CO2 Laser Resurfacing

Let your skin lie about your age!

Before and After Skin Rejuvenation PhotosLaser Skin Rejuvenation FAQ

When we were young, our skin was soft, clear and radiant. Over the years, the effects of sun, wind, cold and pollution take their toll. Fine lines appear near the eyes and eye brows, on and around the lips, and even across the cheeks. Laser Skin Rejuvenation can help!

If your skin looks older than you feel, perhaps it’s time to consider looking years younger with laser skin rejuvenation. Removing your wrinkles with laser skin resurfacing is the next generation in wrinkle removal, offering the most advanced technology for the safe and effective treatment of age- and sun-damaged skin.

The laser is used like an artist’s brush, gently painting away wrinkles – even those stubborn ones in delicate areas around the lips and eyes. Deep laugh and frown creases can be softened. Some acne and surgical scars can be minimized. The new laser method ‘irons’ wrinkles away so precisely and safely that it replaces most chemical skin peels and dermabrasion.

Laser Skin Resurfacing explained

A laser is a beam of light. Different types of lasers have different wavelengths, or colors. Certain colors are absorbed best by pigment molecules, and remove dark spots on the skin. Other colors are absorbed by red blood cells, and remove vascular lesions or red spots. The CO2 and Erbium laser light (which is invisible to the eye) is absorbed by water, which is present in all of our cells.

During the laser skin resurfacing process, when the light is absorbed by water in the cells, the water is heated very rapidly and disappears in a little puff of steam. The remaining skin is gently and easily wiped away, revealing a smooth underlying surface. In this way, Dr. Weiss can precisely remove sun-damaged, aging skin, layer-by-layer. In addition, laser energy causes collagen shrinkage that actually tightens up the skin surface. There is no bleeding and no cutting. There is also no discomfort during the process because the skin is totally anesthetized or the procedure is performed under general anesthesia.

What to expect: safety

The development in laser technology that allowed all of the recent advances in skin resurfacing is the ability to apply the laser energy very quickly before the heat can spread to underlying tissue. For this reason and because of its extreme precision, the new laser process is by far the safest method for removing facial wrinkles, and also produces the most effective and long-lasting results.

The recovery period will vary from patient to patient and will depend on the amount and extent of treatment performed. Typically, the skin will be red (like a sunburn) post-operatively for 5 to 10 days. During that period you will keep the treated area(s) well lubricated and moist with cold compresses. The redness will fade to pink within 2 weeks and continue to fade to its normal color over the next 1 to 4 months. This pinkness is easily camouflaged by makeup, which can usually be applied in 5-10 days, depending upon your skin’s response to treatment.

Dr. Weiss has been using medical lasers since 1980 and since 1995 has concentrated much of his efforts on different techniques of removing fine lines on the lower eyelids and ‘crow’s feet’ areas. We invite you to take advantage of his expertise by inquiring about laser skin resurfacing, and how it can help you achieve smoother, fresher, younger-looking skin. Contact us today to learn how this new laser ‘nonsurgical facelift method’ can turn back the clock for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Currently the carbon dioxide and erbium lasers are used for skin resurfacing procedures including wrinkle removal, acne scar removal, treating skin discoloration and uneven pigmentation, and for the treatment of sun damaged skin.

Dr. Weiss most commonly treats the face, particularly the problem areas around the eyes, including the upper and lower eyelids and “crow’s feet” areas, and the mouth, chin forehead frown lines. Although single areas of the face can be treated separately, it is often preferable to treat the whole face as one unit. When the whole face is treated at once, there is very little chance of a noticeable demarcation line between the area treated and the area not treated.

The new development in laser technology (represented initially by the Ultrapulse CO2 laser, then with the Erbium lasers, and more recently with fractional CO2 lasers) that has allowed the recent advances in skin resurfacing, is the ability to apply the laser energy very quickly before the heat can spread to the underlying tissue and cause thermal damage. The laser target tissue is water, which is the main component of every cell in the body. The laser removes tissue by rapidly heating and vaporizing the water within the cells of the superficial skin surface. The remaining protein of the cell is then precisely removed layer by layer by actually gently wiping the wrinkles away, much as one would wipe away the dead skin off the ankle after being in a warm bath. In addition, laser energy seems to cause collagen shrinkage that actually “tightens up” the skin surface.

Dr. Weiss’ preferred method in most cases is the combined use of the Coherent Ultra Pulse CO2 and one of the Erbium lasers. However, individual cases vary and sometimes either laser alone is used. More recently, a variety of Fractional CO2 lasers can be used without general anesthesia to produce similar results while decreasing the risks and recovery period.M

Here is the theory. The pinkness of the skin during the recovery period after laser skin resurfacing is thought to be due to a thin (80-100 microns or about a tenth of a millimeter) layer of thermal inflammation caused by the CO2 laser, which gradually disappears. The Erbium laser light is about one hundred times more effectively absorbed by water and leaves less thermal inflammation than the CO2 laser, which is why it causes so much less pinkness when used alone (unfortunately, it is also less effective when used alone). Dr. Weiss uses several passes of the Erbium laser immediately after the CO2 laser treatment in an attempt to reduce the amount of residual thermal inflammation present and lessen the total recovery time.

The recovery period will vary from patient to patient and will depend on the amount and extent of treatment performed. Typically, patients will be quite red post-operatively for 5 to 10 days. During that period you will be instructed to keep the treated area(s) well lubricated and moist with cold compresses. The redness will generally fade to light pink within 2 weeks. Because Dr. Weiss uses a more advanced and extensive newer technique first described by an Australian dermatologist which includes the simultaneous use of both the carbon dioxide and the erbium lasers, the pinkness will usually fade completely in 4-8 weeks, rather than the 3-6 month recovery period of older methods. The recovery period is much shorter with the Fractional CO2 lasers.

Based on our patients experiences, the results will last from 5 to 10 years or longer. Results vary between individuals and depend on genetics, age, baseline skin condition, and subsequent skin care and sun exposure.

Additional treatments are sometimes required for maximum results, particularly in patients with significantly sun damaged skin. Very deep, stubborn lines may be retreated after approximately 2 months. It is rare to require more than one CO2 laser treatment. Re-treatments may occasionally be required with the Fractional CO2 lasers.

Once the skin is completely healed, the treated area(s) will in the majority of cases blend naturally into the untreated areas. With medium to darker skin types, there does exist the possibility of slight skin lightening in the area that is treated. To minimize this risk, full face resurfacing is often preferred in many patients.

The procedure can be performed with intravenous sedation and local infiltration anesthesia in certain patients, and in others general anesthesia with a board-certified anesthesiologist and a controlled airway is preferred. Fractional CO2 laser treatments can be performed in the office with only a topical anesthetic cream.

Men are sometimes very good candidates for laser procedures. In fact, men’s thicker skin heals much faster and with less redness than women’s more delicate skin. However, in men, full face treatments are strongly preferred because makeup is usually not an option in the post treatment period.

Yes. Lasers allow physicians to selectively peel wrinkles without damaging the area around them, giving the physician more control over the tissue that is being treated. Laser skin resurfacing is much more accurate and precise than other methods. It is also safer and there are not as many side effects. Other advantages include decreased post-operative pain, a decreased rate of infection and often a reduction in operative time.

Patients can begin wearing makeup to cover the treated area(s) 5 to 10 days after the procedure.

Carbon dioxide lasers have been used in medicine for removing skin lesions since the late 1960’s. The current era of laser skin resurfacing began in about 1994, and was made possible by the advent of the Ultrapulse CO2 laser. Laser skin resurfacing has rapidly achieved widespread use among cosmetic surgeons because of its ability to safely and predictably produce dramatic improvement of skin wrinkling. Fractional CO2 lasers began to appear in 2007.

Dr. Weiss has been using medical lasers since 1980, and has been performing laser skin resurfacing since May of 1995. Since then, he has been at the forefront of developing safe methods of increasing efficacy and decreasing the recovery time with various newer modifications of technique.

Common sense is the rule here. With sunscreen applied to the skin, patients can be in the sun relatively quickly, in most cases by the second week. Of course, sun bathing is strongly discouraged for several months. The treated areas should be particularly well protected with sunscreen until the pinkness is completely gone.

Possible side effects of the laser include mild skin lightening or darkening, infection, herpetic outbreaks, and scarring. Dr. Weiss has not seen any scarring within his practice. The laser is a tool, and when used correctly in properly chosen patients, the risk of complications is rare. In any case, these risks are less than those associated with dermabrasion and deep chemical peels.

Yes. People with darker skin pigment are done with caution. In rare cases it is preferable to treat a test area with the laser before proceeding with the full treatment.

No. Typically a test is only performed on people with darker skin pigment. When a test is performed, it is usually done behind the ear or on the forehead just beneath the hairline.

The cost for laser skin resurfacing will vary depending on how large the area is being treated, how many areas are being treated, the condition of the skin and the depth of the wrinkles. The total cost to the patient including all pre- and post-operative visits, initial dressings and medications, surgeon’s fee, anesthesiologist fee and facility fee will range from $1200 to $5000.

If you would like to learn more about laser skin resurfacing and to see how you could benefit from this procedure, please call 949-720-1400 to contact us to schedule a private, complimentary consultation.