Post-treatment results are generally visible in 2 stages. There is an initial, rapid improvement within 2 to 3 weeks after the procedure followed by a more gradual improvement over the course of the 6 months following treatment. The skin tightens and a high percentage of wrinkles and acne scars disappear.
In-home treatment in the days following a fractional CO2 laser procedure. Treatment in the days following a CO2 laser procedure involves continuing the preventive treatment against cold sore flare-ups (generally 2 to 4 days following the medical procedure). A healing cream will be prescribed for 3 to 4 days post-laser treatment, followed by a repairing cream.
Skin must be generously moisturized for the 2 to 4 weeks following the fractional CO2 laser medical procedure. Depending on the skin’s characteristics and the patient’s phototype, a depigmentation cream may be used for a few additional weeks.
Similarly, scrupulous sun protection measures must be taken for a least one month. This involves applying broad-spectrum, high-SPF sunblock and staying completely out of the sun. A follow-up visit on the 7th day and after 1 month is required to check that the skin is responding properly and that no complications are occurring. An evaluation after 6 months with a photo shoot is recommended.
Results are generally visible after the first session. Depending on patients’ requests and their availability for longer or shorter periods of time away from social and professional activities, fractional CO2 treatments of varying degrees of intensity can be performed. A series of 3 to 4 mild treatments allows patients to return to work with makeup after 3 days, while a more powerful, single treatment session can allow patients to return to work after about a week.
While CO2 lasers are traditionally used to treat the face, they may also be indicated for the following areas:
The neck (taking careful precaution with CO2 lasers in this area due to the risk of scarring)
Known hypersensitivity to light
Treatment with medication that increases sensitivity to light
Treatment with blood thinners
Treatment with oral isotretinoin within the past 6 months
Patients must not have a suntan
History of hypertrophic scarring