There are two main reasons that laser treatments are among the most popular cosmetic procedures out there: they're both versatile and effective. Laser treatments can help to improve the appearance of a person's skin in several ways. Some laser treatments focus on removing unwanted hairs or unwanted tattoos from the skin. Others can improve common problems such as spider veins.
Lasers can also help to rejuvenate the skin, reducing imperfections to help a person look more youthful. Laser treatments can remove common skin concerns such as warts, moles, and freckles. Lasers vary in terms of their intensity and in what they do to change or correct the skin. One of the most popular laser treatments available is the CO2 fractional laser.
But is the CO2 laser the right choice for you? Let's take a look.
Laser skin treatments can either be ablative, meaning they damage the entire outer layer of the skin, or non-ablative, meaning they create controlled injuries that leave the upper layers of skin intact. Traditional CO2 lasers worked by removing damaged skin, allowing fresh, new skin cells to replace them. Although the results were usually very dramatic, the recovery after a traditional CO2 laser treatment was pretty intensive.
CO2 fractional lasers use a specific pattern of laser beams to repair damaged skin without having to destroy the entire outer layer of skin. The laser beams are broken up (or fractionated) into tiny beams of light that penetrate skin to the dermal layer. As the skin heals from the treatment, it pushes the damaged skin cells out of the tiny holes made by the fractionated laser beams. Surrounding skin is unharmed during the treatment, so recovery is usually much shorter compared to a traditional CO2 laser treatment.
CO2 lasers can treat a wide range of skin concerns, but they can't solve every problem. One common use for this laser treatment is to reduce the appearance of sun or age spots. Age spots are areas of hyperpigmentation that often develop on the face and hands as a result of years of sun exposure.
The laser can also treat wrinkles and changes in skin texture that develop as a result of aging. Another common use for CO2 lasers is to reduce the appearance of scars, such as raised scars or acne scars. Since the laser treatment helps to encourage the production of collagen in the dermis, it can also help to improve skin that's starting to lose its firmness or elasticity.
One common issue that a CO2 laser might not be able to treat is facial redness. In fact, after treatment with the laser, it's very likely that a person will have some visible redness in the treated area. The redness should fade as the patient recovers from the treatment.
CO2 laser treatments aren't right for everyone. People who are good candidates typically have a skin concern that can be readily treated by the laser, whether those concerns are hyperpigmentation, wrinkles or lines, enlarged pores or scarring.
What a person expects to get from the treatment also affects whether they are a good candidate for the procedure or not. It's important to have realistic expectations about what the treatment can do and can't do. For example, laser treatments will help improve the appearance of your skin and can give you a dose of confidence, but they won't change who you are.
It's also a good idea to understand what to expect in terms of recovery after a CO2 laser treatment. Although the CO2 fractional laser is less invasive than the traditional CO2 laser, it can take as long as 14 days for your skin to fully heal after the procedure. It's common for skin to feel slightly sunburned for up to two days afterward.
While you might see some results from the treatment within a week or so, it can take a full six months before the final, full results are visible. How you care for your skin after the treatment can influence how dramatic your results are and how quickly they appear.
At Masri Clinic for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery, Dr. Haitham Masri and Dr. Fatina Masri each have more than two decades of experience performing plastic surgery and non-surgical procedures. Masri Clinic offers a variety of laser treatments, including CO2 fractional laser, to patients at practice locations in Birmingham and Dearborn, Michigan. To schedule a consultation with the Masri Clinic and learn more about your laser skin resurfacing options, call (866) 487-3223.