CO2 Laser Resurfacing
Glowing youthful skin is desirable among men and women alike. When creams and other treatments do not give you the results you desire, it may be time to consider other treatment options. Laser skin resurfacing is an effective option to address a wide variety of skin issues to help take years off of your appearance. Whether you are looking to soften fine lines and wrinkles or erase sun damage and age spots, this treatment is an excellent option to turn back the clock.
What is Laser Skin Resurfacing?
Laser skin resurfacing, also known as a laser peel, can reduce facial wrinkles, scars, and blemishes. Laser skin resurfacing is a cosmetic procedure performed to rejuvenate your face, improve the appearance of the skin, and treat minor skin issues. It is an excellent treatment alternative to chemical peels or dermabrasion. A CO2 laser is an ablative laser meaning that it removes the thin outer layer of the skin (epidermis) and heats the underlying skin (dermis) to stimulate the growth of collagen and fresh skin from underneath. As the epidermis heals, the treatment area will appear smoother, tighter, and more youthful.
CO2 lasers can treat:
- Age spots.
- Fine lines/wrinkles around or under your eyes, forehead or mouth.
- Uneven skin texture and tone.
- Aged or sun-damaged skin.
- Scars from acne or chickenpox.
- Non-responsive skin after a facelift.
- Enlarged oil glands on the nose.
Who is a Good Candidate for a CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing?
Men and women who are looking to rejuvenate the appearance of their skin can often benefit from CO2 laser resurfacing. The primary factor that affects candidacy for this treatment is your skin tone, as darker skin tones do not respond as well to laser resurfacing as lighter skin tones. This is because the efficiency of treatment relies on a contrast between the client’s natural skin color and skin concern. It can be difficult for the laser to distinguish between the client’s natural skin and the concern we are aiming to correct. Furthermore, darker skin tones are at greater risk of pigmentation problems after treatment.
In order to determine if you are a candidate for CO2 laser resurfacing, contact our Atlanta office today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Thomas Walker. He will examine your skin to determine if this treatment is right for you, and if not, will help to recommend other treatment options that may be helpful. You may not be a good candidate for laser skin resurfacing if you have, active acne, very dark skin, deep wrinkles, and excessive or sagging skin. Patients with darker skin tones have a greater risk of healing with darker pigmentation (hyperpigmentation). This may be minimized by the use of a bleaching agent after laser skin resurfacing as well.
How is CO2 Laser Resurfacing Done?
CO2 laser resurfacing can be performed with local anesthetic for spot treatment, conscious sedation (twilight anesthesia), or even general anesthesia if the entire face is being treated. During this procedure, a laser will be directed at the treatment area. It will eliminate the outer layer of skin, while also heating the underlying skin. This stimulates the production of collagen over time, resulting in improved skin tone and texture. Treatments usually take between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on the size of the targeted area.
What is the Active FX CO2 Laser?
The Active Fx CO2 has always been the premier treatment for reducing lines, wrinkles, and pigmentation. In one short session, this laser can improve fine lines under the eyes and around the lips while reducing pore size and pigmentation issues. After just one treatment, your skin will appear more youthful and bright. Effective skin rejuvenation involves reducing lines and wrinkles, eliminating dark pigmentation caused by sun damage, minimizing the appearance of pores, and smoothing acne scars. Depending on the extent of the damage and for those who have not taken preventative measures for anti-aging and sun protection, these may be difficult goals to achieve.
A variety of effective methods are available today that improve these facets of skin aging. For instance, the Fraxel laser improves mild acne scarring, reduces brown spots, and shrinks pores. The downtime is modest at three or four days, but it takes several sessions to get optimal results.
Chemical peels reduce the hyperpigmentation of both sun damage and melasma but cannot do as much to improve the contour of the skin. Pores, fine lines, and acne scars show only mild improvement.
The Active FX CO2 laser achieves all of the goals of skin resurfacing–both color and texture–usually in one treatment. The Active Fx is a newer, less invasive version of the traditional CO2 resurfacing laser. As a CO2 laser, the Active FX uses the same technology that is considered the gold standard for reducing lines, wrinkles, and pigmentation. The key difference is that the Active FX is a fractionated laser, like the Fraxel. Fractionation is a technique that makes dermal lasers less destructive while preserving their effectiveness, similar to aeration of the lawn in spring or fall where small holes get punched into the ground with normal and healthy surrounding structure. Instead of emitting a solid beam of energy that destroys a large area of skin tissue, the Active FX puts out tiny beams that leave the tissue around the “injury” intact. This promotes faster healing and results in an easier recovery period. The results, however, are still outstanding. By carefully choosing the surface area of skin left untreated, Dr. Walker can tailor treatments to the indication and your tolerance of downtime. The Active FX gives Dr. Walker and his staff the flexibility to leave 95% to 0% of tissue intact. Superior resurfacing treatments balance spot size and treatment depth.
As the spot size is reduced, depth can be increased without increasing downtime. Each pulse ablates a column of tissue, eliminating discolorations at the surface and causing volumetric skin reduction. As ablation occurs, deep heating stimulates immediate collagen contraction and long-term collagen remodeling.
In one 60-minute treatment session, the Active FX laser improves lines under the eyes and around the lips better than any other laser on the market today. Even multiple Fraxel laser treatments are unable to deliver the same results as the Active FX laser in those areas. During the treatment, Active FX will shrink pores, reduce pigmentation, and eliminate lines and wrinkles. After the treatment, most of our Active FX clients can expect three to five days of mild to moderate crusting, peeling, and swelling, and then one to two weeks of redness.
Dr. Walker and his team will provide all of the assistance our clients need to manage this healing process without a hitch. The reward is dramatic skin improvement! The CO2 resurfacing treatment also stimulates collagen growth, so improvements continue for several months after the procedure. The treatment can be repeated after 6 months, but most people are satisfied with the results from their first procedure.
Active FX CO2 Laser Resurfacing Recovery
Following your treatment, your skin will be red and swollen. Dr. Walker will apply a special ointment to the treated areas, and may also apply a dressing. Pain medication and cool compresses can help with discomfort and swelling. You will be able to notice the growth of new, fresh skin on the treated areas within 1-2 weeks. Clients should avoid using cosmetics and sunscreen during the recovery, and avoid situations that may cause skin infection, such as swimming. The treated area tends to itch for a few days. Exfoliation typically starts at around day three after treatment. On days 4-7, itching and peeling have usually subsided. Most clients may be able to apply mineral make-up to the treated area. Patients may transition to a non-occlusive moisturizer such as Eucerin or Cerave. After the first week, you may start your regular skincare program as long as the treated area has healed. You may return to your usual exercise routine. Clients need to avoid exposure to excessive sun for four weeks. Hat or clothing must be used to protect the treated area. Skin redness may occur for up to several months. However, once the skin begins to heal, you will enjoy that glowy skin for years to come.
Pros and Cons of Active FX
The major advantage of Active FX CO2 Laser is that it can treat more severe acne scarring, pores, and fine lines. The CO2 resurfacing treatment is more intense, so it takes fewer sessions to achieve great results, as compared to the Fraxel laser.
The disadvantage of this procedure is that there is downtime for about one week and redness that can last for two weeks. It cannot be used on darker skin tones or patients on certain medications, such as Accutane.
During your consultation, Dr. Walker will listen to your concerns and carefully evaluate your skin. He will put together the best strategy customized to your skin as well as to your schedule and preferences. You can trust your face to his experience and expertise.
Schedule a Consultation
Individuals who wish to achieve a glowing complexion in Atlanta can count on CO2 laser treatments to help make their skin goals a reality. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Walker, during which he will discuss your treatment options with you to determine the best option for your unique skin issues.