CO2 Laser Information
**This treatment requires pre-numbing. Please arrive 45 minutes early for your appointment so that you can have time to be adequately numb. This time is not built into your appointment, so if you do not arrive early we may not be able to do the treatment for you. If you are unable to arrive 45 minutes early for your appointment, please contact our office by phone (858-230-2876) to arrange an alternate numbing plan. Please tell your provider if you have any allergies to numbing medications.*
You may not be a good candidate for this treatment if:
- If you are prone to cold sores, please make sure the office or your provider is aware. You may require a prescription medication to decrease the risk of a breakout.
- If you have had a COVID vaccine in the past 2 weeks or plan on receiving one in the two weeks after your treatment
- History of keloid scars, scleroderma, collagen vascular diseases, bleeding disorders, active bacterial or fungal infection, compromised immune system
- History of facial filler treatment in the past 2 weeks
- Botox within the past 5 days or plan on getting botox within the next 5 days
- Active acne in the area being treated
- Accutane within the last 6 months
- Use of tanning bed, self-tanning products in the last two weeks (this causes an increased risk of post-treatment hyperpigmentation).
- Recent sunburn
- Please stop any retin-A or retinols 3 days prior to your treatment. Anti-aging actives such as glycolic acid and salicylic acid should also be stopped at this time.
- Minimal sun exposure prior to treatment is advised. Use a daily physical SPF for 2 weeks prior to treatment (includes those receiving the Swift Scan treatment on their hands).
- Avoid sun exposure for at least 8 weeks following treatment. Wide brim hat and sunglasses are recommended. A physical SPF 30 or higher should be applied every day. The skin is extremely vulnerable to the sun after a laser treatment. Protecting the skin and limiting sun exposure ensures you the best cosmetic results.
- A prescription skin prep protocol may be recommended by your provider 2-4 weeks prior to your treatment. This will help to not only enhance your results, but to decrease the risk of PIH (Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation, a darkening of the skin). Please discuss this with your provider. It may include a combination of hydroquinone pads, vitamin C serum, and retinol.
- You may start oral Arnica pellets two days before your treatment and for the week after your treatment to assist with healing and recovery. We do carry these at the office.
- Minimal to no hair should be present in the treatment area, including the face.
- Recent sunburn, use of tanning bed, and self-tanning products must be avoided for 2 weeks prior to your treatment (this causes an increased risk of post-treatment hyperpigmentation) and 2 weeks after.
- Make sure the office or your provider is aware if you want to add PRP/PRF (Platelet Rich Plasma/Platelet Rich Fibrin) to your session. PRP/PRF enhances results by using your blood’s natural rejuvenating properties such as increased cell repair and collagen production. Recovery time is also decreased with the addition of PRP/PRF. Optimal results from PRP/PRF requires avoidance of NSAID type medications (aspirin, IBuprofen, Motrin, Aleve, Naprosyn, and any anti-inflammatory supplements) for 1 WEEK BEFORE, and after the treatment.
What to expect:
- Your skin will be red and sensitive for 1-3 days. You may experience swelling during this time as well. It is typically minimal swelling. You will notice a white grid pattern on the skin immediately following treatment. This pattern turns brown causing ‘bronzing’ over the first few days. The rough brown skin will begin to microscopically slough on day 4-5 and eventually reveal younger healthy-looking skin. Sloughing and shedding of the skin may continue up to day 7-10.
- If you had a Swift Scan hand treatment, this process can take up to a week longer with the hands feeling smooth again and being fully recovered after 2 weeks.
- More aggressive treatments can take longer for recovery.
- Some discomfort may occur and it is ok to take Tylenol if you do not have any contraindications to this medication.
- Blisters should not occur. Please reach out to the office or your provider if you see the formation of any blisters.
- To decrease risk of infection, avoid contact of your phone with your face, ensure clean masks are worn, and avoid touching the face with your hands.
- Use only tepid water to rinse the face, no cleansers/soaps, or hot water.
- Then use occlusive ointment applied to a damp face multiple times per day. Vaniply will be used immediately following your treatment and we do carry this at the office.
- Rinse and application of ointment cycles should be repeated 2-3 times per day.
- Absolutely ZERO direct sun exposure; no sunscreen is allowed during this time.
- No makeup.
- To reduce swelling, drink lots of water during the day and keep your head elevated on a couple of pillows at night.
Days 4-7: (or once skin has normalized)
- Use a gentle cleanser with fingertips in circular motion. Do not use a washcloth. Gentle use of a Dew Puff sponge is permitted during this time. We carry these sponges at the office.
- Do not pick, rub, or exfoliate the skin at all once it starts sloughing. This can increase risk of scarring.
- Continue to keep skin moist with regular moisturizer and a physical SPF 30 or higher once the skin is no longer temperature sensitive.
- Continue to spot treat rough areas with occlusive ointment as needed.
- Vitamin C serum can be resumed day 3-4 if you can tolerate it. This will help with healing and enhance results.
- If using a skin prep regimen of hydroquinone pads/vitamin C/retinol that can be resumed day 7-10 as long as the skin is no longer feeling sensitive.
- Mineral makeup, such as our Perfect Powder, can be used started around day 4; normal makeup routine can be resumed after day 7.
- You may want to take a few days off of work and social obligations.
- Important social events should not be scheduled within 2-3 weeks of your treatment.
- No spray tans or self-tanner should be used for at least 2 weeks after your treatment.
- Cover your pillow with a fresh clean pillowcase. Wash your hands thoroughly before washing your face. Keep your face away from potential bacteria-laden items such as your cell phone and sunglasses.
- Schedule a follow-up appointment in 6-8 weeks. A series of 3 treatments often yields optimal results. Repeat sessions ideally should be scheduled 6-8 weeks apart.
- Keep in mind, improvements in texture and pigmentation can be noticed in the days after recovery occurs, however collagen remodeling can take 2-3 months so be patient for the full effects of this treatment.
Please call the office, or your provider, if you have any questions or are experiencing anything that seems out of the ordinary. In the case of an emergency, please go to the Emergency Room.
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