Time is not typically a friend to our skin. Combine the aging process with exposure to harmful UV rays, and you have a recipe for dull, dry skin. Damaged dermal layers can also lead to the formation of skin laxity and the appearance of lines, wrinkles and pigmentation spots. Fortunately, there are ways to refresh and rejuvenate the complexion that do not involve surgical procedures. Dr. Barrett offers a variety of nonsurgical rejuvenation procedures, including CO2 laser resurfacing to address even more severe signs of sun damage and aging symptoms.
What is CO2 Laser Resurfacing?
CO2 laser skin resurfacing is a safe, non-invasive procedure that helps rebuild and rejuvenate your skin while reducing unwanted blemishes and scarring. It essentially tricks your skin cells into creating new cells, so your body can replace damaged areas on its own. By addressing the skin at the cellular level, we can effectively turn back time on your skin and produce a more youthful and radiant appearance. Just three to five 30-minute sessions can give you a dramatic improvement in your skin and a boost to your confidence level.
Our CO2 resurfacing system known as Fraxel uses fractionated technology to stimulate skin rejuvenation in a less invasive way than ablative laser procedures. This process addresses small areas of skin at a time, leaving surrounding skin and tissue untouched. The fractional nature of the procedure offers the dual benefit of promoting the body’s natural rejuvenating processes while allowing for quicker recovery after treatment. The procedure is also more comfortable for patients, ensuring a positive experience and superior results.
Is CO2 Laser Resurfacing Right for You?
The revolutionary Fraxel laser treatment is safe for all skin types and tones since it can be adjusted for a wide range of needs. It is useful in treating any of the following conditions:
- Sun damage
- Irregular skin texture
- Uneven skin tone
- Enlarged or unsightly pores
- Shallow scarring, such as from acne and past surgeries
- Skin discoloration (including sunspots, melasma and freckles)
- Stretch marks
- Fine lines and wrinkles
Fraxel laser is not a recommended treatment for individuals that are pregnant, have an active cold sore or have taken Accutane within the past six months. Dr. Barrett will assess your current health, medical history and aesthetic goals to determine whether Fraxel is a good fit for you.
Choosing Your Plastic Surgeon
Fraxel is a relatively safe and minimally-invasive procedure, which may give you the impression that you can get the treatment from any provider and achieve similar results. However, procedures involving laser technology work by delivering high levels of targeted heat to the treatment area, causing controlled damage that stimulates the body’s healing responses. In the hands of an inexperienced provider, this procedure may not produce the desired results at best and may cause significant side effects at worst. Dr. Barrett and his team have the expertise and experience necessary to ensure your Fraxel treatment is both safe and successful and will take all the time required to provide you with the highest level of care during and after your procedure.
Benefits of CO2 Laser Resurfacing
CO2 laser resurfacing using the Fraxel laser offers a variety of potential benefits to patients:
- Relatively comfortable treatment that typically takes one hour or less to complete
- Ability to address numerous concerns in a single procedure
- Produces a smoother, revitalized complexion
- Noticeable reduction in imperfections like age spots, fine lines and shallow scars
- Some patients enjoy considerable results after a single treatment session
Benefits and results will vary somewhat from patient to patient and will also be based on the severity of your concerns and the amount of correction you hope to achieve.
Preparing for Your Treatment
While there isn’t too much you need to do to prepare for your Fraxel treatment; a few simple steps can go a long way in enhancing both the safety and the effectiveness of your procedure. Dr. Barrett will advise you on how to get ready for your appointment at your initial consultation, which might include the following steps:
- Avoid sun exposure in the weeks leading up to your treatment, as sun damage can affect results
- It is also essential to stay away from tanning booths as they can have the same effect on your skin
- Avoid topical products with ingredients like retinol, glycolic acid and salicylic acid, since they can increase skin sensitivity
- Do not wax any area of the face before a laser treatment, since minor damage from the wax treatment can be irritated by the laser energy
- Plan to take a couple of days of work and social engagements after your session to give your skin time to heal and regain its regular appearance
There may be other steps Dr. Barrett recommends, based on your personal situation and medical history. The closer you follow these instructions, the better your experience and the results of your procedure will be.
The Fraxel treatment is comfortable for our patients, thanks to the application of a topical anesthetic at the beginning of your appointment and integrated cooling used throughout the process. Once the treatment area is numb, we will run the handheld device over the surface of your skin. The handpiece will deliver multiple pulses of laser energy into the precise depth of dermal tissue that has been prescribed for your procedure. The heat causes controlled damage in the lower layers, with the outer dermis remains untouched. Most Fraxel procedures take anywhere from 15 to 60 minutes to complete, depending on the size and number of your treatment areas.
After Your CO2 Laser Resurfacing
When you leave our office after your Fraxel treatment, your skin will likely look red and feel tender like a sunburn. These side effects may subside within a few hours or linger for a couple of days, depending on the depth of your procedure and how your body heals. Dr. Barrett will provide you with instructions on how to care for your skin during this vulnerable time, including applications of ice to minimize swelling and topical moisturizers designed to promote healing to the dermis. Most patients will not feel comfortable returning to social situations for a day or two until these side effects have resolved.
The results of your Fraxel CO2 laser can be seen both immediately and over time. Within the first few days after your procedure, you may notice that your skin is softer, smoother, brighter and more evenly toned. These improvements will become magnified over the next three to six months as your skin starts to create new collagen and skin cell renewal. While some individuals will achieve satisfying results after a single treatment, most will need a series of sessions for optimal results. Dr. Barrett will advise you as to how many treatments you might need and how far apart they should be spaced to obtain the best possible outcome.
Refreshed, Rejuvenated Skin
Fraxel CO2 laser treatments are an efficient way to reverse the effects of time on the skin and produce a refreshed, more youthful appearance. This procedure can be used alone or in combination with some of our other nonsurgical procedures to deliver superior results, depending on the amount of damage you have and the outcome you would like to achieve. To learn more about the revolutionary Fraxel device, contact Barrett Plastic Surgery today at 310-598-2648.