The CO2 fractional laser is one of the most widely used lasers in the dermatology field. As skin contains a very high water percentage, this makes the CO2 fractional laser ideal for precise, safe ablation with good hemostasis. In addition to its efficacy in ablating benign raised lesions, the CO2 fractional laser has been reported to be effective in the field of aesthetic dermatology in the revision of acne scars as well as in photo-rejuvenation.
Fractional CO2 lasers excel at treating deeper wrinkles, more severe textural changes from sun damage, wrinkles, blotchiness, acne scars, and surgical or traumatic scars. It can be used on the delicate eyelid skin and around the mouth. It is also a very effective treatment for sun damage and precancerous growths (actinic keratoses – note that insurance will not cover this).
How does the fractional CO2 laser work?
The CO2 fractional laser takes the CO2 laser beam or pixelates that beam into thousands of tiny little shafts of light. These tiny shafts of light penetrate into the deeper layers of your skin. The skin then repairs those tiny shafts by pushing out the old sun damaged skin and replacing it with new skin. The “collateral” heat damage also helps to shrink existing collagen.
If you apply sunscreen and wear brimmed hats, you can maintain the good effects of your CO2 fractional laser treatment for several years. It means that the effects depend on how well you protect your skin from the sun and other factors that cause aging like your general health, smoking, changes in weight, etc. You will see some immediate results but you won’t see the full results before 4-6 months depends on your skin type.
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