One of the biggest advantages of the new, more sophisticated CO2 lasers is the significant decrease in side effects when compared to older lasers and older techniques. CO2 resurfacing has been around for a long time, but initially the lasers or much more limited with respect to the control that you had over them, and the treatment area was continuous without any islands of normal skin left in between to expedite healing.
The most publicized side effect of CO2 resurfacing was hypopigmentation, which did tend to happen in a continuous fashion, not being broken up, and giving the entire treated area a lighter appearance. This was sometimes desirable, but often left A line of delineation between treated and untreated areas.
New her CO2 lasers are significantly more sophisticated and allow your laser surgeon to carefully choose parameters and control them very closely. This allows your treatment to be tailored exactly to your needs, maximizing your benefits and minimizing your side effects. This is where all laser surgeons are not created equal.
In addition to increased control, most of the new CO2 lasers have the capacity to fractionate your treatment. What that means is instead of treating the entire surface of the skin, small zones of skin are ablated, leaving normal islands of skin and between intact. This allows you to heal quickly and significantly decreases the side effects while still providing the overall capacity for your desired results to be obtained.
In addition to hypopigmentation, scarring was always a theoretical risk, as well as prolonged redness. Even with fractionated lasers this redness can last 2 to 4 weeks in a normal situation, but when persisting longer is considered to be prolonged redness.
CO2 resurfacing can get beautiful, dramatic results at a very reasonable price. As I said though, not all laser surgeons are created equal. To guarantee you're receiving the highest level of care, seek out a dermatologic surgeon, oculoplastic surgeon, facial plastic surgeon or plastic surgeon who is board certified and fellowship trained in one of these "core four" cosmetic specialties.