A CO2 fractional ablative laser is a type of laser used in skin resurfacing that gives the most dramatic results. It uses a beam of carbon dioxide (CO2) laser light to target and vaporize small dots of skin, leaving the surrounding tissue intact. This creates a “fractionated” effect, where only a portion of the skin is treated at a time, resulting in less downtime and speeding up the healing process.
The laser’s energy stimulates collagen production in the skin, not only tightening the skin but also helping to improve texture, tone, and overall skin health. CO2 fractional lasers can be used to treat a variety of skin conditions, including scars and acne scars, wrinkles, and sunspots.
We can titrate the laser treatment up or down depending on skin damage, desired results, and the amount of downtime desired.
Before a CO2 fractional laser treatment, it’s important to follow certain pre-treatment care instructions to ensure the best possible results and minimize the risk of complications.
- Avoid sun exposure and tanning for at least two weeks prior to treatment.
- Discontinue the use of any products that may increase skin sensitivity, such as retinoids or alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), for at least one week before treatment.
- Inform your doctor about any medications you are taking, as some may increase the risk of complications or affect the healing process.
- If you are prone to cold sores, prophylactic treatment may be recommended by your provider to prevent an outbreak.
It’s also important to have realistic expectations and understand that the treatment may require multiple sessions to achieve desired results. Follow up with your provider for post-treatment care.
After a CO2 fractional laser treatment, it’s important to take proper care of your skin to ensure optimal healing and the best possible results.
- Keep the treated area clean and moisturized.
- Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly or Aquaphor to the treated area to keep it moisturized and to prevent scabbing.
- Apply cold compresses to the treated area for 10-15 minutes at a time, as needed, to reduce swelling and discomfort.
- Avoid sun exposure and use broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher to protect the treated area from UV rays.
- Avoid picking or scratching the treated area, as this can lead to scarring or discoloration.
- Avoid hot baths, saunas, and steam rooms for at least a week after treatment.
- Avoid strenuous exercise and activities that cause sweating for at least a week after treatment.
- Avoid using any exfoliating products, such as scrubs or acids, on the treated area for at least a week after treatment.
It’s also important to follow up with your provider for any follow-up appointments and to address any questions or concerns you may have.
HOW MANY TREATMENTS WILL I NEED?
The number of CO2 fractional laser treatments needed will vary depending on the individual and the condition being treated. Factors that can affect the number of treatments needed include the severity of the skin imperfections, the individual’s skin type, and the desired outcome.
Typically, patients will see some improvement after the first treatment, but multiple treatments may be needed to achieve optimal results.
It is important to note that the number of treatments needed can vary depending on the laser settings. More aggressive settings (more downtime) typically require 1-2 sessions, whereas less aggressive settings (less downtime) require 3-4 treatments. It is important to consult with a qualified professional who will recommend the best treatment plan for the individual’s skin condition.
It is also important to keep in mind that laser skin resurfacing is not a one-time treatment and that maintenance treatments may be necessary to maintain the results over time. Sessions are typically spaced 4-6 weeks apart.
WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS OF THE TREATMENT?
CO2 fractional laser treatment can cause some side effects, which may include:
- Redness and swelling: The treated area may be red and swollen for several days after the procedure.
- Pain: Some patients may experience pain or discomfort during or after the procedure.
- Crusting: The treated area will develop a flaky texture, which can last for several days.
- Pigment changes: Although rare, the skin may become darker or lighter in the treated area, which may be temporary or permanent.
- Scarring: Although rare, scarring can occur as a result of the procedure.
- Infection: Although rare, an infection can occur.
It is important to note that these side effects are usually temporary and should resolve within a few days or weeks after the procedure. It’s also important to follow the post-treatment care instructions given by the practitioner to minimize the side effects.
Additionally, to minimize the risk of side effects, it is important to have the procedure performed by a qualified professional with experience in CO2 fractional laser treatment. It’s also important to have realistic expectations and to understand that the results may vary depending on the individual’s skin condition and desired outcome.
HOW LONG WILL THE RESULTS LAST?
The results of CO2 fractional laser treatment can be long-lasting, but they may not be permanent. The length of time the results will last will depend on a variety of factors, such as the individual’s skin condition, the severity of the skin imperfections being treated, and the number of treatments received.
Typically, patients will see improvement after the first treatment, and the results will continue to improve with each subsequent treatment. The results of CO2 fractional laser treatment can last for several years, but the skin will continue to age, and new wrinkles or age spots may appear.
To maintain the results, it is important to protect the skin from sun exposure and to maintain a healthy skincare routine. Some patients may opt for maintenance treatments or touch-up treatments to maintain the results over time.
It is also important to note that even with the best treatment, the effects of aging, sun exposure, and other environmental factors will continue to take a toll on the skin. Therefore, the results will not be permanent. Consult with a professional for a better understanding of the results and their longevity for your specific case.
WHAT DOES A TREATMENT COST?
The pricing for CO2 fractional laser treatments varies depending on the location and the provider. Factors that can affect the cost include the size of the treatment area, the number of sessions required, and the specific type of laser used. It’s best to consult with a provider for a specific quote for the treatment you are interested in. Typically, the cost ranges from $800 to $3000.
HOW CAN I SAVE ON TREATMENTS?
Naya offers up to 20% off per treatment for our members, along with generous discounts on all other services. Check out our membership options here!
We also offer package pricing between 10% – 30%.
WHAT ARE THE CONTRAINDICATIONS?
CO2 fractional laser treatment has some contraindications or conditions that make the treatment not appropriate or may lead to complications. Some of the contraindications include:
- Active infection or open wounds in the treatment area
- Active cold sores or herpes simplex in the treatment area
- Recent sunburn or excessive sun exposure in the treatment area
- History of keloid or hypertrophic scarring
- Skin disorders such as eczema or psoriasis in the treatment area
- Pregnancy or breastfeeding
- Accutane use within the past year
- History of skin cancer in the treatment area
- Immune disorders that can affect healing
- Pacemaker or defibrillator device
It is important to inform your practitioner of any medical conditions or medications you are taking before the treatment, as some of them can make the procedure risky.
It’s also important to note that a thorough consultation with a qualified professional will be necessary to determine if the procedure is appropriate for an individual’s skin condition and desired outcome and to identify if any contraindications would make the procedure unsafe.
Please discuss any additional concerns that you have about undergoing this procedure with your Provider at Naya Aesthetics and your primary care physician prior to treatment.