Frequently Asked Questions

How does the fractional CO2 laser work? What can I expect?

The fractional CO2 laser takes the CO2 laser beam and fractionates, or pixellates that beam into thousands of tiny little shafts of light. These tiny shafts of light penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin. The skin then repairs those tiny shafts by pushing out the old sun damaged skin and replacing it with new skin. Most people feel very little discomfort because topical anesthetic makes the procedure virtually painless. Afterwards, you may experience a mild heat sensation similar to a sun burn, as well as itchiness and dryness in the treated area. Rarely there is mild discomfort for the first day after surgery, but Tylenol is effective for it.

How long does the fractional CO2 laser take to work? When will I see results?

Depending on your customized treatment, results vary. Treatments can be deeper, with more healing and downtime, or shallower, with less healing time. The deeper the treatment, the better the results generally. But some patients prefer to have two or three treatments spaced so that they can avoid a lot of downtime. Full results may take 3-6 months as collagen builds and tissue regenerates. As your skin continues to heal, you will see fewer lines and a glow.

Can I do the fractional CO2 laser with other cosmetic treatments?

Not the same day. However, the CO2 laser is compatible long term with Botox as well as other laser based technologies like hair removal and IPL. We can design a personalized skin care protocol for your unique skin care issues, allowing you to discuss your personal wishes and expectations.

How long do the effects of a fractional CO2 resurfacing laser treatment last?

That depends on how well you protect your skin from the sun and other factors that cause aging like your general health, smoking, changes in weight, etc. If you apply sunscreen and wear hats, you can maintain your excellent results for many years.

What will I look like right after the treatment and what is the healing time?

During the first 24 hours after treatment, your skin may feel as though it is sunburned. Ice packs/frozen peas are used 5-10 minutes per hour for the first 5-6 hours after the treatment. Your skin will peel for 2-7 days and will be pink for 3 to 6 weeks. This healing all depends on how deep your treatment is. After a week or so, you can wear make-up to cover the pink. Allow 2-4 weeks for special events such as weddings and family photos to be on the safe side. Rarely there is mild discomfort for the first day after treatment, but Tylenol is effective for it. Sun sensitivity may be present for approximately 4-6 weeks post treatment so a good sun block is very important.

Can I go back to work and activities immediately?

No, you will need to take the rest of that day off to ice and care for the treated area. For the lighter fractional CO2 treatments, you will need 3-5 days of downtime. For the deeper treatments, plan on 7-10 days of healing before you can go out in public

How many treatments will I need?

The number depends on the extent of your sun damage, scarring or wrinkles, and on how much downtime you can accept. If you can tolerate 7 days of downtime, you would generally need only 1 or 2 fractional CO2 treatment.

Are there any reasons not to be treated with these lasers?

Reasons not to do a fractional laser treatment may include use of medications that increase photosensitivity, use of anticoagulants (some are fine), use of Accutane in the last year (vs. 6 months), chemotherapy, history of difficulty healing or scarring, history of bleeding disorders, and pregnancy.