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Fractional CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing

Fractional CO2 laser skin resurfacing is a cosmetic dermatology procedure that utilizes the precision and power of carbon dioxide (CO2) laser technology for skin rejuvenation. Known as skin resurfacing, fractional CO2 laser treatments improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and smooth skin texture. Laser skin resurfacing with the fractional CO2 laser is one of the most effective procedures to treat photoaging and mild scarring, with minimal downtime.

Fractional CO2 laser resurfacing uses SmartXide Tetra technology, also called CoolPeel®. This highly specialized laser precisely controls high-powered energy delivered to the skin in short pulse-like applications. With the specialized handpiece, the provider targets only the specified treatment areas, sparing the surrounding tissue.

The energy generated vaporizes the superficial layers of skin and the heat produces in the small pulse bursts encourages collagen production. The body’s natural healing process then replaces damaged tissue with new, healthy skin cells, while the collagen production tightens the skin resulting in firmer, more supple appearance.

Skin aged by the sun, or photoaging, is characterized by skin laxity (loose skin), irregular coloration and texture, as well as fine lines, and wrinkles. Fractional CO2 laser skin resurfacing can effectively treat scars, wrinkles, and blemishes on the face, neck, chest, arms, and the tops of the hands to renew and revitalize the skin with minimal downtime. Here’s what you can treat with a fractional CO2 laser skin resurfacing application:

  • Fine lines and wrinkles: A great treatment for fine wrinkles around the eyes (crow’s feet), mouth (vertical lip lines), and forehead, where signs of aging are most prominent. New collagen production leads to smoother and firmer skin.
  • Scarring: This includes scars of any age, resulting from acne, surgery, or injuries.
  • Sun damage: Watch those age spots and areas of uneven skin pigmentation improve. Areas of actinic keratoses, precancerous skin lesions, may also be treated if deemed appropriate by your provider.
  • Tone and texture Improvements: Treating dull rough skin, and uneven skin tone and texture for a smoother and more uniform look and feel. Fractional CO2 laser skin resurfacing also removes age spots, brown spots, and liver spots.
  • Skin tightening: Saggy or lax skin can appear crepey and loose. The treatment stimulates collagen production which leads to firmer, more youthful-looking skin.
  • Melasma: Although results may vary, it can effectively treat this challenging pigmentation disorder.

Dr Pennie and her team will perform a detailed evaluation of your skin including assessing your skin type, discussing your treatment goals, and setting realistic expectations. If you are a good candidate, the procedure will be scheduled.

On the day of the procedure, your skin will be thoroughly cleansed. A topical anesthetic, or numbing cream, may be applied to minimize discomfort.  Your provider will pass the device over the skin, to create the microthermal or heat zones. Depending on the size of the area being treated, the process can last from 20 minutes to an hour.

  • Immediately after treatment, the area will be red, much like a sunburn, and may remain so for up to two weeks after your appointment.
  • Skin care includes gentle cleansing, moisturizing, and application of prescribed topical medications.
  • We will recommend specialized post-procedure products to accelerate the resolution of erythema, redness, and swelling.
  • Swelling is typical and usually subsides within 3-10 days.
  • Skin will be dry and after several days will flake and peel. It is important to hydrate the skin sufficiently and not pick or rub the face.
  • Sunscreen must be worn at all times during and after recovery anytime skin is exposed to sunlight, including indirect sunlight such as when driving.

Because the laser energy is delivered in microbursts, the surrounding untreated skin creates new skin cells, facilitating a faster recovery. After 5-10 days, patients can return to normal activity. It is important to protect the new skin with sunscreen to avoid scarring.

Fractional CO2 laser skin resurfacing is highly customizable to meet your individual needs.  The procedure has proven to be effective in treating photoaging for skin rejuvenation, In addition,  the superior short pulse delivery coupled with the controlled targeting of the handpiece treats areas of skin damage without the lingering heat affecting the surrounding tissues. Increased collagen production can lead to prolonged improvements in skin quality.

Fractional CO2 laser skin resurfacing is the gold standard for treating visible signs of aging, sun damage, pigmentation issues, and acne scarring. It is for patients seeking dramatic improvement in skin tone and texture.

  1. Verma N, Yumeen S, Raggio BS. Ablative Laser Resurfacing. [Updated 2023 Apr 23]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557474/
  2. CoolPeel®. (n.d.). Retrieved 27 March 2024 from: https://coolpeelprod.wpengine.com/learn/

Contact Bliss Dermatology Group to schedule a consultation with Dr. Michelle Pennie to discuss Fractional CO2 laser skin resurfacing.  Dr. Pennie is a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist whose focus is on revealing and enhancing your natural beauty. She will listen to your concerns and discuss your goals to ensure you have the information you need to make informed decisions about your care. Bliss Dermatology Group is the leading dermatology practice in Florida’s Gulf Coast. We have offices in Englewood and Venice for your convenience.

At a Glance

Michelle Pennie, MD

  • Board-Certified Dermatologist
  • Fellowship-Trained Mohs Surgeon
  • Founder and Lead Dermatologist of Bliss Dermatology
  • Learn more

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