Fractional CO2Laser Treatment | What You Need to Know
The fractional CO2laser treatment can help you get rid of various skin problems including scars. Find out how the treatment works and how much it costs
Scars come in all shapes and sizes, resulting from a variety of factors such as acne, surgery, trauma, burns, pregnancy and even genetics. Scars have the power to break your self-confidence and impact your quality of life. Fortunately, the cosmetic industry today has a dozen treatments like the fractional CO2 laser which can help you get rid of various skin problems including scars. Dr. Rinky Kapoor, a celebrated dermatologist, walks us through the important nuances of a CO2 laser, and what makes it a safer choice for Indian skin.
What is a fractional CO2 laser treatment?
The fractional CO2 laser treatment is a high-precision, tissue-selective procedure which can target both pigmented and non-pigmented skin lesions. It’s less invasive than chemical peeling and dermabrasion. Although it’s an ablative laser, the fractional CO2 laser beam splits itself into several fractions, hence evenly distributing the intensity of the beam on the targeted area of the skin. In the past, the ablative CO2 laser would damage the darker skin tone due to direct, concentrated contact, but since the beam is fractionated in the newer version, there are no major side effects of using a fractional CO2 laser on Indian and Asian skin anymore.
Why is a fractional CO2 laser used?
Fractional CO2 laser treatment is the gold standard for treating scars. Dermatologists may also recommend a CO2 laser treatment if you have a botched face-lift surgery and the skin has now become non-responsive. It can, however, treat various skin problems, including:
- Sagging skin caused by sun damage
- Wrinkles and fine lines
- Acne scars
- Post-surgical scars
- Trauma scars
- Severe burn scars
- Stretch marks
- Different varieties of keloids
- Genetic scars
- Fine lines around the eye (crow’s feet)
- Skin tone disparity
- Overgrown oil glands (especially around the nose)
Fractional CO2 laser treatment is most commonly used on the face, but it can also be used on the neck, arms and hands. It’s an excellent laser treatment, provided it’s done correctly. Once the treatment is done, there is some downtime as there’s some redness on the face for three to four days, and peeling of skin. Hence, you require proper sun protection after the fractional CO2 laser treatment.
How does a fractional CO2 laser work?
The fractional CO2 laser is an ablative laser that removes the outermost skin layer that’s been damaged and warms the underlying skin to boost the development of new collagen fibres. Before the procedure, the skin specialist could advise certain precautions such as:
- Not to use retinol-containing products
- Avoiding sun exposure for two weeks before the treatment
- Ask you to stop smoking at least two weeks before the treatment
- Ask you to avoid consuming ibuprofen, aspirin, and vitamin E before the treatment
Make sure to follow these precautions to avoid any side effects in the aftermath of the treatment. There’s very little downtime to this treatment; you can get on with your day after 15-20 minutes of the procedure, and the overall recovery takes roughly two weeks.
What is the cost of fractional CO2 laser treatment?
The cost of a fractional CO2 laser depends on the type and severity of your skin condition, and whether or not you need additional Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) for faster healing. The full treatment usually requires 3-6 sessions, depending on what is being treated. A single session of a CO2 laser treatment can cost anywhere between Rs. 3000 to Rs. 8000.
Initially, this treatment was called the ablative CO2 laser treatment, used for treating acne scars, signs of ageing, and skin rejuvenation. It was commonly used in the West on white skin, but physicians in Asia were very sceptical of using the CO2 laser treatment as it carried a lot of complications when tried on Indian skin or darker skin types. But thanks to advancements in laser technology, we now have a better version of the CO2 laser treatment called the fractional carbon dioxide laser. It is now safer for Indian and Asian skin types with chances of side effects being very low, and the skin problems that weren’t treatable earlier can now be treated with fractional CO2 laser treatment.
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