Fractional CO2 Laser: Your Ultimate Guide

fractional CO2 laser

Do have those stubborn-looking acne scars you want to get rid of and cant? Do not worry. A fractional CO2 laser can help you get rid of those stubborn marks.

Laser skin resurfacing is a type of skin care procedure that helps to improve the texture and appearance of your skin.

Depending on the individual needs, your dermatologist may recommend either ablative or non-ablative lasers.

Ablative lasers include the use of Carbon Dioxide or Co2 or Erbium.

If you want to get rid of scars, warts, and deep wrinkles, you can go ahead with CO2 laser resurfacing techniques.

On the other hand, you can have Erbium for fine lines, wrinkles, along with other skin concerns.

Noth types of these lasers help to remove the outside layers of skin.

On the other hand, non-ablative lasers do not remove the skin layers.

Rather they help to reduce rosacea, spider veins, and acne-related skin concerns.

Keep on reading to learn more about Fractional CO2 Laser in detail.

Candidates for Fractional CO2 Laser

If you have age-related concerns, sun or acne-related concerns, that are not going away with medications, you might want to consider this treatment.

You can get Fractional CO2 Laser skin resurfacing to treat one or more of the following skin concerns:

Age spots, scars, acne scars, fine lines, and wrinkles. Crow’s feet, sagging skin, uneven skin tone, enlarged oil glands, and warts.

Moreover, your natural skin tone can also help to determine whether this is the best cosmetic procedure for you or not.

If you have a lighter skin tone then you are a good candidate for this procedure as you have less or reduced risk of hyperpigmentation.

candidates for fractional CO2 laserHowever, according to the American Board of Cosmetic Surgeons, ABCS, there is a misconception about laser skin resurfacing for light skin only.

The key is working with a dermatologist or physician who knows which types of laser work best on different skin tones.

Moreover, it may not be suitable if you have active acne breakouts or excessive sagging skin.

ABCS also recommends that you should get this procedure during fall or winter.

This can help decrease the sin exposure which can damage the delicate skin after treatment.

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Who should Avoid this Treatment?

If you have extensive breakouts, open wounds, or any infections, you should avoid going ahead with fractional CO2 laser skin resurfacing.

Moreover, if you are taking oral isotretinoin, then you should also avoid this procedure as it poses a risk for your health and safety.

If you are suffering from any chronic medical conditions like diabetes, you should also take extra caution and make it to consult a doctor or dermatologist first.

It is crucial to schedule a consultation with a dermatologist in order for them to access whether you qualify for the procedure or not.

Procedure for Fractional CO2 Laser

Fractional CO2 laser targets the outer layer of your skin while simultaneously heating the lower layers in the dermis.

This will promote collagen production.

In ideal cases, new collagen fibers will help improve produce new skin that is smoother in texture and firmer to the touch.

The following are the steps of the procedure for Fractional CO2 laser:

Preparing for the Procedure

Before laser skin resurfacing, you need to prepare the skin.

This involves a series of procedures or treatments that your dermatologist will perform several weeks before the procedure.

procedureThe purpose of these treatments is to increase your skin’s tolerance to professional treatment.

It can also decrease your risk for side effects as well.


On the day of the procedure, your doctor will apply a topical anesthetic to the area of treatment.

This helps to reduce pain and make you more comfortable during the procedure.

If your doctor is treating a larger area, they may suggest a sedative or pain killers.

After it, they will cleanse your skin to remove excess oil, dirt, and bacteria.

Then they will begin the treatment, using the selected laser.

Your doctor will move the laser slowly around the designated area of the skin. Finally, they will dress the treatment area in wraps to help protect your skin at the end of the procedure.

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Aftercare and Recovery

Laser resurfacing procedures are not classified as surgeries.

You can leave after the procedure has been performed. However, your skin requires some downtime to properly heal. This reduces the risk of any side effects.

Side effects and duration

After the treatment, it takes about 3 t0 10 days for the skin to heal. It is understandable the if the treatment area and the laser are deeper, it will require more time for the skin to heal.

It is possible that at the stages of recovery your skin may be extremely red or scab over a little.

You can use ice packs to reduce swelling.

It is important that you avoid any area where there may be germs such as the gym as they could increase the risk of information.

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Cleansing And Protecting your Skin

It is important that after the procedure you adjust your skincare routine as well.

According to the ASPS, it is necessary that you clean your face two to five times a day and instead of using your usual cleanser, you should use saline water or vinegar-based solution.

It is important that you get a new dressing so that the skin stays clean. Daily moisturizers can help with the healing process.

using sunscreenAfter laser treatments, your skin may be sensitive for up to a year. You should wear a sunscreen with minimum SPF of 30 to reduce the risk of sunburn and sun damage.

To protect your skin apply sunscreen every morning. You should reapply it whenever the need arises.

Potential Risks and Side Effects

Like any other cosmetic surgery treatment and procedure, laser skin resurfacing also has potential risks and side effects.

These may include:

Burning, rashes, swelling, bumps, redness, scars, hyperpigmentation, and infection. If you follow the care instructed by the doctor you may reduce the risk of the possible side effects.

potential risksMoreover, depending on your medical history, your doctor may prescribe a precautionary antibiotic or antiviral medication.

It is important to note that if you are taking oral retinal or isotretinoin or Accutane, it may increase your risk for scars.

Thus, you should consult your dermatologist about medical conditions you might have as well as all the medications you are taking, including OTC.

Aspirin, for instance, can affect post-laser treatment recovery by increasing your bleeding risk.

According to the recommendations of ABCS, you should quit smoking at least 2 weeks prior to the procedure of Fractional CO2 laser as it can also increase your risks for side effects.

Results of Fractional CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing

Non-ablative laser treatments do not pose any threat or risk for side effects, however, you will need multiple treatments to achieve your desired results.

Ablative lasers, on the other hand, may correct your skin concerns in one treatment.

Moreover, individual results depend on the extent of the initial concerns you want treatment for.

resultsYou can expect the results to last for several years after getting the treatment sessions.

However, they are not permanent and you may need to repeat the procedure at some point.

Selecting a Dermatologist

As this procedure is a delicate one, it is important to work with an experienced and trained dermatologist.

Rather than settling for the first dermatologist you find, it is important to consider a few.

Before booking a fractional CO2 laser treatment, ask your dermatologist the following questions:

Their experience about the procedure, experience with different skin tones and specific skin concerns, portfolio with before and after pictures.

fractional CO2 laser 1Moreover, ask them about whether it would affect your health or not, anything you should understand before undergoing the procedure, recovery time, and the sessions you may need.

It is crucial to find a board-certified dermatologist and this certification maybe with the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery or the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery.

This ensures that you are working with a doctor who has extensive training and practice.

Final Thoughts

The fractional CO2 laser is an ablative and non-surgical treatment that helps to resolve a number of skin concerns, These include age spots, scars, acne scars, fine lines and wrinkles, crow’s feet, sagging skin, uneven skin tone, enlarged oil glands, and warts.

It is important to find a board-certified dermatologist that has extensive training and experience with different skin tones. This will help to achieve the desired goals you have in mind.

It is also important to note that your mind needs multiple sessions to see the desired results and there are a few risks associated with this procedure. These include burning, bumps, rash, swelling, infection, hyperpigmentation, scars, and redness. However, by following your doctor’s post-care instructions you can reduce the risk of these types of complications.


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