CO2 Laser Treatment
Why laser my skin?
Laser rejuvenation of the skin can improve fine lines, decrease pigmentation, tighten loose sagging skin, improve old scars and even modestly decrease pore size. There are many types of lasers out there for skin rejuvenation. These range from IPL, fraxel, to CO2 laser to list some of the more commonly used technologies.
What is the fractionated CO2 laser?
The CO2 laser has been in use since the 1980’s. Initially limited to cancer and other fields of surgery, it soon found a use in resurfacing of the face. This process initially involved taking off the outer epidermis and some of the papillary dermis to create a zone of injury that would rapidly heal and create a thicker, more youthful layer of skin after 1-2 weeks. The downside to this form of treatment is that the whole superficial layer of the skin is removed leading to significant discomfort and higher risks of hypo or hyperpigmentation and complications from the procedure. As technology has improved, the method in which we rejuvenate the skin has changed. Instead of taking off the entire outer surface of the facial skin, we now fractionate the laser. Small microscopic plugs of skin are removed leaving healthy skin intact surrounding it. From the untouched healthy skin and hair follicles, the skin is regrown leading to significantly less downtime and risks. Additionally, in the last several years, a new technology has emerged which may revolutionize this procedure, leading to even better results and lower risks: Platelet rich plasma.
What is Platelet rich Plasma?
Platelet rich plasma (PRP) has been used in medical treatments for decades. The platelets in your blood contain the growth factors and inflammatory mediators that start the healing process. When the PRP is injected into your skin it forms a mesh of fibrin and platelets that release these growth factors and can encourage soft tissue healing. For these reasons, PRP has been widely adopted in the field of orthopedics to speed healing of soft tissues and improve outcomes.
How does PRP work with CO2 lasering?
Recently a new flurry of research has been published focusing on the use of PRP in combination with the fractionated CO2 laser. When used together, the length of downtime you experience due to erythema and skin peeling can be decreased and the overall outcome improved. The result is skin that is smoother, thicker and more youthful. These results are long lasting and will typically continue to improve over the first six months of your procedure. In my experience with both fractionated CO2 laser with and without PRP, patients recover in nearly half the time and the results are better with the use of PRP. If you are considering procedures to combat the effects of aging, I highly encourage you to look into this innovative therapy.
Aric Park, M.D.
Shin MK, Lee JH, Lee SJ, Kim NI. Platelet-Rich Plasma Combined with Fractional Laser Therapy for Skin Rejuvenation. Dermatol Surg 2012; 1-8.