Skin Rejuvenation: The Fractional CO2 Laser

co2 laserIn our previous blog post, we introduced one of our advanced nonsurgical skin rejuvenation treatments, the Fractional CO2 laser. In today’s follow-up blog entry, we will explain how the Fractional CO2 laser works, and what patients should expect in terms of recovery.

If you are considering treatment with the Fractional CO2 laser, you’ve probably wondered what is meant by the term “fractional.” According to our plastic surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey Copeland, “fractional” means that the laser energy is applied to only a portion of the skin surface, which allows for quicker healing and less risk of pigment changes.

“The CO2 laser produces powerful light of a single wavelength that is absorbed by anything that contains water, so it affects any cell it contacts,” he says. “It creates intense heat and vaporizes tissue until the energy of the pulse is used up. When the skin is heated, it is stimulated to form new collagen.”

The laser energy applied can be very accurately controlled so the “dose” of energy is specific to the patient and their skin type, as well as the specific goal of treatment, explains Dr. Copeland.

Although the Fractional CO2 laser is among our nonsurgical rejuvenation procedures, patients should take into consideration that the treatment can require a fair amount of recovery time. “Typically, there is a period of three to four days of crusting, as the tissue the laser heated separates and falls away,” he says. “This is sometimes described as bronzing. The surface is usually moist as the material comes off. As that material separates, the underlying skin becomes normally dry. The skin is pink for a few weeks, but this can often be covered with makeup. There is also a little swelling which lasts for a few weeks, but this generally resolves without any extra measures.”

Overall, the Fractional CO2 laser can produce effective and safe, but fairly aggressive, improvement of the quality of the skin surface, notes Dr. Copeland. It can help patients rejuvenate their appearance and achieve a more vibrant and refreshed look.

If you would like more information regarding the Fractional CO2 laser, or to schedule your consultation, please contact us today.