If you’re considering laser skin resurfacing to rejuvenate your skin and minimize the appearance of fine lines, uneven texture, or scars, you’re not alone. Laser resurfacing treatments have become popular with people who want to improve the overall tone and texture of their skin. The Boston Center for Facial Rejuvenation offers CO2 laser resurfacing using the Lumenis AcuPulse™. Learn more about what CO2 laser resurfacing can do for you, then book your consultation with Dr. Catherine DiGiorgio in Brookline, MA or Boston, MA, today.
What Is Laser Resurfacing?
Laser resurfacing uses beams of light energy to renew and improve the skin. Different types of laser skin resurfacing treatments are available. The different options vary in terms of depth and the areas they target. Lasers are extremely versatile and effective for treating various cosmetic skin concerns.
What is AcuPulse?
AcuPulse is a CO2 laser treatment system that offers 11 treatment options. During skin resurfacing with AcuPulse, the laser can go deep to help minimize the appearance of severe creases and lines, or it can be gentler, treating more superficial lines, discoloration, and other minor skin imperfections.
Dr. DiGiorgio will customize the AcuPulse treatment system based on your specific needs, including your skin type and the area you’d like to treat.
Are You a Candidate for CO2 Laser Resurfacing?
You might be a good candidate for CO2 laser resurfacing if you have:
- Visible sun damage
- Fine lines
- Deeper wrinkles and lines
- Uneven skin texture
- Acne scars
- Surgical scars
Some people have skin conditions that make them poor candidates for laser resurfacing. For example, although CO2 laser treatments can help reduce the appearance of acne scars, they aren’t recommended for people who are currently experiencing an active breakout or are currently on Isotretinoin (or Accutane. Patients must wait 6 months after completion of Isotretinoin to pursue laser resurfacing with the CO2 laser). The treatment is also not recommended to people who have had recent sun exposure, use tanning beds, or who recently used self-tanning products. The treatment is also not recommended in patients with a history of vitiligo, some autoimmune diseases, and immunosuppression.
During a consultation, Dr. DiGiorgio will review your medical history and assess your skin type to help you determine if laser resurfacing is right for you.
The Benefits of CO2 Laser Resurfacing
There are many benefits to CO2 laser resurfacing with AcuPulse. The system is designed to be an “all in one” option, offering a wide range of treatments and strengths. It is also completely customizable based on a patient’s skin type and goals, which also makes this treatment safe.
When performing fractional CO2 laser resurfacing, we are treating only a fraction of the skin but the full skin surface benefits. AcuPulse treatments using fractional CO2 settings typically deliver faster healing compared to fully ablative laser resurfacing. This fractional setting also causes less overall damage to the skin, making it more comfortable and safer as a treatment option.
Types of CO2 Laser Resurfacing
The type of laser used during a resurfacing treatment determines the extent of the results and also affects the overall recovery time. AcuPulse offers several options. The treatment can be fractional ablative or traditional fully ablative. It can also treat small growths on any area of the body, such as syringomas, pearly penile papules, rhinophymatous rosacea, some birthmarks, and others.
Fractional Ablative CO2 Laser
Fractional ablative laser treatment causes less damage to the skin, as the laser beam leaves areas of undamaged skin around the areas it treats, allowing safer and more rapid healing. AcuPulse can be fractional and this is the most commonly used treatment setting. The laser energy reaches the deeper layers of the skin, or the dermis, which stimulates the production of new collagen and remodels the skin. After treatments, the skin continues to improve and remodel for about 3 months.
Since some skin is left untreated during a fractional laser treatment, healing time is reduced, as the intact skin helps the wounded area recover better. Fractional ablative laser treatments are most commonly used to treat fine lines, wrinkles, and scars such as those resulting from acne or surgical procedures.
Fully Ablative CO2 Laser
A fully ablative laser treatment typically produces the most dramatic results. Laser energy is delivered to the full skin surface, which removes the top layer of skin, the epidermis, resulting in more intense improvement of wrinkles.
Usually, recovery from treatment with a fully ablative laser takes longer than treatment with a non-ablative laser. The skin needs time to fully heal and to regrow. Since they work differently than non-ablative treatments, ablative lasers can sometimes better correct deep creases and wrinkles. Fully ablative treatments are usually used for the deep wrinkles around the mouth and to treat loose skin on the upper eyelids.
Fully ablative laser resurfacing treatments can also be performed more gently to improve sun damage and brown spots. This is called a laser peel. Healing time and recovery is shorter than the above mentioned fully ablative laser treatments and can be effective at removing sun damage and brown spots in one treatment session.
Your CO2 Laser Resurfacing Consultation
The first step to take if you’re interested in CO2 laser resurfacing with AcuPulse is to schedule a consultation at BCFFR with Dr. DiGiorgio. During your consultation, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions about the laser treatment, including how it differs from the other laser resurfacing treatments available at our practice in Boston, MA.
Dr. DiGiorgio will ask you about your overall goals for treatment and your specific skin concerns. She will also ask you about your medical history and any medications you may be taking. Asking these questions can help her determine what type of CO2 treatment will work best for you and enable a safe treatment.
She’ll then explain to you the steps you should take to prepare for the laser treatment and what you can expect afterward. This is a great opportunity to get all the information you need before moving forward.
What Happens During CO2 Laser Resurfacing
CO2 laser resurfacing with AcuPulse typically takes about one or two hours, depending on the size of the area being treated. Numbing cream will be applied prior to treatment for comfort and most patients are comfortable for the duration of the procedure. Dr. DiGiorgio may provide oral medication to relax you during the procedure, though you will need someone to drive you home safely after your session.
During treatment, you’ll wear a pair of goggles to protect your eyes from the laser beam. Dr. DiGiogio will fit the AcuPulse machine with the appropriate scanner and settings based on the area she’s treating and the type of laser she’s using.
After treatment, you’ll be able to go home right away. You may need some downtime after your laser treatment, depending on its intensity.
Recovery After CO2 Laser Resurfacing
Recovery times vary after CO2 laser resurfacing, depending on the type of treatment and the size of the treated area. You can expect your skin to be pink or red for a few weeks afterward. Bruising and swelling will be minimal, though you might want to take up to a full week off from work to fully recover after the treatment. Dr. DiGiorgio will discuss your specific recovery expected based upon the treatment she selects for you.
I’ve known Dr. DiGiorgio for several years, as both her colleague and her patient. I’ve had the pleasure of watching her work with her patients to create personalized treatment plans to ensure patients thrilled with their results. So, when I was interested in discussing options for anti aging treatments for myself, I went straight to Dr. DiGiorgio. I always feel comforted by her honesty, as well as the balance of confidence and appropriate caution that she demonstrates as a seasoned, thoughtful provider. When it comes to laser work, her knowledge and skill are truly phenomenal. I could not be happier with my results.
Risks and Side Effects of Laser Resurfacing
Side effects of laser skin resurfacing are usually minimal and complications are rare with modern lasers. The risks are small, provided the treatment is performed by an experienced, board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon. Dr. DiGiorgio is a board-certified dermatologist who studied laser and cosmetic dermatology at Harvard University, where this procedure was invented. She has years of experience with laser treatments, allowing her to recommend the treatments that will be the most effective and appropriate to each patient.
Among the risks of laser skin resurfacing are infection, which is more common after an ablative treatment compared to a non-ablative procedure. Other risks include darkening of the skin, persistent redness, and swelling.
CO2 laser resurfacing differs from other treatments because the laser targets water within the skin. CO2 lasers are typically used to treat more severe skin concerns, such as deep wrinkles and scarring.
Many people describe feeling a sensation of heat on the skin during treatment. A numbing ointment will be applied to the skin before treatment starts. Most patients tolerate the treatment well with minor discomfort. After the procedure, you may feel like you have a sunburn, but patients do not experience pain after the treatment is completed and during the healing process.
To reduce the risk of side effects, such as changes in pigmentation, you should stay out of the sun for at least 4 weeks before your treatment. It’s also a good idea to stop using products with retinol in them several days or weeks before laser treatment and to avoid the use of sunless tanners. Dr. DiGiorgio will review this with you during your consultation and your pre-treatment visit.
Results can appear gradually after CO2 laser treatment, as the skin heals and collagen production increases. Generally, people begin to see results within four weeks of treatment and the skin continues to improve over the course of 3-4 months
Results can be long-lasting after laser treatment. How long yours will last depends on several factors, including your skin type, your level of sun exposure, and how you care for the skin after the treatment.
You can repeat AcuPulse treatments to maintain or improve results. Talk to Dr. DiGiorgio to find out what sort of schedule would work best for you.
Generally, people take between three and seven days off from work after CO2 laser resurfacing with AcuPulse. The amount of downtime you’ll need depends on the type of treatment.
CO2 laser resurfacing can help you get smoother, more youthful-looking skin. To learn more about the procedure, call (617) 735-8735 to schedule a consultation with Dr. DiGiorgio at the Boston Center for Facial Rejuvenation today.