes the outermost layer of your skin. This type of laser treatment helps in many ways:

  • to remove skin cancer,
  • address cosmetic skin issues, for example, deep and fine lines, wrinkles, and even acne scars
  • treat areas where skin discoloration occurs, for example, age spots and sunspots.

A cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist makes use of fractional lasers and other types of CO2 lasers. However, fractional lasers are more superficial than normal CO2 lasers. These are mainly used to treat blotchy skin and fine lines.

How will CO2 laser resurfacing work?

C02 laser resurfacing makes use of pulses of laser light. These beams will penetrate your skin’s surface, and the water in the skin cells absorbs them.

After this, the epidermal, or superficial layer of your skin, gets vaporized. The dermis, or middle layer, heats up, and this in turn stimulates the growth of new collagen fibers. When the area heals. up, new firmer and smoother skin replaces the old layers.

During the process of CO2 laser resurfacing, a dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon will target specific areas of your skin precisely, to avoid the treatments affecting the rest of the skin12.

Preparation for the treatment

A dermatologist can give you instructions to prepare for the treatment. This depends on your medical history. A typical pre-care preparation may involve the following.

  • avoid heavy sun exposure or skin tan for 4 weeks before the treatment
  • not make use of the medications that may cause sun sensitivity, such as doxycycline, for 3 days prior the treatment
  • using antiviral medication for some days before and after the treatment if you the patient has a history of shingles or herpes.
  • To quit smoking for up to 2 weeks before and after the treatment. Smoking interferes with the healing process.

Steps involved in the procedure

The main steps in the CO2 procedure are listed below.

  1. Prior to the treatment, your skin is thoroughly cleaned and you’ll get special eyewear that protects your eyes from the laser beams.
  2. You’ll get a combination of sedative and local anesthesia to prevent pain and that even helps you feel relaxed. For extensive resurfacing, you will need general anesthesia, which will make you sleep through the treatment.
  3. During the treatment, a surgeon or dermatologist will move the laser wand slowly over your skin area that is being treated.
  4. CO2 laser resurfacing may result in some pain. The pain threshold depends on the extent of resurfacing, the skills of the surgeon or dermatologist, and of course, your own pain tolerance.
  5. The outpatient procedure typically takes between 30 minutes and 2 hours, this depends on the issue being addressed and the area of skin under treatment.
  6. You may receive an ice pack that you may apply to the treated area for a few minutes to prevent swelling.
  7. In the end, an antibacterial ointment and then a nonstick dressing will be applied to the treated skin. This should be applied for a while, usually for up to 24 hours.

A person may need more than one treatment session, this depends on the treatment and the intensity of the laser used.