Carbon dioxide laser resurfacing
is usually performed on an outpatient basis, using local anesthesia in
combination with sedative medications given by mouth or through a vein.
The areas to be treated are
numbed with a local anesthetic. General anesthesia may be used when the entire
face is treated. Wrinkles around the eyes, mouth or forehead may be treated
individually, or a full-face laser resurfacing may be performed.
A partial-face laser resurfacing
takes 30 to 45 minutes, and the full-face treatment takes one-and-a-half to two
Following the laser resurfacing
procedure, a non-stick dressing is applied to the treatment sites for 24 hours.
You may be instructed to clean the treated areas two to five times a day with
saline or a dilute vinegar solution. You can then apply Vaseline®, Eucerin®, or
Aquaphor® to the area. This wound care is intended to prevent the forming of
any scabs, which can increase the chance of scarring and prolong the healing
In general, the areas heal in 10
to 21 days, depending on the nature of the condition that was treated and the
intensity of the laser settings. The stronger the settings, the longer the
Once the areas have healed, you
can wear oil-free makeup to camouflage the pink-to-red color that is generally
seen after laser resurfacing. Green-based makeup is particularly suitable for
the redness in the skin. The redness in the laser-treated sites generally fades
in two to three months, but may take as long as six months to disappear. It
generally persists longer in blondes and redheads.
Patients with darker skin tones
have a greater risk of healing with darker pigmentation (hyperpigmentation),
although anyone can be affected by this condition after laser treatment. This
may be minimized by the use of a bleaching agent before surgery. It also may be
reduced with the continued use of this agent after healing.
You should avoid sun exposure for
four weeks before laser treatment and liberally apply sunscreens pre- and