Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and it serves a wide variety of purposes, from acting as a barrier against pathogens to controlling the amount of moisture you retain or evaporate for cooling.
That said, it’s also very visible, especially on your face, and it’s one of the first places your age shows up, from acne breakouts as a teen to fine lines and wrinkles as you get closer to middle age.
Just because it’s prone to flaws, though, doesn’t mean you have to let all the wrinkles and warts and acne scars show. At Eterna Vein & Medical Aesthetics, our team of master aestheticians offers CO2 laser resurfacing to restore the taut and blemish-free skin you want. Here’s how it works.
Your skin’s strength and resilience come, in large part, from two fibrous proteins: collagen and elastin. Your body produces lots of them when you’re young, but after about age 25, production starts to taper off. Other factors, including smoking and sun overexposure, also contribute to their depletion by breaking down remaining supplies. The end result is your skin can no longer maintain its smooth texture, leading to fine lines, wrinkles, sags, and “hollowed out” patches.
In addition, too much sun exposure can trigger a burst of melanin production, a pigment that helps protect the inner layers from damage. The more sun you’re exposed to, the more melanin you produce, and it can clump together to form areas called age spots or sun spots. The spots are flat and oval, range from tan to dark brown, and vary from freckle-sized to half an inch across. They’re completely harmless, but like wrinkled skin, they can make you feel old.
CO2 laser resurfacing explained
CO2 laser skin resurfacing is a cosmetic procedure that removes the outermost layer of skin cells (the epidermis) to reveal the healthy, vibrant skin below. It’s a fractional process, meaning that it works in columns, so it’s not as damaging to surrounding areas. It can improve the appearance of a number of skin problems while enhancing overall skin tone and texture. It can’t, however, be used to get rid of sags and bags.
The laser uses a handheld device to direct short, concentrated pulses of light at the treatment area. The light and its associated heat are ablative, precisely removing the outer skin layers to target the damaged tissue in the dermal layer just beneath.
The heat also breaks up the hyperpigmented sections and destroys old collagen cells while at the same time sparking an increase in new collagen production.
As collagen builds up in the dermal layer, and as the epidermis heals and regrows, the treated area fills in with new cells, becoming smoother and tighter. The old and dead cells are flushed out of the body by your lymphatic system over the next few months.
It may seem a bit drastic to strip off your outer skin layer, but ablative procedures require fewer treatments than non-ablative ones, and most people need more than one session to achieve their aesthetic goals.
The American Board of Cosmetic Surgeons (ABCS) recommends you have laser resurfacing done during the fall and winter months since a lot of direct sun exposure can damage delicate, healing skin.
What conditions can CO2 laser resurfacing treat?
CO2 laser resurfacing is effective for several cosmetic conditions, including:
Acne or other scars
Enlarged oil glands
Fine lines and wrinkles
Uneven skin tone
CO2 laser resurfacing can work on a range of skin tones, but it’s essential to work with a skilled practitioner, like those here at Eterna Vein & Medical Aesthetics, who understands how to work on darker skin tones that are prone to hyperpigmentation. In addition, we don’t recommend CO2 laser resurfacing for anyone with excessive skin sagging or an acne breakout.
When do I see results?
You may begin to see results soon after your session, but the burst of new collagen production continues for several months. As a result, it’s not uncommon for people to see their appearance improve over the following weeks and months, with the best results appearing in the 3-6 month range. Your overall results can last for years if you avoid direct sun as much as possible and use sunscreen whenever you do go out.
You can expect your skin to remain light pink for several weeks to several months until the entire area has healed completely.
Do you have skin concerns that leave you unhappy with your appearance? CO2 laser resurfacing might be just the thing to help. Contact the master aestheticians at Eterna Vein & Medical Aesthetics to schedule a consultation by giving us a call at 253-268-3400 today.