Why CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing is Still a Good Treatment Option
- Posted on: Jun 15 2019
Skincare and skin rejuvenation has become a common topic for men and women – especially those living in, or visiting, the sun belt. Over time, the sun exposure shows itself as roughness, wrinkles, brown spots and poor texture. The degradation of collagen and stimulation of melanin that occurs with UV exposure leads to photodamage that only seems to worsen with age. One of the tools doctors became successful using to address these issues is the CO2, or carbon dioxide, laser.
Since its inception, CO2 laser skin resurfacing has provided dramatic results. However, early uses were not as sophisticated as what we have today. Patients treated with a carbon dioxide laser often encountered significant redness that took weeks to resolve. There also used to be a challenge blending the skin tone of the treated and untreated areas – making treatment very noticeable, and not in a good way. This was because technology hadn’t yet produced highly sophisticated lasers, nor were protocols as precise. Dr. Flaharty frequently recommends CO2 laser resurfacing for his patients with significant fine lines and wrinkling. By removing the outermost layer of tissue and allowing new cells to replace the old, wrinkles and fine lines are essentially wiped away. While, deep wrinkles and folds can’t be removed, small superficial webs of wrinkles and lines are about 80% gone.
What Can Laser Skin Resurfacing Do?
Because CO2 laser resurfacing vaporizes the uppermost layer of the dermis, numerous improvements are achieved simultaneously. After treatment, patients enjoy benefits such as:
- Smoother skin with fewer fine lines and wrinkles
- Decreased visibility of scars and/or stretch marks
- Elimination of sun spots and spider veins
- Tissue regeneration after facelift surgery
- Smaller, more refined pores
What to Expect During and After CO2 Laser Resurfacing
Laser skin resurfacing is performed under IV sedation. This maintains comfort for the 30- to 90-minute procedure. Immediately following treatment, a special protective dressing is applied over the skin. Studies have indicated that the application of a silicone dressing significantly improves comfort while also reducing scabbing as tissue heals. The dressing is left in place for a few days. If any areas of skin are not covered, these will require ointment application several times a day. Initially, patients can expect to look swollen and red. To reduce swelling, we suggest sleeping with the head elevated. Ice can also be applied for short periods. The use of ice and pain medication enables most patients to feel quite comfortable during their initial recovery from treatment. After the protective dressing is removed, Dr. Flaharty recommends staying out of the sun and taking it easy for the next few days. Skin will be pink and new looking, but after the 2nd week, most patients return to most of their social activities – but with a strong emphasis on sun avoidance and skin protection.
At one point, the perception of CO2 laser resurfacing was that this treatment incurred more risk than reward. Dr. Flaherty has been performing this procedure for more than two decades. With a refined approach, laser resurfacing achieves improvements our patients enjoy for many years.
Posted in: Laser Skin Rejuvenation