-Carbon Dioxide Laser Abrasion
Is It Appropriate for All Regions of the Face?
Scott J. Trimas, MD; Clarence E. Boudreaux, MD; Russell D. Metz, MD
Anti-aging, skin-resurfacing laser. CO2 (carbon dioxide) Laser Skin Resurfacing treatments are more aggressive, cosmetic procedures that utilize laser light beam technology for the reduction or elimination of deep, pronounced lines and wrinkles. The strength of a CO2 Laser Treatment’s design allows for a layer-by-layer removal of problematic tissue located in deeper skin regions. If administered in a skin resurfacing treatment, the CO2 Laser can effectively correct uneven pigmentation, sun damage, precancerous spots and benign lesions also imbedded in deeper areas of tissue. The CO2 Laser Treatment is a more aggressive approach to skin resurfacing than an Erbium or Fractionated laser treatment. Although downtime after the treatment is more extensive, the results are generally more dramatic with a CO2 Laser.
Instructions for CO2 Laser, spot treatment or partial face, with Local Anesthesia:
Wash lasered areas with 4-6 times daily
- Wet gauze/washcloth with water and Cetaphil and scrub to remove all of Aquaphor from previous washes and any skin scabbing/crusting.
- Pat dry lasered areas.
- Apply Aquaphor to lasered areas after each washing.
- Skin will be red for 7-14 days and pink for about 6-8 months.
- After 14 days: continue washing twice daily with frequent application of Cetaphil Moisturizer throughout the day to prevent dryness. Always use sun protection with at least SPF 30 on top of moisturizer.
- Do not wear make-up for 10-14 days or until skin is pink/smooth and does not have any crusting.
Instructions for FULL FACE CO2 Laser, with General Anesthesia:
- Start Valtrex day before and may take morning of surgery.
- Thick re-application of Aquaphor night of surgery.
- Start facial care the next morning
- Start antibiotics at dinnertime after surgery. If too nauseated, may start day after surgery.
- Minimize swelling by icing (every hour for 15 minutes) and sleep with head elevated 450 for 3-5 days.
First 2 Weeks
Facial Care-Keep Skin Moisturized
Every 2 hours:
- Wash with Cetaphil (Removing all of Aquaphor)
- Wet gauze and gently scrub any yellow/white skin crusting
- Pat Dry
Apply Aquaphor (be sure to apply with tongue blades as, dipping fingers into tub can introduce bacteria. May re-apply if it dries/melts off)
- Some areas may bleed (just apply slight pressure) scrub around it and prevent scabbing by keeping moist with Aquaphor.
- Be extra cautious to prevent Aquaphor from dripping into your eye.
- Take pain medication 30 minutes-1 hour prior to facial care.
- Expect to be RED, BURNING, SWOLLEN, ITCHY, GREASY, IRRITABLE, TIRED, AGGRAVATED, and GROGGY.
- Do not wear contacts for 1-2 weeks.
- DO NOT SCRATCH LASERED AREAS-may wear gloves/socks at night.
- No exercise or heavy lifting for 2 weeks.
- Do not apply make-up, moisturizers, or other skin care products for at least 2 weeks or until released by Dr. Trimas.
- Avoid any sun exposure: wear hat/sunglasses/sunscreen when necessary.
Next 6 Months:
- Skin will be a bright pink and progressively lighten over time to become your natural undamaged skin color.
- Continue Facial Care: (Start when skin is pink and no residual skin crusting)
- Wash with Cetaphil morning and night
- Pat Dry
- Apply Cetaphil moisturizer with SPF 30 throughout the day to moisten and protect skin
- May apply make-up and wear contacts.
- NO SMOKING for at least 30 days (interferes/prolongs with healing).
- May resume OBAGI or SkinMedica skin care system when Dr. Trimas releases you.
- No facial waxing for at least 30 days
- Protect your new skin from sun exposure wearing hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen (at least SPF30) when outdoors.
*Post CO2 Laser may be very frustrating, just be patient. The end results greatly outweigh the frustration. Expect a new you, new skin, and a new attitude.