Fractional CO2 laser is an effective skin resurfacing treatment that reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles, removes sunspots, and heals leftover acne scars. It is a non-invasive procedure that may take between one to two treatments.
During the procedure, a doctor sends carbon dioxide laser beams into the skin. These beams create microscopic holes that stimulate the body to produce more collagen.
What Is It?
Fractional CO2 laser is one of the most popular and effective laser treatments available for a variety of skin concerns including acne scars, sun damage and wrinkles. Known for delivering dramatic results, fractional CO2 laser resurfacing works to rejuvenate the skin by physically removing the top layers of damaged skin, leaving healthy, youthful-looking, smoother skin.
During treatment, tiny columns of light are sent through the skin to the deeper layers. These micro beams heat the sub-epidermal tissues which then vaporize the damaged cells. This allows the surrounding skin to quickly heal and regenerate.
This results in smoother, healthier and younger looking skin that looks a lot more even in tone and texture. It also eliminates pigmentation, sun spots and fine lines.
The newer ablative fractional lasers are able to treat more deeply and provide superior results than older technologies which required much larger areas of treatment to achieve desired outcomes. This is particularly important when treating patients with active inflammatory skin conditions like acne or rosacea.
A number of factors can influence the outcome of a laser treatment, including the type of laser used, the target area and how well the patient complies with post-treatment instructions. In addition, the amount of time spent healing is an important factor in determining how good results will be achieved.
The most commonly used lasers in dermatology have different wavelengths and absorption spectra (Figure 1; x-axis) resulting in a specific reaction in the target tissue (y-axis). In the case of the CO2 laser, for example, its wavelength of 10,600 nm is ideal for safe ablation and good hemostasis with minimal risk of side effects.
How does a fractional CO2 laser work?
Fractional CO2 laser resurfacing uses a type of light energy known as selective photothermolysis to treat a variety of skin problems. It vaporizes the top layer of skin and stimulates your body’s natural healing process to replace it with new, healthy tissue.
Laser resurfacing is used to treat fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, scars, and other skin conditions that affect the appearance of your face. It also reduces the look of pigmentation, blotchy skin, and other imperfections.
While there are several different types of laser resurfacing treatments, the most common is ablative CO2 laser resurfacing. This type of laser destroys the outer layers of the skin and triggers a collagen production process that results in smoother, more even-toned, younger-looking skin.
However, ablative laser resurfacing can be painful. It can leave your skin looking and feeling rough, and it might ooze or blister, so it is best to have this procedure done by a board certified cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist.
The resurfacing treatment typically lasts about 15 to 20 minutes. It is performed under local anesthesia to make the area numb and ensure that you’re comfortable.
During the resurfacing, an expert will use a small device to spray tiny beams of light across your skin. The lasers will penetrate the outer layer of the skin and target specific areas.
In addition to targeting the skin’s surface, the laser also works to stimulate the underlying tissue, which can lead to new growth and a tighter, more elastic texture. The results are typically long-lasting and can reduce the need for over-the-counter topical treatments.
This kind of resurfacing can be performed on your whole face, but it is often used in combination with other anti-aging treatments. It can be especially useful for people who have a bad facelift or neck lift.
It can also be used to improve the skin on your hands, arms, and other parts of your body. It’s a great way to treat sun damage and brown spots, which can cause the skin to appear tired, old, or uneven.
In addition to treating the surface of your skin, the lasers also work deep beneath the skin to stimulate the growth of new cells and collagen. The result is smoother, more youthful skin that looks brighter and healthier.
What are the benefits of fractional CO2 laser?
If you have deep wrinkles, sun-damaged skin or acne scars, fractional CO2 laser resurfacing can offer you a smoother and younger appearance. It also helps to tighten the skin and reduce pore size, resulting in more even skin tone.
The treatment involves a series of pulses of light that are delivered to the skin in a grid pattern. Each of these pulses creates a micro-wound that stimulates the skin to heal itself. The laser also boosts the production of collagen, a natural substance in the body that gives the skin its firmness and elasticity.
Fractional CO2 lasers are a minimally invasive procedure that delivers results that look and feel more natural than traditional laser treatments. It can be used to treat all types of damaged skin, including fine lines and wrinkles, brown spots, acne scars, enlarged pores and more.
Using a special type of laser, the fractional CO2 laser removes the top layer of your skin and penetrates it into the deeper layers. The process is non-ablative, which means it doesn’t damage the deeper layers of your skin and doesn’t cause pain or redness.
After a fractional CO2 laser treatment, you’ll likely experience some minor swelling, but this will subside in a few days. Then, you’ll start to notice a noticeable improvement in your skin. It will be less blotchy, smoother, and brighter.
Your skin’s condition will continue to improve for a period of time, depending on how well you care for your skin. For the most effective results, you should follow the doctor’s instructions about sunscreen and proper skincare.
A good CO2 laser is equipped with a variety of temporal beam modes, which each induce a different reaction in the tissue. These can include continuous wave (CW), superpulsing, and ultrapulsing.
CW is the simplest mode, as it only has one power output and an interpulse interval of 1 second. However, this mode can be more effective in treating vascular lesions and other tissues that don’t absorb the light energy well.
In contrast, superpulsing and ultrapulsing have many more pulses and longer interpulse intervals than CW, but have slightly lower peak power. These two modes are more useful in removing lesions such as syringomas and xanthelasmas, where it is important to achieve good hemostasis once the lesion is removed.
Where can I get a fractional CO2 laser treatment?
When you want to rejuvenate your skin with a minimally invasive treatment that is safe and effective, the fractional CO2 laser is the right solution. Dr. Cameron Rokhsar, a board-certified dermatologist in New York, performs this revolutionary treatment on her patients from the region and around the world to help them look younger, refreshed, and more beautiful.
The fractional CO2 laser is an ideal treatment for addressing wrinkles, lines, brown spots, large pores, and acne scars as well as sun damage. It works by delivering heat energy into the deep layers of skin where new collagen is being produced and the body’s own healing process is activated.
Fractional CO2 laser treatments are performed using a handpiece that contains microbeams of CO2 that deliver precise amounts of therapeutic heat into the skin. Each beam is carefully positioned to target only discrete columns of tissue, leaving intact areas in between the microbeams to promote healing and regeneration.
These tiny columns of thermal injury trigger the body’s natural healing process to produce new collagen while simultaneously stimulating existing collagen production to tighten and reorganize the skin. This is what makes Fractional CO2 so effective in reducing fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, and scars.
A fractional CO2 laser treatment is relatively painless and is administered in a short appointment. Topical numbing cream is applied to your face prior to treatment for maximum comfort.
Once your procedure is completed, it’s important to follow the recommended post-care instructions. This will ensure that you get the best results from your fractional CO2 laser treatment.
During your recovery, you’ll need to avoid direct sunlight and apply moisturizer regularly. It’s also essential to stay away from retinoids and other products that can disrupt your treatment results.
You may notice slight swelling, redness and flaking. This is normal and can last two to four days. Once the skin has healed, you can begin applying make-up again.
The result is a smoother, healthier-looking complexion that is even-toned and more vibrant. In addition, the laser stimulates the production of collagen that is then able to continue to improve the appearance of your skin for months after the treatment.