• CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing Explained

  • Why CO2 laser skin resurfacing?

    No other laser treatment approaches the dramatic result that the CO2 laser resurfacing achieves.

    With time the skin thins and looses elasticity. Fine wrinkles and then creases develop. This process is accelerated and exacerbated by smoking and especially sun exposure. Indeed damage from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation is responsible for almost all of the skin changes associated with ageing. If you don’t believe this simply compare an area of skin that doesn’t see any daylight with an area that’s constantly exposed (assuming you don’t do a lot of nude sun bathing!). The unexposed area will be smoother, have little or no wrinkles and an even, fairer complexion. In short it will look a lot more like a baby’s skin even for individuals in their later decades. And remember- both areas of skin have the same birthday.

    If you compare sun damaged part of the skin called the dermis with young undamaged dermis under the microscope you will see, instead of fine, smooth, regular bands of collagen and elastin fibers (the proteins that give the skin its strength and elasticity), proteins that are clumped, thicken and broken. The more leathery the skin looks the worse the degree of clumping, thickening and breakage.

    The CO2 laser treatment removes the upper part of the damaged dermis, which allows the skin to regenerate a new upper dermis that is just like a baby’s when compared under the microscope. The treated skin’s pigmentation is lighter, the texture much smoother and tighter. Fine wrinkles are gone and deep creases greatly improved.

    Who is a candidate for CO2 laser resurfacing?

    CO2 laser treatment is an aggressive therapy that achieves unmatched dramatic results. Patients who choose to under go this procedure must be prepared to actively participate in the recovery and be patient in waiting for the final results.

    As with any cosmetic plastic surgery, realistic expectations are important. Patients need to fully understand what the procedure can and cannot achieve. You should have all your questions answered before the surgery. Just as importantly, you should listen carefully and completely to your surgeon’s answers and explanations.

    Who will benefit most from CO2 laser treatment?

    The best candidates are fair with thin skin and significant skin damage.

    Is CO2 laser treatment the only way to improve the appearance of the skin?

    No.  There are many other laser and chemical peel treatments that improve the texture of the skin. All these treatments offer faster healing but none approaches the degree of improvement that the CO2 laser treatment achieves. There is one exception a phenol based peel referred to as the Gordon-Baker peel. Its results are very similar to the CO2 laser but it has toxicity issues and its use became far more limited after the introduction of the CO2 laser.

     Can I treat just one area of my face with the CO2 laser?

    Skin treated with the CO2 laser will be smoother, tighter and have more even pigmentation. These improvements will usually be a really dramatic change. That’s great, but that can present problems when treating only one area of the face. Too often we become the victim of our success because the treated area simply doesn’t match the rest of the face.

    I have found that the only area that can be treated really successfully is around the eyes (periorbital area). This skin naturally has a different thickness, texture and color than the surrounding facial skin. It is usually a darker color making the pigmentation lightening effect of the laser a real plus. Because this skin is thinner it usually it is often the only area on the face to really show the effects of ageing/sun damage. This is especially true for individuals with thick, darker skin who are not otherwise good candidates for laser resurfacing.

    How is CO2 laser treatment performed?

    The procedure can be performed using local anesthesia or any level of anesthesia the patient wishes.

    How do I recover following CO2 laser skin resurfacing?

    We have the patient rinse the area with running water then apply an ointment several times a day until the skin heals.

    What are the risks associated with CO2 laser skin resurfacing?

    When performed by an experienced surgeon such as Dr Perry risks are truly rare. They include scarring and infection.

    Take the first step:

    If you are considering CO2 laser skin resurfacing, schedule a consultation with Dr Perry. At your consultation at our Whittier Office. Dr. Perry will carefully listen to your concerns and goals, perform the appropriate examination, answer any questions and explain your options often using computer imaging.