Superficial skin concerns can get in the way of feeling confident about your skin. Concerns like fine lines, wrinkles, scarring, and uneven skin pigment are all superficial concerns that may not respond to basic over-the-counter skin products. To truly rejuvenate your appearance, you may need an advanced laser skin resurfacing treatment. At The Institute of Aesthetic Surgery in Orlando, FL, we know that Fractional CO2 Laser treatments are effective to renew the appearance of the skin.
CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing: How Long Does It Take To See Results?
The length of time it will take for you to see results will depend on how many treatments you need to address your aesthetic concerns. Most people will need one to three treatments to achieve optimal results. After each treatment, you will need two to four weeks of recovery time so your skin can adequately heal between treatments.
Of course, the number of treatments you need will depend on your specific concerns and the condition of your skin. Most mild to moderate concerns will need one or two treatments, while deeper concerns, such as acne scars, may need three or more treatments. Your skin expert will give you an estimate of how many treatments you will need. On average, most people will require at least two weeks to see results, or longer if they require multiple treatment sessions.
Common Aesthetic Concerns
Several common aesthetic concerns can be treated with laser skin resurfacing. CO2 lasers use fractional pulsed light energy that scatters evenly across the skin to penetrate deeper sub-dermal layers. The design of CO2 lasers ensures that every microscopic portion of the skin is treated without overwhelming the skin with heat, making it a treatment that can be used by most people to rejuvenate the skin. Some common aesthetic concerns include:
The most common signs of aging are fine lines and wrinkles, which form as a direct result of skin laxity associated with lower collagen production as people get older. Fine lines and wrinkles form primarily around the nose and mouth, as well as on the upper face. CO2 laser treatments use heat to stimulate the production of collagen in the sub-dermal layers of the skin, which then increases skin volume and helps restore the youthful texture of the skin.
The scarring left by acne or injury can be difficult to resolve because of the deep collagen deficit that causes scars to form. However, CO2 treatments drastically increase the amount of collagen in a localized area, which then fills in the scarred patch of skin. Many people who receive laser skin resurfacing treatments for acne scarring and other types of scars can achieve long-lasting or even permanent results.
Pigmented lesions are also known as blemishes, freckles, melasma, or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Essentially, pigmented lesions are any patch of skin that has a tone that does not match the surrounding skin. Some pigmented lesions, such as melasma, are caused by hormones, while others, like post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, are caused by injuries to the skin.
Pigmented lesions can be removed with laser treatments because the energy in the treatment will encourage more rapid cellular turnover. In many ways, laser treatments can be considered advanced exfoliation techniques since they remove the upper layers of the skin to unveil smoother, unblemished skin underneath.
Sun damage refers to concerns like broken capillaries, redness, deep wrinkles, uneven pigment, and other concerns that are caused by photodamage. Most photodamage happens during youth as a result of too much sun exposure or sunburns; in later life, sun damage turns up and drastically changes the appearance of the skin. Similar to pigmented lesions, sun damage can also be reversed by CO2 laser treatments.
Finally, CO2 lasers can also address precancerous growths. These are pigmented lesions that have been identified by a dermatologist as being potentially cancerous. Cancerous lesions can include moles or suspicious patches of skin that have an irregular appearance. Many precancerous lesions are asymmetrical, have irregular color, or have changed in appearance recently.
What Can You Expect From Treatment?
Treatments with a CO2 laser are simple, but they will take about one or more hours to complete, based on your skin condition and the number of areas you are treating. During your treatment, a topical numbing cream may be applied before the laser system is used on your skin. The handheld device will be moved over your skin so that every inch of your skin will be exposed to pulsed energy.
The first step of your treatment will be a consultation appointment where one of our skin experts will examine your skin. Your skin analysis will determine whether or not your concerns are qualified for this treatment. Most people make good candidates, particularly if they have advanced aesthetic concerns.
How Should You Prepare?
For any energy-based treatment, you will need to take a few steps to prepare for your treatment. For example, one important rule to follow is to avoid all activities that can trigger melanin production in your skin for up to two weeks before your appointment; these activities will include outdoor sports, sunbathing, tanning beds, and self-tanning products. By avoiding activities that trigger melanin production, you will be able to avoid hyperpigmentation on any treated areas.
What Is Recovery Like?
Your skin will be very vulnerable and sensitive after your treatment, so it’s important to follow all aftercare instructions so your results will develop as desired. Your biggest aftercare instruction will be to avoid direct sunlight, tanning beds, saunas, and hot water, including hot showers, as well as any chemical exfoliants on the skin for up to one to two weeks. If you go outside, please be sure to wear SPF 30 or higher to protect your skin.
How Long Will Results Last?
The results of this treatment can last for six months or more, depending on what aesthetic concerns are being treated. Some concerns, like sun damage or pigmented lesions, can be treated for a year or more if you take care to avoid further skin damage. Other concerns, like fine lines and wrinkles, will last only for as long as your collagen production remains high.
One thing you can do to help your results last as long as possible is to wear SPF when you need to be outside. UV rays from the sun are thought to cause 80 to 90% of all visible skin aging, so you may be able to delay some aesthetic concerns with good skincare habits. The right skincare products can also support your results, such as anti-aging products, vitamin serums, and good moisturizers.
Who Are Good Candidates?
Most people are good candidates for this treatment, although people who have sensitive skin or very dark complexions may need to look at alternate treatments. Although this treatment can be customized to your skin needs, there are some skin types where other treatments may be more effective. But in general, a consultation that reviews your skin condition and medical history will be enough to determine that you are a good candidate.
The best candidates for this treatment include women and men who are over the age of 21 and who have one or more superficial skin concerns. Most people who use CO2 lasers are between ages 30 and 40. Women who are pregnant may not be candidates for this treatment. People who have certain skin conditions or health concerns also might not be qualified for treatment.
Where Can This Treatment Be Used?
CO2 laser treatments are very versatile and can be used on most areas of the face. The most common areas for treatment are the cheeks, forehead, and neck area, although many people use this treatment to also address wrinkles around the eyes and mouth. Most fractional laser treatments are designed for exclusive use on the face and sometimes the neck. Please be sure to discuss all of your aesthetic concerns, including for the body, during your consultation so we can build your treatment plan.
Improve the Appearance of Your Skin
Laser skin resurfacing treatments with a Fractional CO2 laser is an effective option for most people who have superficial skin concerns, including scarring, pigmented lesions, or visible signs of aging. Instead of hoping that over-the-counter skin products will improve the appearance of your skin, you can rest assured that an energy-based treatment will be able to resurface and restore your skin. Contact us at The Institute of Aesthetic Surgery in Orlando, FL to schedule your consultation today.