Today I wanted to dive a little bit deeper into one of the most popular acne scar treatments: Carbon Dioxide Laser, otherwise known as CO2 Laser! When you think of pampering your skin, blasting your face with a laser probably isn't the first thought that comes to mind.
And if it is, we probably need to have a talk. But in all seriousness, laser resurfacinghas notoriously been dubbed the best overall acne scar treatment due to the quick results and intensive treatment that is able to reach deep scarring (which other methods cannot).
Laser resurfacing is exactly what it sounds like, little laser beams quickly blast your skin to aid in scar tissue regeneration. Like a snake, your skin begins to shed dead skin, layer by layer, revealing healthy, vibrant skin underneath that has been unscathed by pimples, hyperpigmentation, or any other markings.
Laser resurfacing isn't just for acne scars! In fact, it's a popular treatment for wrinkles, acne, and many other skin irregularities. Certain types of laser resurfacing (including CO2 laser) are so powerful that they can even treat skin cancer in its earliest stages.
CO2 laser can be accomplished in one 60 to 90-minute session and it typically takes a little over two weeks (14-20 days) for the skin to return to a normal state after CO2 laser. One can expect to experience redness, swelling, itching, dryness, and peeling of the skin during the first week and a half as the skin regenerates itself.
Because CO2 laser is the most invasive laser procedure available, follow up laser appointments are typically not necessary. The results will continue to get better month after month, for up to a year as new collagen begins to form. Touch up appointments may be necessary, but nothing as invasive as CO2 laser.
CO2 laser is the highest intensity of laser that is currently available and is ideal for deepacne scars. Typically, the more invasive the laser, the more drastic results you will see. CO2 specifically works to tighten and smooth the skin by using heat, which restrict collagen bands found in the lower dermis.
When it comes to laser, it's not a one size fits all approach. Typically, laser is recommended for those who are of lighter skin tones as it can cause serious damage and worsen hyperpigmentation on darker tones.
CO2 laser is typically recommended for those who have deeper scarring or scarring that would not respond well to less aggressive treatments.
Costs generally range from $600 to $3000 dollars depending on where you reside, with places like New York and LA having the most expensive costs and Kentucky or Alabama providing services at the lowest price.
CO2 laser requires quite a bit of recovery time, meaning you may have to take some time off of work in order to fully recover. For about two week the skin will peel and need to be taken care of strategically, with cleaning four to five times daily along with application of an ointment to keep your skin clear from infection.
The skin will remain pink or red for a few weeks after that. It should also be noted that patients with darker skin tones are typically not good candidates for CO2 resurfacing because the procedure can reduce the pigmentation in the skin in comparison to other areas which are not treated.