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CO2 laser resurfacing

Among the most powerful laser procedures, CO2 laser skin resurfacing is a laser treatment that works by vaporizing tiny layers of skin.

By Zeel Editorial Staff, Last updated: June 26, 2012

The CO2 laser works by vaporizing tiny layers of skin, burning them off, and allowing them to heal as new, undamaged cells. The CO2 laser also stimulates collagen growth beneath the epidermis, producing smoother and plumper-looking skin in time. It's an ablative laser, which means it affects the top surface of the skin.

What It's Good For

Laser resurfacing is typically performed on the face. It can also be used on the hands and neck, although there is a greater likelihood of scarring. CO2 laser peels can treat individual wrinkles, laugh lines, scars, sun spots, and other facial imperfections, resulting in smoother and younger-looking skin. You can choose to treat a small blemish or to resurface your entire face.

Who it works for: The CO2 laser should only be used on lighter complexions. These lasers are risky for tanned and dark-skinned people, as they can cause pigment loss.

Recommended age range: There are no age requirements or limits, though most patients are between 40 and 65 years old.

When will I see results?: Your recovery from a full facial resurfacing with a CO2 laser may last seven to 14 days. This depends on the depth of the peel and your skin's ability to heal.

How long it lasts: Results are long-lasting. While skin may still appear to be smooth after six months, you may still make a repeat appointment to tend to new wrinkles.

Key benefits of CO2 laser resurfacing: The CO2 laser is a powerful laser than can handle deep and prominent scars and wrinkles. Wrinkles are typically improved by 60 to 80 percent.

Who's Done It?

Unless they own up to it (which they usually don't), it can be hard to tell what kind of laser treatment a celebrity face has undergone. Still, Brad Pitt, Dolly Parton, Ellen DeGeneres, and Kim Cattrall have all been rumored to have gone under the laser.

Find experts who offer CO2 laser resurfacing near you