Fractional CO2 laser skin resurfacing is a treatment for pigmentation, wrinkles, scars and sagging skin using fractional technology to reduce downtime while impacting the skin sufficiently to produce noticeable results after 1 or 2 treatments(*). Each procedure involves treating only a fraction of the skin’s surface, leaving untouched skin to aid in the regeneration process. UltraPulse, the gold standard of CO2 lasers, is used to deliver a variety of low downtime treatments that can be customized for all patients as they want the low downtime and safety of non-ablative treatment with results that are closer to traditional resurfacing.
How does Fractional Co2 Laser work?
The CO2 laser generates heat in the deeper dermis and this heat is needed to stimulate new collagen production. A computer-controlled scanner produces precise zones of laser coagulation in the skin. The nature of the laser beam minimizes the damage to the surrounding tissue so that the patient heals sooner. At the same time, fractional technology leaves bridges of healthy tissue intact between the laser beams to accelerate tissue healing. The fractional CO2 laser device can be tuned to target the superficial layers of the skin with lower energy settings resulting in the improvement of pigmentation, fine lines, mild scarring and skin texture. Laser energy levels can be adjusted to target deep collagen re-modelling to impact deeper wrinkles and scars and to achieve skin tightening. Patient discomfort is kept to a minimum and topical anaesthesia is usually all that is needed.
How long is the downtime?
The procedure is highly tolerable with most patients describing the sensation during and after treatment as hot. The heat and soreness last for between 1 to 3 hours after the procedure during which the skin appears bright pink. The patient may appear sunburnt for about 2 days after which tiny brown crusts are seen in the treated areas. These crusts eventually detach and the skin is crust-free after about 5-7 days. Post-operative care is simple. The use of an emollient is encouraged and avoidance of sun exposure during the healing phase is essential.
What kind of results can I expect?
The immediate results(*) often seen after the skin heals include brighter and more radiant skin from an evener skin tone and improved skin texture. One can expect continued collagen re-modelling over the next few months producing improvement in deep wrinkles and scars. Skin tightening is another delightful later result of the treatment. Side effects or risks are minimal with this type of treatment and typically involve swelling and redness. There is a very limited risk of infection or scarring.
Is the Fractional CO2 Laser treatment painful?
Depending on the area of your body treated and the type of device used, the procedure is said to be well tolerated; feeling like a mild prickling or burning sensation, or like elastic bands flicking on the skin. However, your practitioner may apply a topical anaesthetic to your skin prior to treatment to reduce any pain and discomfort and offer you a chilled air device to hold over the treatment area yourself.
What happens after treatment?
- Women can camouflage skin redness with make-up straight away if desired.
- Apply a hypoallergenic moisturiser which can help mask any bronzing and skin flaking symptoms.
- Avoid creams with active ingredients such as AHAs or Retinoids which irritate the skin and could impede the healing process.
- Do not sleep on the treated area, to help avoid any swelling; e.g., sleep on your back rather than your side if your face has been treated.
- Cool compresses (not ice packs) or cooling gels such as aloe vera can be applied to the treated area if required.
- Avoid sun exposure during treatment and healing phases and/or wear sunscreens with an SPF of 30+ which contain zinc oxide
Blast Away Acne Scars & smooth out wrinkles
If you are suffering from deep acne scars or significant wrinkles, this laser treatment is for you.
The Fractional CO2 is a strong laser which generates heat and ablates /removes a fraction of the skin surface being treated each time ( therefore the term fractional ). It requires a downtime of between five to seven days. That being said, the discomfort and inconvenience can be overlooked as this laser treatment will deliver tighter, smoother skin, help build up the skin’s collagen and your entire skin will look and feel much better over a period of months. It also promises smaller pores and erasure of some of the finer wrinkles. Side effects of the Fractional CO2 include redness as well as some polka dots like dark spots which will clear within five to seven days. Rarely some individuals who undergo more intensive treatment protocols may have patches of pigmentation that usually resolves in a few weeks to months.
What to expect during Fractional CO2 Laser treatment:
The therapist first cleansed my face before applying an anaesthetic cream to numb my face and lower my discomfort during the laser treatment process. After applying a thick layer of cream, she wrapped a plastic foil around my face so that my skin will absorb the anaesthetic better. This was left on for around 30 minutes. Alternatively, this anaesthetic cream can be applied at home for an hour before coming to the clinic . The Fractional CO2 laser process can be quite frightening as it gave out a strong burning smell. It felt like short, mild electrical currents on my face and it hurts more near sensitive parts of my face, like the nose. Nevertheless, cold air that was applied simultaneously as the laser helps to lessen the discomfort. An ice pack was also applied to the whole face immediately after the laser to soothe my skin.
At the end of the treatment, my skin was still feeling quite numb. My face was red and also felt sore and burning. The therapist applied a thick layer of antiseptic cream and I was told to moisturise my face often and to stay in an air-conditioned room to be more comfortable. The next day, my face felt scaly like a reptile and when I looked closely, there were tiny brown dots all over my face where the laser had penetrated my skin.
How long before results are seen:
It took almost a week for all the little brown scabs to dry up and fall off my face. Upon examining my face, I noticed that my pores have diminished and the fine lines under my eyes have also disappeared. My complexion even had a rosy glow to it. While these are the immediate effects, the real effects and especially for scars, the improvement is seen only after 4 to 6 months; but scars can continue to improve beyond 6 months and even up to a year after treatment(*).
The number of treatments required:
Minimum of three, at intervals of at least a month
Suitable for: Anyone with acne marks and scars, big pores, as well as mature skin with wrinkles.