In laser resurfacing, sometimes called “laser peel,” a carbon dioxide (CO2) laser or Erbium Laser is used to remove areas of damaged or wrinkled skin, layer by layer. The procedure is most commonly used to minimize the appearance of wrinkles and lines, especially around the mouth and the eyes. However, it is also effective in treating facial scars or areas of uneven pigmentation and precancerous lesions. Laser resurfacing may be performed on the whole face or in specific regions. Often, the procedure is done in conjunction with another cosmetic operation, such as a facelift or eyelid surgery.
Laser resurfacing has been shown that in some cases, this surgical method produces less bleeding, bruising and post-operative discomfort than is typically seen with other resurfacing methods.
Over time, our skin’s youthful texture and appearance can diminish because of the gradual loss of moisture and collagen, acne, sun exposure, and other factors. Wrinkles, scars, and uneven pigmentation can make a person feel self-conscious and unhappy with their skin’s health and beauty. That’s where laser skin resurfacing comes in. Laser skin resurfacing uses laser energy to improve the appearance of the skin or treat minor flaws by removing layers of the skin in a controlled manner so that fresh, new skin will replace it.
A CO2 laser can significantly improve:
Sun Damaged Skin
*Each patient is unique and individual results may vary.
Good Candidates for Laser Skin Resurfacing
Patients who are in good health, interested in a more radiant complexion, and have realistic expectations for the procedure can benefit from laser skin resurfacing. Dr. DeJoseph may not recommend this procedure if a patient has active acne, an autoimmune disease, weak immune system, very dark skin, or a tendency to form scars, as complications can occur. He also discourages this procedure for patients who have been on Accutane. Individual candidacy is always assessed during an initial consultation, with Dr. DeJoseph tailoring a treatment plan to meet the patient’s individual needs.
Ablative vs. Non-Ablative Lasers
Ablative lasers such as C02 lasers are an excellent choice for patients with mild to moderate facial scars, wrinkles, and pigmentation issues. When an ablative laser is used, satisfactory results can be achieved in just one treatment.
Non-ablative or “no downtime” lasers do not produce results as dramatic as ablative lasers do, but they offer less downtime. Patients who are searching for a more dramatic change in their skin tone and texture should opt for laser skin resurfacing with an ablative laser.
The Science Behind CO2 Lasers
CO2 lasers are specifically engineered to vaporize the outermost layer of the skin. When a C02 laser is being used, bursts of laser energy are controlled by a computer in a circle, square, rectangle, or another pre-defined pattern that’s ideal for the patient’s skin. Due to the fact the CO2 laser creates a burn that is controlled without using thermal heat, it is less invasive and damaging than other procedures.
What to Expect from a Laser Skin Resurfacing Consultation
If you believe laser skin resurfacing is right for you, then the next step is to schedule a private consultation with Dr. DeJoseph. He will begin by reviewing your medical history and asking you questions about current and previous medical conditions and medications. In addition, he’ll evaluate the area of the skin that you’d like treated and learn more about your goals. You’ll be able to ask him any questions you may have and address all of your concerns so you can make an informed decision about your treatment plan.
Preparing for Laser Skin Resurfacing
After patients schedule their laser skin resurfacing procedure, they may be advised to take certain medications so they can prevent complications. In addition, they’ll be encouraged to avoid spending too much time in the sun as doing so may lead to permanent irregular pigmentation in the area of treatment. Pre-treatment skin preparations usually start a few weeks before the laser resurfacing appointment and will be discussed during the consultation.
The CO2 Laser Resurfacing Procedure
To perform a CO2 laser resurfacing procedure, Dr. DeJoseph will use a local anesthetic and a special device that delivers the high energy laser treatment to the surface of the skin. It’s important to understand that this device will only treat the top layer of the dermis and won’t damage anything underneath it.
During the CO2 laser resurfacing procedure, the lower layers of the skin will become heated in order to stimulate the skin to produce new collagen. Old skin will flake and peel off in the days following the procedure. When this happens, new skin will form and look far younger.
As soon as Dr. DeJoseph has completed the procedure, he will apply a moist dressing to the treatment area in order to expedite the healing process.
Recovering from Laser Skin Resurfacing
After a laser skin resurfacing treatment, the skin will look bright red and feel like it is sunburned. Patients may use ice to cool their skin and clean tissue to wipe off any small spots of blood.
There will be very specific instructions that patients will need to adhere to. Dr. DeJoseph will advise patients to wash the lasered areas of their face every few hours in order to prompt healing. Once one to two weeks have passed, patients will notice gorgeous new skin emerging and find the healing process far easier.
Patients may use moisturizer and mineral makeup after 10-14 days and will likely notice a pink or red tint to the skin that may last anywhere from three weeks to three months. Patients who choose laser skin resurfacing to treat fine lines and wrinkles can expect the reduction to be apparent in about three months.
Dear Dr. De J.,
Thanks for the artistic fillers you added into my face a few weeks ago! Today is my birthday, and it's settled in nicely and looks great!! Especially the new volume around my temples ~ your artistic eye is right: that area needed the extra framing.
The lip filler looks natural too. My husband knows how to pick perfect birthday present!! (; > )
The 6-hour drive from Pensacola, FL is worth every mile for your time and talent! Please thank your staff and family for the Saturday office hours a few weeks ago ~ their Saturday sacrifice made your fans, like me, happy!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday, and I’ll see you again when my ‘runner’s face’ needs a tune up!
Frequently Asked Questions about Laser Skin Resurfacing
How long have lasers been used to improve skin?
Believe it or not, lasers have been used for decades. In the 1990s, the CO2 laser was altered so that it could be used to treat various skin conditions including acne, wrinkles, and sagging skin.
Is laser skin resurfacing painful?
Fortunately, recovering from laser skin resurfacing is not very painful and typically feels like a minor sunburn after the treatment, which can be controlled with ice and medication. Patients are given medication to help them relax and avoid discomfort during the procedure.
How does laser skin resurfacing compare to chemical peels and dermabrasion?
In recent years, more and more patients have chosen laser skin resurfacing treatments instead of deep chemical peels and dermabrasion. Compared to deep peels and dermabrasion, C02 laser treatments are safer, less uncomfortable, and offer more significant results.
Is laser skin resurfacing safe?
Laser skin resurfacing treatments have been conducted for decades all around the world and will continue to be an excellent option for anyone seeking significant skin rejuvenation. If we believe a C02 laser is not safe for you for any reason, we will let you know and suggest an alternative.
What areas can be treated with a CO2 laser?
Patients can select certain parts of their face or their entire face to be treated with a C02 laser. In addition, they can choose to treat their hands.
Can the neck be treated with a C02 laser?
Since neck skin is usually thin, a C02 laser is not the ideal treatment for improving the appearance of the neck. Other treatments can be recommended as an alternative.
Is laser skin resurfacing an option for patients with darker skin?
Laser skin resurfacing delivers the best results for patients with lighter skin tones, as people with darker skin are at risk for unfavorable complications like changes in skin color. Alternative treatments can be recommended to those who have darker skin and would like to improve their complexion.
Are “no downtime” lasers a good option?
Non-ablative lasers, also known as “no downtime” lasers, focus on stimulating collagen tightening without breaking the skin’s surface. Unfortunately, these treatments are not as effective and must be completed in a series of visits. They can be a good option for some patients, but others can benefit more from CO2 laser treatments.
Are there any potential complications of laser skin resurfacing?
Just like all cosmetic procedures, there are several potential complications of laser skin resurfacing. Swelling, itching, scarring, infection, pigmentation problems, and a burning sensation are all examples of some of these complications. Dr. DeJoseph is a triple board certified facial plastic surgeon, whose skill and experience helps him to minimize these risks for patients.
How long does CO2 laser skin resurfacing take?
CO2 laser skin resurfacing is a quick procedure that is typically completed in as little as 30 minutes.
When is the ideal time to undergo laser skin resurfacing?
The ideal time for patients to undergo laser skin resurfacing is when they begin to notice unwanted changes to their skin. However, we believe it’s never too late to consider this procedure as many of our senior patients have reaped the benefits of CO2 lasers.
Is there a particular season that’s best for CO2 laser skin resurfacing?
At Premier Image Cosmetic and Laser Surgery, we perform this procedure year-round and always promote the use of sunscreen before and after it regardless of the season.
Will the results look natural?
Our Atlanta area facility believes that a natural look is ideal. Our goal with C02 lasers is to reveal the beauty that exists in our patients, rather than creating it. After undergoing laser skin resurfacing with us, patients will enjoy natural-looking results. They can expect to look relaxed and rejuvenated rather than fake.
How long will results last?
Although the results of CO2 laser resurfacing are usually long-lasting, they will not stop the natural process of aging. Drastic changes in weight and other significant lifestyle changes may impact the longevity of results.
How can results be prolonged?
Patients who would like to ensure their results last as long as possible should adhere to a consistent skincare routine, apply sunscreen on a daily basis, refrain from smoking, and maintain a healthy weight.
Why Premier Image Cosmetic and Laser Surgery
Dr. Louis DeJoseph is renowned for his experience and results with laser resurfacing, and is board certified in laser surgery as well as facial plastic and reconstructive surgery. He has performed countless C02 laser procedures and made it possible for men and women to drastically improve the look and feel of their skin.
Our highly trained skin care specialists and cutting-edge technologies can help you achieve the smooth, supple skin you’ve always dreamed of.
Schedule a C02 Laser Resurfacing Consultation
If you’re ready to treat yourself to young, beautiful skin, we encourage you to schedule a private consultation at our Atlanta, GA facility with Dr. DeJoseph. We look forward to meeting you so that we can share further information on CO2 laser resurfacing and answer any questions you may have. Call us today at 770-457-6303 or toll-free at 888-455-FACE.