An Aesthetician's Magic Wand
Even though some clients think I can do magic, the closest thing to a magic wand that I have as an aesthetician is the CO2 laser. It’s amazing! Have lots of sun damage? CO2 laser resurfacing can help. Do you have fine lines that are showing up? CO2 can help stimulate collagen and soften them. Mild facial laxity? You guessed it, CO2 helps to tighten tissue because of the thermal heat. Sadly, many people avoid it because of the downtime that follows a treatment. I’ll say that the long-term results are worth the five to seven days of laying low at home.
Let’s start at the beginning with this incredible device. It was invented by electrical engineer P.h.D. Kumar Patel in 1964 while he was working at Bell Labs. It was and still is, the highest powered continuous wave laser currently available. The breadth of its use across different industries is incredible from being a scalpel replacement in surgeries to an industrial welding device to being used by the military in rangefinding. It’s all about power and settings.
At our office, we use both the Lumenis AcuPulse laser and the Lumenis UltraPulse depending on what a patient’s concerns are. It works by poking tiny holes into the skin with thermal energy and leaving healthy tissue in between to help in the healing process. The laser is attracted to the water in the skin. It heats the water to a boiling point and then causes the tissue to vaporize in that specific area. These tiny injuries get the body to start repairing the area by producing fibroblasts and stimulating the formation of new collagen. At a more superficial level, the laser acts as an eraser softening fine lines, reducing uneven pigment, photodamage, and improving overall texture. Some of the results like diminished brown spots can be seen right away but deeper lines can take several months to improve. CO2 laser can do a lot but your body needs to pick up the slack and do some of the work too.
Laser skin resurfacing and rejuvenation is a remarkable treatment but with it comes some homework (and downtime) that have to be taken into consideration when scheduling. Every patient is required to do at least four weeks of at-home pre-treatment with prescription tretinoin like Retin-A and prescription strength hydroquinone. Both of these products work to improve healing and reduce possible side effects like post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Afterward, a patient is sent home with a goody bag filled with all the products that they will need for the next month and a very detailed instruction sheet. Speaking from experience, you’re not going to want to do much of anything for a few days following your laser treatment. Swelling, redness, looking like you have the world’s worst sunburn and possible oozing are all very common as the skin begins to heal.
People of all ages can utilize this aesthetic tool for different reasons. It’s becoming more commonplace for people in their late 20s and 30s to have superficial laser peels to preemptively work on the first signs of aging. The older we get the deeper the lines so the more energy is needed to create change. A person’s downtime will vary hugely depending on how aggressive the individual treatment is.
I may not be the next David Copperfield but in my treatment room, the magic (and results) is real. I really can’t tout the CO2 laser enough. If you’re interested in it, do your research but don’t be scared off by photos on opinion websites. There you’ll typically hear from the people who are thrilled or severely disappointed while a huge slice of the satisfied patients are a quiet majority. Here's a link that will give you more info on the lasers Aesthetics by Design has and what they can possibly do for you. Sign up for a consult at our website to make sure you’re a good candidate.