Even after you learn to keep your breakouts under control, acne scars can linger. This is a common source of chronic insecurity for acne sufferers and, unfortunately, scars are notoriously difficult to get rid of with at-home remedies or over-the-counter skin creams.
One potential option is CO2 laser resurfacing. A non-surgical, low-risk procedure that comes with minimal downtime, this is a viable route for many who are wary of more invasive methods like dermabrasion. While results vary from individual to individual, CO2 laser resurfacing has been effective for many patients at significantly reducing the appearance of acne scars.
If you’re considering CO2 laser resurfacing, we will provide a brief overview of the procedure below to help you make an informed decision about what’s best for you.
What Is CO2 Laser Resurfacing?
CO2 laser resurfacing works by removing damaged skin layer by layer with a carbon-dioxide laser. This device sends short, concentrated pulses of light to remove the outermost layer of skin. At the same time, the laser heats the underlying skin, stimulating collagen production.
Modern advances in CO2 resurfacing ensure that – in the majority of cases – CO2 resurfacing is done in a fractionated manner. This means little dots of skin are left untreated, allowing for faster healing and reducing your risk of complications.
The new skin that forms following treatment is healthier and tighter.
CO2 Laser Resurfacing And Acne Scars
CO2 laser resurfacing can treat everything from wrinkles and fine lines to liver spots and pigmentation issues. It is also frequently used for those seeking treatment for acne scars, especially patients who have cycled through many other treatment options with minimal success.
CO2 resurfacing can break up scar tissue underneath the skin while encouraging the production of newer, healthier skin in its place. This does not eliminate acne scars altogether, but it can significantly reduce their appearance to the point they’re barely noticeable and can easily be concealed with makeup.
CO2 resurfacing can also help manage pain associated with acne scars.
What Happens During CO2 Laser Resurfacing?
The process of CO2 laser resurfacing will vary considerably from individual to individual depending on the severity of your scarring and the treatment area. Talk to your practitioner closely prior to your appointment to ensure you understand all preparation instructions and know what to expect going into the procedure.
In some cases, you will need a series of treatments done ahead of time to help prepare your skin for the laser, which decreases your risk of complication and ensures a positive outcome.
Treatment typically takes 30 minutes. Your practitioner will apply topical anesthesia to reduce pain. (Some patients may receive sedatives, but this is generally only when treating large areas of the skin. For acne scars specifically, you are unlikely to be sedated.)
Your practitioner will then clean your skin and use the laser over the designated area. Once treatment is complete, they will apply a barrier ointment to prevent infection and encourage healing.
Your skin will be sensitive for one to two weeks and your practitioner may provide topical ointments to manage skin irritation. Aftercare instructions vary from patient to patient, but you’ll likely be advised to avoid taking baths, using swimming pools or saunas, and wearing makeup while your skin heals.
While the majority of patients see results with a single treatment, some patients require multiple sessions. Your practitioner will work with you to come up with a treatment plan catered to your individual needs.
What Are The Risks?
Risks associated with CO2 laser resurfacing are low overall. You may experience mild issues like redness, rashes, bumps, and infections, but these should clear up on their own within a few days.
If you have darker skin you may not be a good candidate for CO2 laser resurfacing.
Your skin will besun-sensitive for up to a year following treatment, so be vigilant about wearing sunscreen, even on overcast days. BLUSH Beverly Hills recommends undergoing CO2 resurfacing during the fall or winter as this minimizes sun exposure directly after treatment.
The Bottom Line
CO2 laser resurfacing is a safe and effective means to significantly reduce the appearance of acne scars. While not everyone is a good candidate, a consultation with a professional can help you determine whether the procedure is right for you. If you follow aftercare instructions closely, the procedure is low-risk and can greatly improve your self-esteem and self-image.
Ready to get started? BLUSH’s practitioners have extensive experience with CO2 laser resurfacing treatment. Book a consultation today to talk over your options.