How Long Do the Results Last After the Co2 Laser Resurfacing?

I am scheduled to have full face co2 laser resurfacing next month for lip lines and crows feet. I am considering canceling the appointment because I heard the results only last about a year. What is the average time to expect the results to last. I am a 48 year old non-smoker although it looks as if I have. I can't afford 3500 a year to keep having the treatments. Thank you

Doctor Answers (6)

Laser resurfacing results are permanent, but you will still continue to age!

+3

CO2 Laser resurfacing involves vaporization of the upper layers of skin, creating a precisely-thin wound that induces new collagen and elastic fibers that tighten and contract as they heal. That's how the low spots (wrinkles or lines) are pulled tighter, and the high spots vaporized flatter. Deeper intact skin structures such as hair follicles and sweat glands provide the epithelial cells that grow and produce the new rejuvenated skin surface. Collagen and elastic fibers continue to be produced for about 4 months as the surface of the skin matures and returns to normal thickness and sebaceous softness, so any rejuvenation created by this healing process and collagen/elastin formation lasts as long as the new collagen and elastic fibers are present. Long term--NOT just a year.

The reason you have developed lines and wrinkles in the first place is a natural aging process whereby most individuals lose about 1% of their skin elasticity and collagen content each year over age 40. That continues even after "new" fibers are formed from the laser (or chemical peel, or dermabrasion) process.

So, you will continue to age, and you will indeed develop "new" wrinkles, but the old ones removed by the laser treatment are really gone. I'm not sure where you "heard" that CO2 laser treatments last only a year, but that statement is categorically incorrect. It's just that the laser doesn't have the ability to "stop time!"

Be careful about over-aggressive treatment, particularly in the lip areas; this is one area of the face that scars a bit more easily than other areas, and even without scarring, CO2 laser resurfacing can cause permanent hypopigmentation. What is being done for the rest of your face? You don't want to have a visible line of demarcation between the "done" areas and the "undone" ones! Click on the web reference link below for more information. Best wishes! Dr. Tholen


Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 135 reviews

Long-lasting co2 resurfacing results

+2

Unlike fillers and Botox which last only months, the benefits from laser resurfacing last many years.  You can prolong and maximize those benefits by practicing adequate sun protection.  The procedure generates an entirely new layer of epidermal tissue (the top layer of skin) as well as tightening dermal tissue (the deeper layer of skin).  There is no comparison to laser resurfacing using a co2 laser for improvement of skin texture, color irregularities, and skin tightening.  Do find a dermatologist who has years of laser experience and training to perform your procedure.  It is ideally suited to those patients who desire improvement in the depth of their wrinkes, particularly around the eyes and mouth. 

Laurie Jacobson, MD
Seattle Dermatologist
4.5 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

CO2 laser resurfacing does cause permanent improvement in your facial skin

+2

You can expect to have long-lasting benefits from CO2 laser resurfacing. Obviously, the more aggressive the treatment the greater and longer-lasting benefit you will receive. However, this must be balanced with the risk of complications. However, you can expect to have permanent improvement in the areas that concern you. Much like surgery, these procedure set the clock back but the clock is still running. You will continue to age but should look younger than you would have without the treatments.

Stephen Weber MD, FACS

Stephen Weber, MD, FACS
Denver Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

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CO2 laser resurfacing is along lasting procedure with permanent benefits.

+2

C02 laser resurfacing causes permanent improvement (and also permanent side effect if done poorly) that is long-lasting treatment that will set back the aging clock.  Be certain that your doctor has extensive experience treating 100's of patients and knows how to deal with any and all complications.  A dermatologist or plastic surgeon is best qualified to perform this procedure. Be certain to check out your doctor's credentials and experience.  Look at lots of before and after procedures of patients he/she has personally treated.  You usually only get one shot at getting this right!

Mark Taylor, MD
Salt Lake City Dermatologic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Laser Results

+2

 Your question is a good one but difficult to answer. It depends on how aggressively you are treated and this is a conversation that you should have with your laser surgeon. Certainly with appropriate treatment parameters for your problem, the results should last well beyond a year.

  Let's just say that the treatment takes 5 years off of your face. Going forward you will age but will continue to look 5 years younger than if you had not been treated.

William M. Ramsdell, MD
Austin Dermatologic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Laser facial resurfacing results can last years

+1

The great thing for you is that you don't smoke.  This will help you heal better and preserve your results.  Also use sunscreen religiously after your laser treatment.  Biopsies done 15 years after dermabrasion, which is a similar type of dermal treatment as carbon dioxide laser resurfacing wtih Fraxel Repair, showed new collagen from the treatment to have lasted.  The aging process certainly continues, and this mostly is related to the sun exposure we had as children and young adults. The results of laser resurfacing have to fight the bodies tendencies to age the skin.  Many people have very good results from laser resurfacing that can last more than ten years. keep in mind that you will artificially look better in the first several weeks after healing because of the plumpness of the skin from heaing's microscopic swelling / fluids.  As that subsides, some lines return but they tend to be less apparent than before the treatment. You can ask your doctor to review the preoperative photographs to compare your result and you will then see the improvement even though some lines have "come back".

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.