If you are experiencing skin problems such as wrinkles, fine lines, blemishes, acne scars, and warts, or if you’re just looking for a general rejuvenation of your skin, then CO2 laser skin resurfacing could be the right procedure for you.
What is CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing?
Laser skin resurfacing uses carefully modulated laser pulses to burn away dead skin layer by layer. This stimulates the development of collagen and the growth of new skin, which erases many types of skin irregularities.
There are two types of lasers commonly employed in skin resurfacing: carbon dioxide (CO2) and erbium. The two lasers have slightly different uses. Here at Heller Dermatology, we offer the CO2 laser, which, though it requires more downtime, can produce more thorough results than the erbium laser.
How Should I Prepare for My Procedure?
First, you will have an initial consultation to discuss the goals of your laser skin resurfacing. Good candidates are those in generally good health with mild to moderate skin issues such as wrinkles, acne scars, etc. If you get fever blisters or cold sores around your mouth, be aware that this procedure does increase the risk of outbreaks.
For about two weeks before the procedure, you will be asked to stop taking medications or supplements such as vitamin E, aspirin, and ibuprofen that can affect clotting. It is also advisable to stop smoking, as smoking can hamper the healing process.
What is the Procedure Like?
Laser skin resurfacing is generally an outpatient procedure, so it does not require an overnight stay. The treatment area will be numbed with a local anesthetic, though a general anesthetic may be necessary if your whole face is undergoing treatment. You may also request sedation.
Your doctor will carefully control the laser as it covers the treatment area. Depending on the amount of skin being treated, the procedure can last from 30 minutes to about two hours. After the procedure, the treatment area is bandaged. You may experience a stinging or itching sensation for up to three days afterwards, which is perfectly normal.
It is important to follow your doctor’s after-care instructions. You will be responsible for cleaning the treated area four to five times a day and applying ointment to prevent scab formation. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen and keep your skin out of the sun as much as possible. The healing process takes from 10 to 21 days, depending on the size of the treatment area and condition being treated.
If you are interested in learning more about CO2 laser skin resurfacing, please call Heller Dermatology & Aesthetic Surgery to schedule your consultation.