Before You Go
Questions to ask your doctor:
- Is there a limit to how many CO2 laser treatments I can receive?
- Are there other procedures that I can use to prep my skin before resorting to a CO2 laser?
Pre-procedure prep for CO2 laser resurfacing: Stop taking Accurane (oral isotretinoin) six months prior to your CO2 laser treatment. You may be put on a combined skin care regimen of topical retinoic acid, a skin bleach such as hydroquinone, a topical AHA cream, and sunscreen to prepare your skin for treatment.
On the day of treatment: Wash your face with antibacterial soap on the night before and morning of your CO2 laser treatment.
What To Expect
Your face will first be washed with antibacterial soap. Your eyes and teeth will then be covered with gauze or protective shield. You'll leave the office with a shiny pink face, so you may consider heading straight back home and avoid making any pit stops.
Who should do it: Patients should choose a doctor who is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the American Board of Dermatology and is state-licensed to operate a CO2 laser. CO2 laser treatments are typically outpatient procedures performed in a hospital or physician's office. If a patient is undergoing general anesthesia, the procedure is performed in a hospital.
Duration: CO2 laser skin resurfacing takes between 15 and 90 minutes, although much of that time is prep tune. Each laser pulse itself is applied for only milliseconds at a time. Partial treatment takes 30 to 45 minutes. Your full face may take 90 minutes.
How Painful Is It?
The treatment can be painful.
Options for anesthesia: General anesthesia is sometimes usedduring CO2 laser treatments, although most doctors will use a local, topical anesthetic.