Laser Skin Treatments
Laser skin treatment has revolutionized the field of facial plastic surgery in the area of treating wrinkled, sun-damaged and aged skin, as well as treating birthmarks and spider veins. We also offer laser treatment for permanent hair reduction.
Schedule a consultation with Dr. Magill for a complete facial analysis and to discuss the available procedures and the best option for you.
CO2 Laser. CO2 skin laser resurfacing is used to treat fine lines, pigment changes in the skin, acne scarring, and to refresh the skin and remove signs of aging. We use a state-of-the-art laser, which performs both superficial and deep skin resurfacing. View our frequently asked questions below or download our CO2 laser brochure here.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Laser. The state-of-the-art Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) laser – the Icon Aesthetic System by Cynosure Palomar – allows us to provide the most popular non-surgical treatments, including hair reduction and photo rejuvenation for reducing sun damage, redness, brown spots and capillary damage. IPL treatment is now available at our sister clinic, Alyeska Aesthetics.
Aura Laser. This laser is used for enhanced skin rejuvenation, wrinkle reduction and/or the treatment of vascular and pigmented lesions. The non-ablative (meaning no removal of body tissue) laser treatment is a technique for eliminating blemished areas from the skin texture. This is a useful treatment method for both aging and sun-damaged skin. Non-ablative lasers are designed to penetrate into lower layers of the skin without injuring the outer layers.
Benefits of this treatment include the possible reduction of fine wrinkles, and reduction or elimination of unsightly pigmented lesions like solar spots or uneven skin color. Small red and blue vessels may also be reduced or diminished.
Diode Laser. The Light Sheer Diode Laser presents a revolution in the treatment of unwanted facial and body hair. Using superior technology and delivering results far beyond that of other lasers, Diode Laser is the “gold standard” in permanent hair reduction. The procedure disables hundreds of follicles in less than one second without discomfort and delivers unsurpassed, long-lasting results. Backed by long-term clinical data, it has the ability to permanently reduce hair growth and, unlike other methods, it treats a broad range of skin and hair types.
CO2 Laser FAQs
Still have questions? View our CO2 laser brochure, or contact our office to schedule a consultation.
What is CO2 laser skin resurfacing?
Laser resurfacing is a treatment to reduce facial wrinkles and skin irregularities, such as blemishes or acne scars. The technique directs short, concentrated beams of light at irregular skin. The laser precisely removes targeted skin layer by layer.
How does laser skin resurfacing work?
The two types of lasers most commonly used in laser resurfacing are carbon dioxide (CO2) and erbium. Each laser vaporizes skin cells damaged at the surface-level. In our practice, we use the newest technology in CO2 laser skin resurfacing. Our laser uses very short pulsed light energy (known as ultrapulse) or continuous light beams that are delivered in a scanning pattern to remove thin layers of skin with minimal heat damage. Recovery time depends on the extent of the treatment.
How does skin heal after laser resurfacing?
Laser resurfacing entails using a laser light (CO2 or erbium, described above) to remove the top layers of skin. This action then leaves the remaining skin cells located within the hair follicles to “resurface” the areas that have been removed from the laser. These deeper cells within the hair follicle structure are deeper than where the CO2 laser will work. The action of the CO2 laser will lead to an increase in collagen production under the skin cells, ultimately tightening the skin layer and reducing fine wrinkles. The removal of the top layers also removes unwanted skin pigmentation, DNA-damaged cells in the more superficial layers, and other damaged cells. The end result is fresh skin with more even pigmentation, decreased fine wrinkles, and more even texture. This procedure has even been shown to decrease your chances of getting skin cancer by removing all the damaged cells.
Who can benefit from CO2 laser skin resurfacing?
Laser resurfacing helps to improve fine lines and wrinkles, even out skin tone, reduce acne scarring, and can tighten the skin with regenerated collagen. Ask your doctor if laser resurfacing is a treatment recommended for you.
What areas of the face can be treated with CO2 laser resurfacing?
All areas of the face can be treated with CO2 laser resurfacing. Lines around the mouth and eyes can be treated with deep laser resurfacing.
How is CO2 laser resurfacing different than chemical peels?
The skin can be rejuvenated and resurfaced with either laser treatment or a medium-depth or deep chemical peel. The main advantage of the CO2 laser is that it offers the physician more precision. The physician can better control treatment depth and treatment area using a laser versus a topical chemical.
How should I prepare for a CO2 laser procedure?
Start by consulting a facial plastic surgeon to find out if you’re a good candidate. Be sure to choose a doctor who has documented training and experience in laser skin resurfacing. For example, Dr. Magill is specially trained in CO2 laser procedures. She can determine which laser treatment is best for you after considering your medical history, current health and desired results. Tell your doctor if you get cold sores or fever blisters around your mouth, as laser skin resurfacing can trigger breakouts in people who are at risk.
If you decide to proceed with laser skin resurfacing, your doctor will ask you to avoid taking any medications or supplements that can affect clotting – such as aspirin, ibuprofen or vitamin E – for 10 days before the procedure. If you smoke, you should stop for two weeks before and after the procedure, as smoking can prolong healing. Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic beforehand to prevent bacterial infections and also an antiviral medication if you are prone to cold sores or fever blisters.
What is involved in the CO2 laser procedure?
Generally, laser resurfacing is an outpatient procedure, meaning there is no overnight stay.
The doctor may treat individual wrinkles around your eyes, mouth or forehead, or treat your entire face. For small areas, the doctor will numb the areas to be treated with a local anesthetic. The doctor may also sedate you. You may get general anesthesia if your whole face is being treated.
If the doctor is just treating parts of your face, the procedure will take about 30 to 45 minutes. A full-face treatment takes up to two hours.
What should I expect after being treated with CO2 laser resurfacing?
Following the laser procedure, you will need to clean the treated area four to five times a day. Then you’ll need to apply an ointment, such as petroleum jelly, to prevent scabs from forming. In general, the areas heal in 10 to 21 days, depending on the condition that was treated.
It’s normal to have swelling after laser skin resurfacing. Sleeping on an extra pillow at night can help ease swelling. Putting an ice pack on the treated area also helps in the first 24 to 48 hours after laser resurfacing.
You may feel itching or stinging for 12 to 72 hours after the procedure. Five to seven days after laser resurfacing, your skin will become dry and peel.
You will probably notice that your skin is lighter for a while after the procedure. It is particularly important that you use a “broad-spectrum” sunscreen, which screens ultraviolet B and ultraviolet A rays, to protect your skin during that time. When selecting a sunscreen, look for one specially formulated for use on the face. It should have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 50 or higher.
It is also important to keep your new skin well moisturized. If you use Retin-A or glycolic acid products, you should be able to start using them again about six weeks after the procedure or as directed by your doctor.
Once the skin heals, you can wear makeup to minimize redness. Green-based make-ups are particularly suitable for this camouflage since they neutralize the red color. Oil-free make-ups are recommended after laser resurfacing. The redness in the laser-treated sites generally fades in two to three months, although it may take as long as six months for the redness to completely disappear. Redness generally lasts longer in people with fair skin.
People with darker skin tones are more likely to get darker pigmentation. This may be minimized by using a bleaching agent before and after laser skin resurfacing.
How much does the CO2 laser resurfacing procedure cost?
The cost of laser treatment varies widely, depending on what areas are being treated.
Because laser skin resurfacing is considered a cosmetic procedure, most medical insurance companies will not cover it. There may be an exception if you get the procedure to modify scars or remove precancerous growths on your skin.
Talk with your doctor and your insurance company before the procedure about what the costs will be and what, if anything, insurance will pay for. Most doctors offer financing options.
Is CO2 laser resurfacing right for me?
During your consultation, Dr. Magill will carefully discuss skin rejuvenation options with you in order to determine if laser resurfacing is right for you. Other options to accomplish your goals may also be discussed, and all of your questions will be addressed.
What are the risks?
Risks are very important to discuss with your doctor prior to any procedure or surgery. The benefit of any recommended procedure should always outweigh potential risks. Risks with any procedure (no matter how “big” or “small”) include bleeding, infection or the need for future procedures. There is also the possibility that you will heal in a way that is different from how you imagined.
Potential risks of this procedure include burns or other injuries from the laser’s heat, scarring, changes in the skin’s pigmentation, including areas of darker or lighter skin, reactivating herpes cold sores, and bacterial infection. Some patients may have milia (small white bumps) appear in the laser-treated areas during healing, and milia can be treated in the office.