Integrated Aesthetics

Fractional CO2 Laser Resurfacing

If you are concerned about deeper wrinkles and acne scars, you may be a candidate for a fractional CO2 (carbon dioxide) laser treatment. The fractional CO2 laser is an effective treatment for more aggressive skin tightening, wrinkles and acne scarring.

Avg Cost: $3500+
Avg Recovery: 2 Weeks
Discomfort Level:
Anesthesia: Local, General or IV Sedation

The fractional CO2 laser resurfacing treatment addresses scars caused by untreated acne and deep wrinkles that can develop with age and environmental factors like sun exposure and smoking. While older CO2 laser methods treat the whole surface of the target area, the fractional CO2 laser treats only a fraction of the skin - hence the name.

 

Fractional lasers create microscopic holes in the skin and leave your normal skin between the holes. The fractional CO2 laser can be used in the more aggressive ablative mode for skin tightening, wrinkles and acne scarring, or in a microblative mode to treat complexion issues such as sun damage and enlarged pores.

 

The fractional CO2 laser resurfacing treatment can be used for pigment-based discoloration. Causes for discoloration include exposure to the sun and aging, resulting in sunspots and age spots. However, the treatment is not effective for the redness of rosacea which is caused by an issue within the vascular system.

Before the procedure you will be given an anesthetic to minimize discomfort during your laser skin treatment.
Once numb, your aesthetician will use a combination of treatment settings specifically tailored to your skin type and degree of rejuvenation desired. Fractional CO2 laser resurfacing usually takes less than 30 minutes, and healing usually takes about days, depending on the extent of the resurfacing. 

 

CO2 lasers resurface your skin using targeted light beams. Fractional CO2 laser treatment is a faster and more versatile skin resurfacing method than the original laser treatment. The procedure can address wrinkles and scars, as well as minor incisions and excisions, stretch marks and atypical skin pigmentation.
 
The fractional CO2 laser treats superficial and deeper skin layers at the same time. By penetrating the deeper dermis layer, the procedure stimulates collagen production and tightens your skin. Your doctor will have precise control over the intensity and depth of the treatment.

 

  • Traditional CO2 Lasers vs. Fractional CO2 Lasers: Traditional CO2 lasers remove the surface layer of the skin. Fractional CO2 lasers are considered microablative, meaning that the device creates microscopic perforations. The device treats both the superficial layer of the skin and the deeper dermis layer to stimulate collagen production. Since there is no damage to the surrounding skin, the target area will heal more quickly. 
  • Microneedling: Microneedling generally provides good results for superficial scars including acne, but not for deeper scars.
  • Microneedling with Radiofrequency (RF): Microneedling with radiofrequency energy (RF) can reach deeper layers of the skin for severe scarring.
  • Microneedling with PRP: Microneedling with PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) is a noninvasive procedure designed to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and tighten your skin. The procedure is also called the “vampire facial” or “collagen induction therapy.” A hand-held microneedling device is used to penetrate the skin and induce the production of collagen to create younger looking skin.

PROS

CONS

  • Fractional CO2 lasers have a history with evidence of safety and effectiveness.
  • The fractional CO2 laser treatment can be customized to best suit your skin type and your concerns.
  • Laser resurfacing is effective for damaged and aging skin and a range of other concerns.
  •  
  • Fractional CO2 lasers can be risky if you have a medium to deep skin tone since the light beam can target cells that produce pigment.
  • The treatment may be intense.
  • Fractional CO2 laser treatments are not effective for sagging skin, which may require a surgical facelift, radiofrequency or ultrasound treatments.

It is important to use a doctor and/or aesthetician who is trained and experienced in fractional CO2 laser treatments. Treatment that is too aggressive can result in scarring and burning. It will be important to follow the doctor’s instructions to prevent infection. Some doctors prescribe antibiotics after CO2 laser treatments.

 

There may also be pigmentation problems where the laser removes cells that produce melanin, leaving a spot without enough pigment. There is also the risk of too much pigmentation for darker spots after the procedure. Fractional CO2 laser treatments are not recommended for people who have active acne, or if you are taking Accutane. If you are prone to developing cold sores, make sure to mention it to your doctor who may prescribe an antiviral medication to prevent a flare-up.

What to Expect

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We are an integrated cosmetic plastic surgery, dermatology and medspa practice dedicated to helping you live your best life through the lens of aesthetics.
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