Fractional CO2 laser resurfacing is a proven treatment for facial rejuvenation and scar reduction. This treatment causes collagen production and regeneration of underlying healthy skin following the peel, which leads to beautiful and youthful skin. At the Michigan Center for Cosmetic Services in Ann Arbor, MI, we’re committed to providing the results you want without long or complicated recovery periods.
What Is Fractional CO2 Laser Resurfacing?
This treatment helps to rejuvenate your skin from the inside out. The CO2 laser is handheld, and the fractional technology ablates targeted columns of skin in a way that leaves surrounding tissues intact. This is intentional, as it assists with the healing process and results in fewer side effects.
Meanwhile, the ablated columns of skin created by controlled laser injury trigger the generation of new, healthy skin cells, while the old damaged skin peels off. To further ensure the skin recovers as necessary, the body begins to immediately produce more collagen. This accelerates nature’s healing process, and when it’s all said and done, you’ll look younger and more refreshed.
Specific concerns we can treat with this technique include:
- Age spots and sun damage
- Fine lines
- Skin laxity
- Uneven skin tone
- Acne Scars
- Textural irregularities, including rough patches
- Dull skin
- Enlarged pores
What Makes Fractional CO2 Laser Resurfacing Different
You might be thinking all lasers are created equal, but we can assure you, they’re not. Our fractional CO2 laser is ablative and removes the top layer of skin. These lasers yield superior results to non-ablative lasers. “Fractional” means that the CO2 laser beam is spread into many different columns, and these little columns ablate (or remove) the top layer of skin. By leaving healthy skin in between these columns, the patient experiences an easier and faster recovery, with less risk of complications in comparison to non-fractional lasers.
How Does Fractional CO2 Laser Resurfacing Work?
Although laser skin resurfacing has been around for decades, today’s treatments are far different thanks to improved patient comfort. Fractional CO2 lasers work by emitting energy in thousands of tiny beams to treat a small, concentrated area of skin. That energy is then converted to heat that injures specific cells. The heat also causes individual collagen fibers to shrink. As collagen shrinks, a chain of internal events starts to take place, including skin tightening.
Wound-healing processes initiate in which unusually high concentrations of proteins and fibroblasts (cells) eliminate the broken collagenous matrix. Adjacent skin cells help to rapidly reconstitute the epidermis, and cells that migrate to the treated area assist in rebuilding this new tissue layer. A lengthy period of collagen production follows, resulting in rejuvenated skin.
An Overview of Treatment
CO2 laser resurfacing is only performed by double board-certified cosmetic surgeon Dr. Jessica West at the Michigan Center for Cosmetic Services. No sedation is required, and patients can drive themselves home after the treatment. We’ll start your session by applying a topical numbing cream to the treatment area to ensure your comfort, which takes approximately one hour. The actual procedure takes 30-60 minutes depending on the treatment area. A Zimmer chiller is also used to make your treatment more comfortable. Patients describe their discomfort as “minimal to no discomfort”.
After treatment, you’ll need to carefully and diligently care for your skin. You can expect 2-3 days of a red “sunburn” appearance, and then an additional 2-3 days of peeling. Overall expect the process to take 6-7 days. Your provider will go over your recovery regimen in detail, as this is an important part of the healing process.
To streamline your recovery process, Dr. West has put together a recovery kit with her favorite products from the Neova Smart Skincare recovery line. This is available for purchase at our office for your convenience and includes all necessary products needed to facilitate your recovery and maximize your results.
What to Expect
As your tissues heal and collagen production ramps up, your skin will continue showing improvements for up to six months. It’s important to know, however, that skin will appear visibly tighter and smoother after just one week. By using quality medical-grade skin care and avoiding sun exposure, you can help extend your results for a significant amount of time.
Who Is This Right for?
Anyone with aging, sun-damaged, or irregular skin can benefit from this treatment. You will need to commit to a short recovery period of up to one week, depending on your skin’s health, and understand that during this time, your skin is in a phase of healing. The results, however, will be transformative, as your skin looks plumper, smoother, and more vibrant.
Fractional CO2 laser resurfacing may not be right for patients with darker skin tones. Morpheus8 radiofrequency microneedling is an excellent alternative to laser resurfacing for those with darker skin tones. CO2 laser resurfacing is also not ideal for women who are pregnant or patients who have been treated with Accutane in the last six months. Likewise, if you have a medical condition that delays or prevents normal healing, we may recommend an alternative treatment.