Person receives laser treatment on face from dermatologist 1
Oleksii Syrotkin/Stocksy United

Laser resurfacing uses CO2 to remove the superficial layer of skin.

This type of laser treatment can be used.

A dermatologist or a cosmetic surgeon may use fractional lasers, a type of CO2 lasers. Traditional CO2 lasers are used to address fine lines and blotchy skin, whereas fractional lasers are used to address other problems.

Everything you need to know about CO2 laser resurfacing is here.

The C02 laser is used for laser light. Water in the skin cells absorbs the beams.

When this happens, the epidermis, or superficial layer of your skin, is vaporized. The dermis, or middle layer, heats up, stimulating the growth of new collagen fibers. As the area heals, new firmer, smoother skin replaces the old layers.

“The CO2 laser can be used to target specific areas of the skin, so the treatment won’t affect the rest of the skin nearby.”

How to prepare

You will be given instructions by your doctor. Pre-care can be a result of your medical history.

  • Avoid tanning or heavy sun exposure for 4 weeks before treatment.
  • not using medications that cause Sun sensitivity, such as doxycycline, for 3 days before treatment
  • taking an antiviral medication for a few days before and after treatment if you have a history of herpes or shingles
  • quitting smoking for 2 weeks before and after treatment, since smoking can interfere with healing

The procedure

The day of your CO2 laser treatment, here is an idea of what to expect.

  1. This outpatient procedure generally takes between 30 minutes and 2 hours, depending on the issue being addressed and The area of skin is being treated..
  2. CO2 laser resurfacing does involve some pain. The level of pain you experience will depend on the depth and extent of resurfacing, the skill of the dermatologist or surgeon, and your own pain tolerance.
  3. You’ll receive a combination of local anesthetic and a sedative to prevent pain and help you relax. For extensive resurfacing, you may receive general anesthesia so you sleep through the treatment.
  4. You will receive special eyewear to protect your eyes from the laser before the treatment begins.
  5. The laser wand will be slowly moved over the area of skin being treated.
  6. You can get an ice pack to apply for 15 minutes to prevent swelling.
  7. An antibiotic and dressing will be applied to the skin. Leave this on for a day or two.

You may need more than one treatment session if you need to treat a variety of conditions.

CO2 laser resurfacing can be used to treat a variety of skin issues, from visible signs of aging and sun damage to scars and skin cancer.

Fine lines and There arewrinkles

Fine lines and wrinkling can be lessened with the use of a CO2 laser. It may prove to be more effective than before.

It can reduce the appearance of wrinkling right away and it can also encourage the production of collagen, which can improve the health of your skin over time.

Sun-damaged skin

Exposure to UV light may contribute to visible signs of skin aging, such as:

CO2 laser resurfacing can make the appearance of the above less noticeable.

Baggy eyes

Baggy orhooded eyes are caused by loose skin above the upper and lower eyelids.

CO2 lasers can help tighten skin, and they may also help improve eyelid skin laxity and minimize the appearance of baggy eyes.

Acne scars

C02 laser treatment helps reduce the appearance of acne It is scarring. by stimulating collagen production that helps tighten and smooth out the scars.

That said, it may not work on all types of acne scars.

A 2018 review suggests combination therapy — including microneedling, subcision, and a trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peel — may prove more effective for ice-pick type acne scars.


“Over-the-counter remedies or freezing are usually recommended by the Dermatologist for warts. They may use lasers on warts that don’t respond to other treatments.”

Sebaceous hyperplasia

Sebaceous hyperplasia occurs when sebum gets trapped in an oil gland. When this happens, the gland becomes enlarged and causes a small, waxy bump on the skin, usually on the face. While harmless, some people have them removed for cosmetic reasons.

CO2 lasers can effectively remove these bumps and prevent them from growing back, though some research suggests that an erbium laser may be a better option. A 2020 review found that treatment with an erbium laser often only requires one session and involves fewer side effects than CO2 and other lasers.

Skin cancer

CO2 lasers can help prevent or treat skin cancers by destroying tissue with little bleeding or damage to the surrounding tissue.

A dermatologist might use CO2 lasers on pre-cancerous actinic keratoses or, in some cases, to treat certain types of early stage skin cancer.

CO2 lasers, in use since the early 1960s, are considered safe and effective.

CO2 laser resurfacing does involve some risk, but it is not as dangerous as most procedures. The treatment can be performed by a board certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon.

There are some side effects of CO2 laser resurfacing.

  • There are some skin issues.
  • It feels like a sunburn on the skin.
  • It was itching.
  • It was dry and peeling.
  • Sun sensitivity

It is possible to leave your skin looking like it has been burned after a sunburn. Your skin could also get blisters.

Potential complications

CO2 laser resurfacing can occasionally occur.

Choosing a board certified cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist and following their pre-care and post-care instructions can greatly reduce your risk of any side effects or complications.

It takes 1-2 weeks to recover from CO2 laser resurfacing. Your surgeon will tell you how to heal and how to avoid problems.

Here are the things to expect during the recovery process.

  • Your skin will feel raw for the first few days and may feel like a sunburn with It was itching., stinging, and peeling.
  • Your skin may get blisters, and you may have a yellow liquid on it.
  • After about 5-7 days, your skin will become dry and start to peel. The skin beneath may have a pink or pale appearance that will gradually take on your skin color. This process can take up to a year.

The tips can help you during the healing process.

  • Rub, scratch, or pick at your skin.
  • The doctor will usually tell you to cleanse the skin with a solution of either salt or water.
  • Your doctor recommends applying a thin layer of moisturizers or anti-infection medicine twice a day.
  • During the first 24-48 hours, apply an ice pack wrapped in a clean, soft towel to the area.
  • You can sleep with your head elevated.
  • If you have sensitive skin, apply sunscreen every time you go outdoors or wear clothing that covers the area.

According to RealSelf, CO2 laser resurfacing costs, on average, about $2,750. Some of their reviewers do report paying as much as $6,100, however.

A fractional laser treatment is more expensive than ablative laser treatment. Other factors that affect how much you pay for a CO2 laser resurfacing include:

  • location
  • Your doctor or surgeon has credentials.
  • The number of sessions is needed to achieve the desired results.
  • The area of skin is being treated.

“Insurance doesn’t usually cover treatments for skin conditions. Laser treatment for medically necessary purposes, such as removing skin cancer, may be covered by your insurance provider.”

You can learn more about your coverage by talking to your insurance provider.

CO2 laser resurfacing can be done by an experienced doctor to treat a variety of skin conditions.

Considering CO2 laser treatment? If you want to know if this treatment will help your skin concerns, you should book a consultation with a professional.

“A Canadian writer and author named Arida Santos- Longhurst has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. She can be found frolicking around her beach town with her husband and dogs in tow or trying to master the stand-up paddle board when she isn’t holed up in her writing shed.”