Carbon dioxide laser (CO2 laser)
The carbon dioxide laser or CO2 laser uses an intense beam of light vaporizing water molecules in and around the skin cells. This causes heat damage to the skin cells following with an increase in collagen production to repair the damage.
The CO2 laser is used to treat various skin lesions such as moles, skin tumor, and solar keratosis or to smooth out lines and some types of scars. It can also be used for cutting the skin or removing unwanted tissue.
What are the benefits of having laser treatment?
Carbon dioxide laser is superior to traditional surgery. It can remove the top layers of the skin with less scarring than traditional surgery. Our doctor at laser premium clinic uses ultrapulse CO2 laser.
It provides the less chance of scarring compared to the old fashion CO2 laser.
Is it painful?
CO2 laser treatment needs local anesthetic cream or injection before starting the procedure.
Is it safe?
It is normally a local procedure without any risks. However, there are some contraindications such as in pregnant women, anyone with bleeding abnormal or taking blood thinner medication. For a person who has had skin infection, CO2 laser on this area should be avoided.
During the CO2 laser, patients should wear eye protection goggles at all time.
Is there any preparation I need to know about?
Avoid the sun for 3-4 weeks before and after treatment, and during any treatment courses.
You may develop hypopigmentation (white spots) or hyperpigmentation (dark spots) after treatment if your skin is tanned. The use of self-tanning products must be discontinued one week before and after treatment.
What will happen after the CO2 laser treatment?
Because the top layer of the skin has been removed by the laser, the appearance is similar to a small ablation wound with minimal swollen around the normal treated area. A scab or crusting may form on the treated area depending on the size of the treated skin lesions. If this happens, it is important not to pick it because picking a scab may leave a scar and may lead to an bacterial infection on the wound. Any scab should be left to dry up and fall off on its own.
What is the recommendation for wound care?
If you had CO2 laser treatment, some vaseline-type or topical antibiotic ointment should be applied to the treated area. Then, you will need to reapply this as instructed for a few days to keep the area moist. Avoid sunbathing, scrubbing directly on the wound, and do not apply any products which can irritate the treated wound such as alcohol and betadine. Keep the treated skin clean and cleanse the wound with normal saline.
What to expect once home?
Do not pick at scabs to remove them as this may result in scarring and hyperpigmentation. The healing will take 7-10 days. The treated area may remain red for 2-6 months. You may resume a normal skin care regime once the irritation has passed and the skin has healed. Always use sunblock (SPF30 or higher) throughout the course of your treatment.