The Fractional CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing Healing Process

As with many aesthetic medical procedures, surgical or non-surgical, there is a natural healing process your body implements to heal any controlled wounds incurred during the treatment. The same is true with fractional CO2 laser skin resurfacing, which affects different skin types differently. As a result, you may experience redness, swelling, itching, or stinging in the days following the therapy. 

During your fractional CO2 laser recovery, your body’s biological processes will help your skin recover. This post will provide information to help you prepare for your laser skin resurfacing recovery with minimal discomfort and downtime. Let’s start with learning more about the procedure. 

What is Fractional CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing?

Laser skin resurfacing helps reduce facial wrinkles, blemishes, and scars. The more advanced laser technologies give your clinician more control in laser resurfacing, permitting extreme precision, especially in delicate areas.

What Laser Skin Resurfacing Treats:

  • Wrinkles or fine lines around or under your eyes, mouth, or forehead 
  • Acne scars
  • Non-responsive skin after facelift surgery
  • Sun-damaged skin
  • Yellow or gray skin tones
  • Aging skin 
  • Liver spots
  • Birthmarks
  • Warts
  • Enlarged oil glands on your nose

How Does Laser Skin Resurfacing Work?

It’s all about using beams of light. Dr. Kabiri uses the laser to send short, concentrated, pulsating beams at targeted skin. This light removes dull and damaged skin, one layer at a time.

Laser skin resurfacing’s targeted approach means fewer problems with hypopigmentation, or a lightening of the skin, for procedures like laser scar removal.

The laser beam Dr. Kabiri employs for laser resurfacing removes the outer skin layer (epidermis) and simultaneously heats the underlying skin (dermis). This action works to stimulate the growth of new collagen fibers. As the treated area heals, the new skin is both smoother and firmer.

How Does Fractional CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing Work?

Dr. Kabiri may initiate a series of skin treatments for laser skin resurfacing preparation for optimal outcomes. Often these treatments begin six weeks or longer before your laser skin resurfacing. These treatments are tailored to your skin type to minimize complications and maximize skin beauty. 

Cosmetic laser resurfacing is typically an outpatient procedure that takes thirty minutes to two hours, depending on the areas treated.

Managing Your Discomfort

Laser skin resurfacing can be painful. This discomfort is why Dr. Kabiri may apply local anesthetics. She may also give you a sedative to help you relax. Afterward, she will provide pain medications to ensure a comfortable recovery. 

In preparation, we will cleanse your face thoroughly and give you eye protection. For years doctors have used CO2 lasers to treat various skin ailments. A newer generation of CO2 lasers has the power to deliver ultra (short) pulsed light energy. This laser precisely removes thin layers of skin with minimal damage to adjacent tissues.

After Treatment 

After laser skin resurfacing, Dr. Kabiri applies a specialized dressing to protect the treated area. In addition, topical treatments may be necessary to promote healing.

What to Expect During Fractional CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing Recovery

Skin acts differently from patient to patient after laser skin resurfacing. But it will commonly feel like a mild sunburn. After that, you’ll have some redness and swelling. You may also experience itching or stinging a few days after the procedure.

Depending on the extent of your treatment, it may feel like a significant sunburn. The skin may even blister. In addition, yellow liquid may seep to form a crust. Do not scratch or pick at these crusts to minimize scarring. Typically, your skin will dry and peel about a week after treatment.

Follow These Steps During Recovery

  • Clean the treated areas up to five times daily with a diluted vinegar or saline solution as Dr. Kabiri directs.
  • Apply protective skin care treatments Dr. Kabiri recommends to help your skin heal.
  • After recovery, you’ll need to use a medical-grade sunscreen, particularly one formulated for sensitive facial skin. Dr. Kabiri will help you select the best sunscreen to protect your treated areas.
  • Use plenty of moisturizer on your new skin daily.
  • You can expect the treated area to peel. After that, the new, rejuvenated skin will be pink but gradually lighten over two to three months. It may take up to a year for the pinkness to go away. It is essential to protect your skin during this time of healing. Redness tends to last longer in redheads and blondes.
  • You may resume the application of Retin-A and glycolic acid products six weeks after laser skin resurfacing or as directed by Dr. Kabiri.

Complications of Laser Skin Resurfacing

  • Acne flares—Dr. Kabiri will recommend a treatment regimen.
  • Bacterial infection—Dr. Kabiri may recommend taking an antibiotic before the procedure and afterward.
  • Cold sore reactivation—This is a common occurrence if you have laser resurfacing around the mouth. Tell Dr. Kabiri about your history of cold sores (herpes). You can prevent their reactivation by taking antiviral medication before and after the procedure.
  • Hyperpigmentation—The treated area may become darker. Dr. Kabiri may recommend a bleaching solution. 
  • Milia—These tiny white bumps may appear during recovery. Gentle cleansing with a washcloth can remove them.
  • Prolonged redness—For some patients, redness takes longer to subside.
  • Scarring—Rare but possible. Dr. Kabiri will advise you should this effect occur.
  • Swelling—Dr. Kabiri may prescribe oral steroids to manage swelling for laser skin resurfacing around your eyes.

Camouflage the Pink or Red Skin

Once your treated site has healed, you can apply makeup to tone down the color. For example, try green-based makeup to neutralize the redness. Also, be sure to opt for oil-free makeup.

How Long Does It Take to Heal After Fractional CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing?

Generally, the aftermath of the treatment will run as follows:

  • Days 1 – 2. Expect a burning sensation in the treated area, and your face will swell. This sensation is normal and should subside within 24-48 hours.
  • Days 2 – 4. Over the next few days, your face will start to feel tight. A yellowish serous fluid could seep from the treated areas and crust. This crusting is a good indicator that fresh skin is growing underneath.
  • Days 4 – 6. Over this period, it’s not unusual for your face to start feeling a little itchy. However, you must avoid the temptation to scratch as this could increase the risk of scarring. For advice on how to prevent itching from becoming an issue, contact our team for specialist guidance.
  • Day 10. After approximately ten days, your skin will heal and be free of crusted areas. It will remain pink for a bit longer but settle progressively over the following weeks.

More Tips for an Easier Recovery

  • Elevate your head while you rest and sleep
  • Use an ice pack or compress for the first day or two to ease discomfort and swelling
  • Stop smoking. It complicates the healing process.

Minimize Discomfort During the Laser Skin Resurfacing Healing Process

Here are some tips to maximize healing and minimize discomfort.

  • Immediately after your treatment, your skin will be red and sensitive, like a sunburn. Redness, itching, swelling, or stinging may last a few days. Depending on the treatment, the skin may appear raw, ooze a yellow liquid, and blister. Don’t scratch or pick at crusty skin, which can cause scarring or infection.
  • Your skin will dry and peel five to seven days after laser resurfacing. Your rejuvenated skin will appear pink at first, then lighten up over the next two to three months.
  • Wash the treated area two to five times daily as instructed by Dr. Kabiri
  • Elevate your head at night to help reduce swelling for the first four days after treatment.
  • Apply cool compresses for fifteen minutes every two-hour interval or, as needed, during the first day or two.
  • Avoid aggressive facial treatments, like glycolic or tretinoin, for four weeks and topical serums or creams that may irritate for six weeks after treatment.
  • Apply a thin coat of petroleum jelly or antibiotic ointment to the area twice daily until your skin is completely healed.
  • Avoid activities that may cause flushing for two weeks after treatment.

Resuming Normal Activities After Fractional CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing

After the first week, you can resume most daily activities that don’t involve getting out in the sun. Refrain from waxing, exfoliations, light peels, and microdermabrasion for three months from the day of treatment. Avoid the sun or tanning beds for four weeks. 

How Long Do Fractional CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing Benefits Last?

Laser treatment results appear soon after your skin resurfaces. You’ll also enjoy gradual firming and skin-tightening effects for a few months as your skin produces new collagen. The best corrections are displayed in three to four months. While some outcomes become visible after only one treatment, many patients get a series of treatments to improve on initial results.

While laser skin resurfacing’s outcomes can last up to two years, many individuals choose to keep their skin looking young with annual treatments.

Maintaining Fractional CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing Outcomes

Following a laser resurfacing treatment, here’s what you can do to take the best care of your skin.

Stay Out of the Sun

Right after laser treatment, your skin is very susceptible. As a result, the sun’s UV rays can likely do extensive damage while your skin is vulnerable. To reduce the risk of discomfort and other impacts of sun damage, minimize the time you spend in the sun after treatment.

If you go outdoors, stay in shaded areas, and liberally apply 30+ SPF sunscreen to the treatment area. Keep a wide-brimmed hat on so the rays don’t hit your face. 

Gently Wash the Treatment Area

You’ll want to keep your newly resurfaced skin clean. Depending on the intensity of your laser treatment, you may need to get a bit creative regarding cleansing. Dr. Kabiri may recommend washing your facial skin with a saline solution or diluted vinegar during the first few days after treatment.

If you typically use a cleanser with acids or other harsh ingredients, avoid using these products until you get the go-ahead from Dr. Kabiri. 

Keep the Skin Moisturized

Dr. Kabiri will likely recommend a moisturizer for you to use after your laser resurfacing. In addition, many patients apply petroleum jelly to their skin after ablative therapy, such as Fraxel repair. The petroleum jelly helps hydrate and forms a protective barrier along the healing skin. 

Skip the Strong Ingredients

If you typically use skin care products with retinol or other potent ingredients, stop using them until Dr. Kabiri gives you permission. Any harsh or strong element can do more harm than good when your skin is recovering from treatment. 

Wait for Makeup

After laser treatment, your skin may look worse before it looks better. Redness, crusting, and flakiness are all common after laser skin resurfacing. Using foundation or makeup, you might be tempted to cover up those unsightly blemishes to minimize the appearance of crusting and flakes. However, makeup can irritate your healing skin. 

How to Choose the Right Fractional Co2 Laser Skin Resurfacing Provider

When you can no longer ignore your wrinkles, fine lines, enlarged pores, and sun damaged skin, CO2 laser skin resurfacing makes an incredible difference in restoring youthful skin. Exclusively performed by Dr. Shadan Kabiri in her West Vancouver clinic, this advanced laser technology will help you regain your beautiful glow without incisions, sutures, or scarring. Enjoy natural-looking results with fractional CO2 laser skin resurfacing. Learn more about West Vancouver laser skin resurfacing, by contacting us online to schedule your friendly and informative consultation today!