Light Laser treatments make small differences, but Traditional and/or Heavy Co2 Laser treatments make bigger differences. So if you’re looking for a greater change in the one treatment, you must be ready to commit yourself to a more demanding and longer recovery time with increased risk.
How the Co2 laser works by targeting water in the skin, vaporizing and removing it. Multiple passes can be made to remove and heat more skin.
Who is a good candidate?
Co2 Laser treatment is ideal for someone concerned about:
Lines and wrinkles
Loss of firmness
Scarring (i.e. acne scarring)
Who is not a good candidate?
Co2 Laser treatment is not ideal for someone with:
Melasma and pigmentation problems
Dr Jayson Oates performs Co2 Laser treatments at the government-licensed Academy Day Hospital in a safe and controlled environment under local anaesthesia and twilight sedation.
Prior to the procedure you will be asked to prepare your skin with Retrieve (Vitamin A) cream for at least one month in the lead up. You will be required to stop using the cream three days before the procedure.
Local anaesthetic is often injected into the skin immediately prior to Co2 laser treatments to improve patient comfort. During the procedure the skin may feel hot, so cold air will be administered for your comfort if required.
Immediately after the procedure Aquaphor (skin protectant) will be applied to the lasered area. Instructions about vinegar water soaks, regular cleansing and applying the Aquaphor and stratamed will be supplied to you.
Following the procedure you will be cared for by our registered nurses in the recovery unit until you are ready for discharge from the hospital.
How long will I need off work?
1-2 weeks are generally taken off work by Co2 Laser patients depending on the level of physicality in their industry.
For the first few days, the skin will begin to swell, weep and crust, and you will be given medication to control this. You may also become itchy during this time, especially at night, and may have the urge to scratch at the new growing skin. Phenergan tablets will be prescribed to help you with this. After a month there will be a reduction in swelling and it may appear you are losing the laser benefits – but don’t worry, the skin will continue to tighten for over 12 months.
The skin will also be red for the first week, and usually by day 10 you will be able to start wearing camouflaging mineral makeup to cover this. After 10 days to three weeks the redness calms down and you will begin to notice improvements in your skin. Mild pinkness in the skin may persevere for a few months, which is usually noticed when removing makeup, but will subside eventually.
Pain should not be an issue in the healing phase. In fact, you must let us know if your skin is painful.
Risks and complications
Co2 Laser treatment is usually very safe and complications are rare. However, like all cosmetic procedures there are risks involved that you need to be aware of. One such risk is infections, whether they are bacterial, fungal or viral. Regular washing as instructed and taking your medication will help prevent infection. And if you are prone to cold sores, it’s important to let us know before the procedure.
Increased pigmentation is also common within as many as a third of patients. If you already have pigmentation issues, you will be at an increased risk. Deeper laser treatments also risk scarring the skin.
Overall, it is better not to aim for the best possible improvement in the one treatment. It may be necessary to retreat the area after 4-6 months if you want to see further improvements, especially for wrinkles and acne scars.
Demarcation from a treated to non-treated area is also possible. That is why it is usually best to treat the entire face rather than parts. The neck cannot tolerate as strong a laser treatment as the face so some blending will be required.
Will there be discomfort?
You may experience a mild stinging sensation and it may feel hot in the area treated for several hours. Ice packs can help alleviate the discomfort.
Pre and post laser care
Your pre and post laser care will be managed by our registered nurses and dermal therapists. LED (light emitting diode) treatments will be administered pre and post laser to aid recovery and help reduce redness. Our dermal therapists will also discuss skin maintenance with you following your laser treatment and recommend products for you to use.
If I am interested, what now?
Your first step is an initial consultation with Dr Oates. You do not need a GPs referral for this consultation. Or you can have a complementary consultation with one of our Dermal Therapists or Nurses.
If Dr Oates decides that you are suitable candidate for a traditional Co2 laser treatment and you want to go ahead with the surgery, a booking for the surgery and the pre-operative care is scheduled. The usual waiting period is approximately three to four weeks.
You may wish to speak with one of our qualified Dermal Therapists or Nurses prior to seeing Dr Oates. During this free consultation, a Dermal Therapist/Nurse can discuss both surgical and non-surgical options to treat your cosmetic concern(s).