A new generation of carbon dioxide lasers can precisely remove thin layers of skin with minimal heat damage to the surrounding structures. The field of carbon dioxide laser resurfacing is rapidly changing and improving. CO2 laser skin resurfacing is a procedure involving the use of carbon dioxide (CO2) and a skin surface-removing laser (ablative laser) to remove scars, warts and deep wrinkles.
Carbon dioxide lasers have been in use for many years to treat different non-cancerous (benign) and cancerous (malignant) skin conditions. A new generation of carbon dioxide lasers uses very short-pulsed light energy (ultrapulsed) or continuous light beams that are delivered in a scanning pattern. Such lasers have been successfully used to treat wrinkles, photodamage and scars, as well as other benign skin growths such as warts, linear epidermal nevi (birthmarks), rhinophyma (enlarged oil glands on the nose), and other skin conditions.
How does CO2 laser skin resurfacing work?
Ablative lasers, such as a CO2 laser, work by traumatizing the skin. It removes the thin outer layer of skin (epidermis) and heats the underlying skin (dermis). This stimulates the growth of new collagen fibers. As the epidermis heals and regrows, the treated skin appears clearer, smoother and tighter.
Non-ablative lasers, such as pulsed light (IPL) devices, do not traumatize the skin, instead they stimulate collagen growth and improve skin tone and texture. This is less invasive and requires less recovery time, but is less effective.
We choose the laser type based on the condition being treated and the patient’s cosmetic goals.
CO2 laser skin resurfacing can be used to treat:
Fine and deep wrinkles
Uneven skin tone or texture
Mild to moderate acne scars
Superficial to deep hyperpigmentation