Laser Fractional CO2
Over time, factors such as sun damage, heredity, diet and repetitive muscle movement contribute to the formation of lines and wrinkles in the face. Additionally, the development of pigmentation anomalies, such as “age spots,” or acne scars can cause skin to lose its smooth, youthful appearance. Laser skin resurfacing has been a popular method of repairing and rejuvenating damaged skin for a number of years however; some patients have chosen to avoid this procedure due to the long and difficult recovery periods associated with CO2 laser treatments.
The “OLD WAY” – Up until now, the gold standard in reversing the signs of aging has been resurfacing with the traditional CO2 laser. During laser resurfacing, a high-energy beam of light is used to heat the skin. Resurfacing is achieved by peeling away a layer of skin while causing tissue contraction. The damaged skin is essentially vaporized by a controlled laser beam. A secondary effect is the production of new collagen over the next several months. Although this technique achieves dramatic results, the aggressive nature of this treatment may increase the patient’s recovery time (as long as several weeks) as well as risk of infection and scarring.
The “NEW” way – Fractional Resurfacing
A “fractional” laser is one where the laser-light beam is not solid but rather broken up into a grid of thousands of microscopic beams. Unlike old resurfacing lasers that remove the entire top layer of skin, fractional resurfacing works by creating a grid of pinpoint laser beams that zap tiny spots on the skin.
This produces thousands of tiny but deep columns of treatment in your skin, known as microthermal treatment zones. This method protects the skin from enduring too much damage at once because you have a reservoir of normal skin surrounding these microthermal treatment zones. Healing is fast and side effects are minimal. This also significantly reduces pain during the procedure. By design, each treatment session targets about 15 to 20 percent of the skin’s surface. In other words it treats a “fraction” of the skin surface each time and that is why the technique is called fractional laser resurfacing.
The new skin grows back healthier and stronger in just a few days. Patients will see improvements in photodamage, tone, as well as a noticeably smoother texture and brighter complexion.
The results of fractional CO2 laser treatment are long-term with proper sun protection, can persist for many years. Most effects of treatment become visible right away, new collagen formation, which leads to continued inner tightening and build up gradually becomes more evident over time. Therefore, most people look even better 3-6 months after the procedure. Fractional laser resurfacing can be used for the treatment of acne scars, wrinkles, fine lines, sun damage and skin discolorations.
Fractional CO2 laser provides remarkable results:
- Immediate Skin tightening
- Reduces wrinkles and fine lines
- Noticeably improves skin tone and texture
- Less discomfort during and after the procedure
- Less swelling and redness during the recovery time
- Fastest recovery time
How Are Treatments Performed?
You may prepare for the treatment by avoiding the sun, wearing sunscreen and following the pre-treatment skin care regimen prescribed by your doctor. You will be prescribed medication to prevent an outbreak of cold sores and an antibiotic to prevent infection starting a day before your treatment. The length of a laser resurfacing procedure varies depending on the extent of treatment, usually lasting 45 minutes but you will be prepared with a topical numbing cream and possibly something to take to relax you before the treatment. You will be given eyewear that will protect your eyes from the intense light produced by the laser.
What Should I Expect After Treatment?
Since this is an ablative laser, you will experience redness, swelling and possibly itching after the procedure. This is normal and is the expected result. You will care for your healing skin following specific instructions prepared for you by our staff. Post-procedure discomfort is usually minor. Ointment (usually Aquafor) is applied liberally for the first 6-7 days to protect the new skin. Your skin will be healed in 6-7 days and you can go back to wearing makeup, work or play. You may experience pinkness in the treated areas that may last for several weeks but that will fade quickly. While your skin remains red, it is important to protect it from sun exposure by using sunscreen with SPF 15 or greater. You will complete the medications prescribed and begin a skin care regimen that will help you achieve and maintain the best results.
As with any procedure where there is a break in the skin barrier, there is a possibility for side effects to occur. Infection is uncommon and if it does occur, usually responds rapidly to the appropriate antibiotic. Antibiotic, an antiviral and an anti-yeast medicine to help prevent skin infections may be prescribed. Hyperpigmentation (extra tanning or browning of the skin) is more common than hypopigmentation (lightening of the skin) but is transient and responds well to topical creams and sunscreen. Permanent hypopigmentation is very unusual. As with any laser, although rare there is a risk of scarring.
Laser Resurfacing Results
You will most likely notice an improvement in your skin tone and texture as the redness begins to fade but the final results from your procedure may not be evident for several months. It is important to realize that laser resurfacing does not prevent your skin from continuing to age, form new lines and wrinkle slowly over time .
If you would like to experience the benefits of Fractional Resurfacing Laser treatment please schedule a consultation today at our Chelsea Office in Manhattan, Skinworks Brooklyn location.