Carbon Dioxide (CO₂) Fractional Laser
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Fractional Laser resurfacing is among the best overall antiaging treatment available to men and women today without having to undergo surgery. The CO2 laser helps to tremendously minimize the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, scars, age spots and skin discoloration. It also tightens the skin and gives the treated area a plumper, more youthful look.
What is the CO2 fractional laser?
It is a device that removes layers of skin using a fractionated laser that targets the skin in columns, leaving the surrounding areas untouched and healthy. The healthy skin surrounding the lasered cells aid in the repair of the targeted skin cells by flooding the area with collagen and other healing proteins that diminish in our skin as we age. Much of the reason our skin becomes wrinkly and thin as we get older is because of diminished collagen production. This flood of collagen essentially turns back the clock in our appearance.
How does the process work?
The CO2 laser facial is in-office and usually lasts about 1 to 2 hours depending on how many areas are being treated. The facial can treat the face, neck and chest. The client will be given a prescription medication prior to the treatment so they should not experience any pain during and in the hours after the procedure. The skin will be very red and crusty (possibly oozing) which will eventually give way to dryness, peeling and flaking. Within 1 to 2 weeks the skin will begin to heal.
What are the side effects and risks involved with CO2 laser resurfacing?
The major side effect is considerable down time following treatment. The skin will be very red and peeling for about 1 to 2 weeks. Once the skin begins to heal, make up can be applied to cover up the remaining redness. Sun exposure must be avoided for 3 to 6 months and sunscreen application is recommended for daily use up to a year after treatment. Daily use of sunscreen will prolong the beneficial effects of the treatment, so the longer you maintain daily sunscreen use, the longer your results will last.
Some people aren’t good candidates for the CO2 laser. In people of color, hyperpigmentation can occur and are not good candidates for this procedure. There is also the risk of scarring, infection, and hypo pigmentation.
Typically, after-care instructions are given on how to avoid any negative side effects and how to promote faster healing. These may include a strict skin care regimen and lifestyle choices, such as avoiding smoking.
How long will my results last after CO2 laser resurfacing?
Results can last anywhere from 2 to 10 years, depending on the lifestyle, dietary and skin care choices of the individual. For optimal, longest lasting results, the client should:
- Avoid direct sun exposure during peak hours of the day
- Use sunscreen every day, even without direct sun exposure
- Have a skin care regimen that includes a retinol product and a medical grade moisturizer
- Do follow up procedures such as cosmeceutical and medical grade facials
A healthy diet with minimal alcohol consumption and no smoking will help keep collagen break down at a minimum. Regular exercise is recommended to maintain healthy blood flow, which is good for all our organs, including the skin.
How much does the CO2 laser facial cost?
The costs associated with the treatment depending on how many areas are being treated. The average costs for just the face can range from $1,500 to $3000, depending on location. The average cost is around $2,100 in 2018. Costs go up if the procedure is done to the neck and the chest.
Why should I do the CO2 fractional laser treatment instead of another procedure?
With the cO2 laser, you will get the most bang for your buck. This is the best treatment for long term anti-aging benefits, if you factor in price and downtime. Fillers can achieve the same results, but you have to get annual touch ups, and most patients require several syringes of product, ranging in price from $750 to $4,000 or more. Face lifts and mini face lifts require use of anesthesia, have a 2 week down time with costs ranging from $3,000 – $15,000.