Fractional CO2 Laser: Procedure and Aftercare
Fractional CO2 laser replenishes the skin by removing acne scars, wrinkles and other skin problems.
There are different kinds of lasers. Fractional lasers, radiofrequency, soft light, and hair removal lasers.
Unlike laser hair removal in Sharjah, this laser revives the skin’s original condition and decreases signs of aging.
This article discusses the fractional CO2 laser and its aftercare.
What is a Fractional CO2 Laser?
This laser promotes skin renewal in certain areas.
It targets a specific area with the use of a fractionated laser unlike the nonablative lasers of the past.
By this, it improves skin texture and appearance.
It is a completely non-invasive procedure that uses carbon dioxide lasers to smoothly remove the damaged outer skin layer.
Its main use is to treat acne and wrinkles but it also helps in removing:
Hence, the main area for the laser is the face but you can also get it on the neck, arms and hands.
Are You A Good Candidate?
If you have wrinkles, fine lines and acne scars then this procedure is great for you.
There is a possibility of having no responsive skin after facelift surgery.
This procedure is also useful in treating the skin’s unresponsiveness.
That said, it is still not suitable for you if you have frequent breakouts or if your skin has infections or wounds.
Furthermore, it is not ideal for people who take oral isotretinoin.
Similarly, those with diabetes and other chronic medical conditions should consult their doctor before the procedure.
Hence, consult your medical conditions thoroughly with your dermatologist before you proceed with the treatment.
Remember, this procedure is unlike laser hair removal, a layer of your damaged skin is removed hence, more precaution is needed.
Procedure of Fractional CO2 Laser
The dermatologist begins by applying a local anesthetic cream on the target area half an hour before the treatment.
This allows you to undergo the procedure without much pain.
It uses continuous light beams that are short-pulsed light.
They are also known as ultra pulse.
These beams reach the skin in a scanning pattern that carefully removes the outer layer of the skin without causing heat damage to it.
As the laser removes the dead skin cells in the skin, it simultaneously promotes the microthermal zones present deeper in the skin.
This leads to collagen production and stimulates the body’s natural healing process.
Hence, the new skin with collagen replaces the old skin with acne, sun damage and wrinkles.
Therefore, your skin rejuvenates with less visible scars, wrinkles and fine lines.
You need to do some skincare before and after the procedure.
More on that below!
However, there will be a small downtime of 5 to 7 days.
The new fractional technology in fractional CO2 laser is unlike those in simple fractional lasers.
Hence, healthy tissues are present in the microthermal zones.
Therefore, they can give the skin proteins and cells that promote fast healing.
Hence, the recovery period is comparatively faster as healthy cells are still present in the microthermal zone.
The procedure isn’t painful but you will feel a slight prickling sensation.
Your doctor applies the anesthetic to numb this pain and make it painless for you.
Moreover, the results will depend on the skin problem.
You can see immediate results for skin concerns like hyperpigmentation, however, acne scars, fine lines and wrinkles will take time to heal.
As the collagen production increases, it will fill in the lines, wrinkles and disappear the scars.
Furthermore, you should take care of your skin after the procedure to maintain results.
Precautions and Aftercare
You need to be mindful of a few things before you begin the procedure.
This includes limiting or stopping certain skincare products and medicines.
Be wary of anything that can hinder your treatment and its results. Read below to know things to be careful of.
Stop using Retinoids prior to your treatment as it can alter the treatment results you desire.
Moreover, tanning is not ideal for any skin procedure.
Hence, you should limit the sun exposure you get 2 weeks before the procedure.
Also, start using sunscreen at least 4 weeks prior to prevent any sun damage to the skin.
Similarly, there are medicines that can lead to sun sensitivity.
These include doxycycline and minocycline. You should avoid them for at least 3 days before your treatment.
Additionally, medicines like aspirin and ibuprofen can cause blood clotting which is not ideal for any treatment.
Before you begin your treatment, your dermatologist should know about any medical conditions and infections you have or recently suffered from.
It is important for them to know if you had any medical condition in the treatment area such as herpes or shingles.
If you did, then they will give an antiviral medicine to you to take 2 days before and 3 days after the procedure.
Eat lightly but stay hydrated before the procedure.
Do not go for treatment hungry, eat lightly and drink lots of water to prevent dehydration.
Importantly, follow your dermatologist’s advice on what you should do prior to the treatment.
Aftercare and Side Effects
Your skin will require a downtime of at least a week.
It will be highly sensitive during this time hence, you need to take extra care of it.
Immediately after the procedure, you should hold an ice pack to your skin for 10 to 15 minutes.
Next, your doctor may also put some petroleum jelly or antibacterial cream on the treated area.
Back at home, avoid taking a bath and keep using the ice pack for 2 to 3 days regularly.
Gently wash the treatment area with water and avoid applying any ointment unless prescribed by your doctor.
Cover the area with a bandage till it heals.
Avoid shaving in the treatment area and limit sun exposure.
Do not use makeup till your skin heals and only use cleanser and moisturizer from your skincare routine.
For a few days, limit your outdoor activities such as going swimming or saunas as it can lead to infection.
It is normal to see some side effects of redness and swelling as the procedure involves heat.
However, if the redness prolongs for quite a while, you should see your doctor.
This can be a sign of prolonged erythema as redness should subside usually within 3 to 4 days.
It is rare to get bacterial infections after the treatment however if you notice signs of fever greater than 101 degrees Fahrenheit, having chills and shivering, as well as pain, then rush to your doctor immediately.
Furthermore, if you have darker skin, you are at risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
It can result from the initial swelling.
Visit your doctor at the earliest if there is a yellow discharge from the treatment area or it bleeds profusely.
Also if your pain does not subside in a few days even with the use of pain killers then it is high time you consult your doctor.
That said, side effects are still rare.
If you follow the post-procedural care appropriately then there are fewer chances of getting these complications.
At best you will get some swelling, scabs and redness after the treatment.
Selecting a Dermatologist
This is a delicate procedure, it is important to work with an experienced dermatologist.
Rather than choosing the first dermatologist you find, it is important to consider interviewing a few different ones.
Thus, before, booking a laser skin treatment, ask your dermatologist the following:
- The experience they can with this treatment in particular.
- Experience with different skin tones and specific skin tone
- portfolio with before and after pictures of the clients
- affects on your health and risks and side effects one should be aware of
- recovery time and what should one expect
- a number of sessions you might need.
Moreover, it is important to find a dermatologist that is board-certified.
This certification could be with the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery or with the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.
Board certification ensures that you are working with a dermatologist that has vast and extensive experience and trainin.
Fractional CO2 Laser FAQ’s
Q. What are the types of fractional resurfacing lasers?
There are two types of laser skin resurfacing, Fraxel and Fractional CO2 Laser.
Unlike Fraxel, Fractional CO2 laser is an ablative laser and this is how it delivers heart and energy to the skin’s surface.
Though Fraxel is nonablative.
You will need 4 or more treatments of Fraxel while only one treatment of Fractional CO2 laser is enough.
Both give similar results in treating acne scars, wrinkles and fine lines.
Though if your condition is severe then you may require one to three sessions between 4 to 6 weeks breaks.
Q. Will I see immediate results?
If you have deep wrinkles, fine lines and several acne scars then give your skin time to heal.
The treatment boosts collagen production, so soon it will rejuvenate the skin and fade your scars plus wrinkles.
However, you can see immediate results in the case of hyperpigmentation.
Therefore, the results depend on the severity of your skin condition and problem.
Q. Is the procedure painful?
This procedure will not be as painful but like in laser treatments you will feel a prickly sensation because of the heat.
However, your doctor will apply numbing cream or local anesthetic before beginning.
This will help dull down the pain and make it easier for you to continue the procedure.
Q. What are the signs of healing after the treatment?
The treatment area turns black when it starts to heal and you will notice the formation of a crust.
You should not try to remove the crust as it will fall after a while on its own.
This will happen several weeks after the treatment.
Q. How to deal with pain after treatment?
You can treat the pain after a fractional CO2 Laser with acetaminophen or NSAIDs.
However, consult your doctor beforehand for the appropriate medicine.
The main area for getting this laser treatment is your face.
However, you can also see some improvements through this on the hands, neck and arms.
The face will likely have more acne and wrinkles than the rest of the treatment areas.
Though, it is also effective in treating hyperpigmentation, fine lines, crow’s feet and warts.
Furthermore, it reverses the effects of sun damage, evens out the skin tone and reduces your saggy skin.
You will feel minimal pain from the laser.
However, you will have to rest for about 5 to 7 days till you can fully recover to resume your routine activities.
This is due to the fact that your skin will be very sensitive post-procedure.
Remember to stop taking retinoids, sun exposure and blood-thinning medicines right before your treatment.
While you should stay hydrated, limit what you eat just before the treatment begins but do not starve, only eat lightly.
While side effects are rare you will still undergo swelling and redness.
The skin will start healing as a black crusts forms.
It also falls on its own indicating that your skin has completely healed.
After healing you will see a considerable difference in your acne and wrinkles.
Thanks to the increased collagen, the appearance of the fine lines and crow’s feet will reduce too.
Thus if you want to see effective changes on your skin opt for a Fractional CO2 Laser.