FAQ About Fractional CO2 Laser
1.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 brimmed hats, you can maintain the good effects of your CO2 laser treatment for several years.
2.How long does the fractional CO2 laser take to work? When will I see results?
Bear in mind that the fractional CO2 laser can be customized. 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 treatments that aren't as deep so they can avoid a lot of downtime.
You will see some immediate results but you won't see the full results for 3-6 months. After your skin heals, which may take up to 3-14 days, there will be a period of 4 to 6 weeks after that when your skin might be slightly pink. During this period, your skin will feel smoother and looks less blotchy. As the color returns to normal, you will see fewer lines, less blotchiness, and more glow.
3.How are fractional CO2 laser treatments performed?
You need to arrive 1 hours before your treatment. You or a technician will cleanse the treatment area and then apply a numbing cream to the area to be treated. Then you just relax, read, and listen to music, while the numbing cream takes effect.
After you numb for about 30 minutes, the numbing gel will be removed. The treatment takes about an hour for a full face and feels a little like a "pins and needles" sensation. The discomfort ranges from mild to moderate (2-4/10). Plan on being in the office for 1 ½ to 2 hours total.
4.How does this laser work for acne scars and other scars?
CO2 lasers have always been very effective for acne and other scars and the fractional CO2 is no exception. It remains to be seen if it is as effective as the traditional CO2. However, as the settings for the "DOT" or "Deep Fx" for both acne, surgical and traumatic scars keep being improved, many of us think that results will be as good without many of the risks with the older forms of this laser.
5.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.
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 few days, you can wear make-up to cover the pink. Rarely, bruising may develop, which can take up to two weeks to resolve. Allow 2-4 weeks for weddings, reunions, family pictures, etc. just to be safe. Allow longer for body sites like arms or legs.
6.Can I go back to work and activities immediately?
No, you will need to take the rest of that day off to 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.
7.Are treatments on the eyelids safe?
Yes, because special laser "contact lenses" are used to protect the eye. Don't let anyone do treatments directly on the eyelids without these. Numbing eye drops are placed in the eye before insertion of a contact lens-like eye shield. A protective ointment on the side next the eye cushions the special shield. The shield fits comfortably within the eye and is easily removed at the end of the treatment. Even our patients who don't wear contact lenses have been comfortable.
The eye treatment is then performed on the upper & lower eyelids. It is normal (as with all areas treated with the fractional CO2 laser) to have swelling and redness for 2-4 days after the treatment. You also have to avoid all sun exposure during the healing time. Plan on 2-3 weeks for being "camera ready."
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