Fractional Carbon Dioxide Laser

Lines, wrinkles & rejuvenation

Wrinkles occur because all layers of the skin become progressively thinner with increasing age, due to a number of factors. Some of the thinning is due to changes in the dermis, and with increasing age there is a progressive loss of the main support tissue, collagen and damage to the elastin fibres in the skin. The upper layer of the skin, the epidermis also be-comes progressively thinner with increasing age. It is these changes that lead to wrinkling. In addition, over the years, contraction of the tiny facial muscles attached to the deeper part of the skin also lead to wrinkling, producing permanent lines.

How does fractional CO2 laser work?

The laser works by removing the top layers of your skin where the lines and wrinkles have formed. As the top layer of your scar peels off, your skin appears smoother, and the ap-pearance of the lines and wrinkles are usually less noticeable. The laser beam from a CO2 laser is divided up (fractionated) into thousands of very narrow beams of light which make tiny holes through the surface of the skin. As the skin heals this leads to the formation of new healthy collagen to tighten the skin and smooths the appearance of lines and wrin-kles.

How many treatments will I need?

Usually, one to three treatment sessions are required at about six-month intervals.

What does the procedure involve?

You will be asked to attend up to an hour before your treatment. The practitioner will apply numbing cream. The laser may feel uncomfortable but bearable. You will hear a vacuum in the room which will remove laser plume from the air.

You may find it helpful to take paracetamol or ibuprofen before you come to the clinic. The procedure itself will take about 20-30 minutes however this is dependent on the size of the area to be treated.

You will be provided with laser proof blackout goggles to protect your eyes.

If you are treating very close to your eye, inner eye shields may be required and are worn similarly to contact lenses. If this is required, the Doctor would discuss this with you dur-ing your consultation.

What to expect after treatment

You will be given a detailed aftercare sheet advising how to look after your skin day by day, following the laser treatment. You should be prepared to take at least a week off work, contact sports and swimming.

Immediately following the treatment, the treatment area will look red, sore and swollen, like severe sunburn.

It is normal for the treated area to leak a serous fluid post treatment (pale yellow and trans-parent) this is because the top layer of the skin has been removed. This is the healing pro-cess beginning to work.

If crusting is experienced, DO NOT attempt to dislodge or pick at the crusts as this may scar the delicate skin underneath. Instead, please bathe/cleanse the area very gently with fresh flowing water e.g., in a tepid shower to soften the crusting and help it to naturally lift off. Then apply a generous amount of the topical treatment as advised by your doctor (Lynton Light soothe/Vaseline/Prescriptive medication).

Swelling is common and usually subsides within 4-5 days, this is dependent on the area being treated and can sometimes last longer.

It is quite usual for the treated area to remain red for several weeks after the procedure. This is absolutely normal, eventually the redness will fade. This may take between 6 weeks and 4 months (in exceptional cases). You can use make-up to cover it as soon as the skin has healed (around 10-14 days).

To minimise the risk of pigmentation, it is extremely important that you use a broad-spectrum sunscreen (UVA & UVB) for at least six weeks to protect the skin.

When will I see improvement?

Some patients can see improvement in scars from as little as a week after treatment, but the skin texture can continue to improve for three to six months.

What are the risks of treatment?

Lightening or darkening of the skin pigmentation can occur after fractionated CO2 laser treatment. This is usually temporary but can be permanent. Darkening of the skin is more common in darker skin types and can sometimes be treated with topical treatments.

Scarring can occur after CO2 laser treatment, but this is uncommon.

A flare-up of acne spots or white bumps (milia) can occur on the skin surface.

Infection after CO2 laser treatment is possible but uncommon.

Flare-up of Herpes Simplex/Cold Sore Virus- If you have a history of Cold Sores, you may be prescribed anti-viral medication to take before your treatment to prevent a flare-up.