CO2 (carbon dioxide) Laser Skin Resurfacing Treatment
Historically CO2 (carbon dioxide) lasers were the gold standard of resurfacing. They were aggressive and produced good results, but had significant down-time (2—3 weeks, with red- to pink- skin lasting up to 6-months). While no longer the case, in the past there was a high risk of infection due to the laser energy being delivered to all of the skin under the hand piece.
Current laser treatment
In the past few years the CO2 laser has been vastly improved to deliver fractionated energy, still producing beautiful results comparable to traditional resurfacing, but without the down-time. Instead of 2–3 weeks of not being able to leave the house, patients are presentable within 5–7 days. Lighter treatments can also be done if desired, but results are not as significant. The difference between fractionated CO2 and traditional CO2 resurfacing is in the way the laser energy is delivered. The same wavelength of CO2 laser energy is used (10, 600nm), but instead of all of the skin underneath the handpiece being treated, the energy is distributed in a dot matrix manner. In other words, microscopic holes are punched into the skin in a computer-generated pattern. In a way, it is like aerating your skin. Only approximately 20% of the skin is actually treated, leaving the remaining 80% non-ablated, creating a much faster healing time, with less chance of infection and excellent results. The precentage of skin being treated can be adjusted if the physician administering the treatment deems it appropriate.
Skin treatment Results
Within the first few weeks after treatment results include pore tightening, lessening of fine lines, improvement of crepy skin texture and rough sun-damaged areas, reduction of acne scarring, and removal or reducation of sun spots and redness. The skin appears fresher and rejuvenated. After 30 days, the collagen remodelling begins and tightening occurs and continues for the next 3–6 months. A recent study using fractionated CO2 resurfacing of the skin showed collagen remodelling as early as 7-days after the treatment and persisted up to at least 3-months after the via the measurement of heat shock proteins. This particular study did not measure the collagen beyond 3-months.
Other fractionated lasers (Fraxel, Pixel, Pearl, Profractional, etc.) use similar technology, but fractionated CO2 is the most effective, more aggressive way to resurface the skin safely. The SmartXide Dot system has full Canadian and FDA approval. The face, eyelids, neck, chest/décolletage area, arms, and hands can be treated. In order to obtain optimal results, there are specific instructions for pre- and post-treatment that must be followed.
Video #2 - SmartSkin CO2 LaserSkinRenewal system and laser technology, by Cynosure: Video of CO2 procedure being performed...