What Exactly is the CO2 Laser?

The Lumenis UltraPulse® is an FDA-approved carbon dioxide (CO2) laser skin resurfacing device. When the concentrated beams of light hit their targeted areas, the older outer layer of skin is removed and the growth of new collagen fibers is stimulated. As a result, the treated skin appears clearer, smoother, and tighter. CO2 laser skin resurfacing is ideal for people who have moderate to severe signs of aging. Since CO2 skin resurfacing is considered to be a more invasive treatment, it is important to be treated by a board-certified physician who will take into consideration your medical history, skin type, and aesthetic goals and understand the anatomy of the face, especially the eyes. At Providence Eye & Laser Specialists, all treatments are performed by Dr. Valerie H. Chen, board-certified Ophthalmic Plastic Surgeon.

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What Can I Expect During CO2 Laser Treatment?

Prior to the treatment starting, your face will be numbed with a topical cream and you will be prescribed an oral pain medication. Further, you will have access to nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”) for additional comfort as desired. During the treatment, Dr. Chen moves a handpiece over the area(s) of skin being treated. It can feel like a micro scratch, similar to kitten claws, up to a deep burning sensation depending the intensity and depth of the laser. This will take between 30 minutes to 1.5 hours depending on the area(s) being treated.

What is the Recovery Time?

Planning for your recovery is an important step. You will have a rigorous post-treatment skin care regimen to keep the skin clean and protected which will aid in the healing process and maximize the results. A CO2 laser treatment will require several days, and up to 2 weeks, of social and professional downtime, depending on your personal comfort level. Immediately after treatment, your skin that was treated will be quite red and swollen, similar to a bad sunburn. Some people may also experience pinpoint bleeding and oozing of clear-yellow fluid. A few days after your treatment, the skin will begin to itch and peel. This is good! This is the old skin flaking away and new skin growing. This usually lasts 3-5 days. Typically, between days 12-16, patients feel that their skin looks fairly normal and they are comfortable returning to public activities. You will not be able to wear makeup on the treated area for up to 2 weeks. Mild skin redness can last for several weeks or months.

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How Many Treatment Are Required to See Results?

Typically, improvement can be seen and felt after one treatment, but a series of treatments may be needed to achieve optimal results.

Each person and treatment area reacts differently. People begin to see some improvement in the appearance of their skin after the initial 2-week healing period, but generally it can take 2-3 months to see the full effect of the CO2 laser treatment.

Dr. Chen will be able to provide a recommended number of treatments to achieve your personal goals.

Ready to Feel Younger ?

Schedule an Evaluation with Dr. Chen to determine if Co2 Laser Resurfacing will help you achieve your goals. Call 704-540-9595 or fill out the short form below and Dr. Chen's team will contact you within one business day.

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