How it works
CO2 lasers are considered the gold standard for skin resurfacing. These lasers can be employed for smoothing out (resurfacing) scars and wrinkles or as bloodless cutting tool for the excision of moles and other cosmetic procedures. The target of this laser is intracellular and extracellular water which composes 80% of the skin. One of its benefits over other surfacing lasers is its unique ability to stop bleeding and allow for collagen contraction through the generated heat. These effects in turn decrease postoperative ecchymosis, and edema, allowing for a quicker healing process.
This laser can be used for:
- full or partial face wrinkle resurfacing
- upper and lower blepharoplasty
- surgical removal of keloids
- actinic chelitis (precancer of the lip, often appearing as a whitish film over the lower lip)
- epidermal nevi
- rhinophyma (enlarged and bulbous nose, often miss-associated with alcohol abuse)
- resistant warts on hands and feet
- acne scarring
What to expect after the laser resurfacing of the face for acne or wrinkles
After the resurfacing procedure the face often appears slightly red as if after a light sunburn. The patient has to avoid the sun for 10 days and apply a thick layer of a Vaseline ointment for that period. Afterwards this patient needs to be protected for about another 2 months. Depending on the skin color of the individual, the redness may last from 3 to 6 months. In 30% of patients darkening of some of the treated areas may occur and usually presents itself within first 3 weeks. Usually this is seen in dark haired and dark eyed individuals, especially if they do not follow the strict sun protection instructions. If caught early it often can be resolved. While Dr. Levit has had no cases of permanent hyperpigmentation, the literature reports about 1% of the cases may become permanent.
The improvement in acne scarring is about 40%. The improvement in facial wrinkling is about 60% and depends on the number of passes.
- The presence of keloids/hypertrophic scars
- Previous x-ray treatment or scleroderma
- The use of Accutane (isotretinoin)
- History of vitiligo or psoriasis as they may develop in that area due to the trauma (Koebner’s phenomena)