Matrix CO2 Laser Resurfacing - Norwell, MA

06/09/10, 5:30 pm: I've just had Matrix CO2...

06/09/10, 5:30 pm: I've just had Matrix CO2 fractional laser resurfacing done at a MedSpa and wanted to share my experience as there aren't a lot of reviews of this particular laser out there.

I was at the Spa for three hours total.

My goal was to get rid of sun damage on my face and tighten the skin in my eye area in particular, but also hoping to lift up the rest of my face.

The spa only uses topical anaesthetic for this procedure and it was sufficient. The doctor would wipe off each area to be treated just prior to working on it. The procedure was not unbearably painful at all. I imagine getting a tattoo is substantially worse. He went over certain areas two or three times, and a minority of others only once. I smelt singed hair, but it was the smell of burnt skin. I did not need pain killers at any point.

I was given a BioPelle post-ablative procedure care kit to take home. It includes an ointment (like Aquaphor but with more active ingredients), a face wash, a gel moisturizer, and ampules for after-care. The spa also sent me home with a full-face gel mask to keep in the fridge and apply if my face got too hot. I only used it briefly around dinner.

06/10/12, 10:30 pm: A day later I feel great, there's no pain, minimal tautness. My skin is now darker and redder and beggining to feel rough in places where it will probably peel shortly. I had just two pin-prick sized blood spots on my nose. I expected a face full of them, but I guess this particular laser doesn't do that. However, after 36 hours of Aquaphor, I have five small spots on my chin, as the doctor said could be expected.

Three days later the peeling is well underway. The...

Three days later the peeling is well underway. The skin beneath is pink and unblemished. I do discern the distinctive grid of the fractionated laser even on the surface of the new skin, but it's not obvious unless you look for it. There is a pattern of pink on my right cheek where the laser 'stamps' overlapped. I have na pain, just an uncomfortable tautness if I don't moisturize generously after washing my face, which I was allowed to do yesterday, Day 2, for the first time.

End of Day Five. I am almost completely peeled. My...

End of Day Five. I am almost completely peeled. My neck, earlobes and edges of my face are still shedding. I have redness on my right cheek in an obvious pattern. Also, a very fine mesh relief all over my face, not visible unless you know I've had this done and are looking for it. You can see it in the photos if you view them in full size. The doctor says both the redness and the pattern will subside.

As for my results: clearly the right cheek seems to have reacted more strongly, with the redness being more pronounced. My sun damage is almost entirely gone. Not so on the left cheek. I still have freckles, not as noticeable, but I am very pleased with the smoothness of the skin. The doctor said I should count on having to do a second session in three months' time. I am confident that will finish the spots off nicely. Thankfully, the cost of the follow-up session is included.

For those confused by the way I'm counting the...

For those confused by the way I'm counting the days, I should clarify: the procedure was completed at about 4 pm on Saturday, June 9. So at 4 pm on June 12 it was Day three. But I wrote my latest update at close to midnight on June 13th, which is Day Five now. :-)

Six days later it is obvious that this procedure...

Six days later it is obvious that this procedure has improved my right cheek dramatically, but my left not as much. My right cheek is still red, as if it was exposed to more laser, and the sun damage was virtually erased from it. I can't comment on the wrinkles yet since that takes several months to develop. The past couple of days my skin has been quite itchy in the red areas.

Six days later it is obvious that this procedure...

Six days later it is obvious that this procedure has improved my right cheek dramatically, but my left not as much. My right cheek is still red, as if it was exposed to more laser, and the sun damage was virtually erased from it. I can't comment on the wrinkles yet since that takes several months to develop. The past couple of days my skin has been quite itchy in the red areas.

Six days later it is obvious that this procedure...

Six days later it is obvious that this procedure has improved my right cheek dramatically, but my left not as much. My right cheek is still red, as if it was exposed to more laser, and the sun damage was virtually erased from it. I can't comment on the wrinkles yet since that takes several months to develop. The past couple of days my skin has been quite itchy in the red areas.

Six days later it is obvious that this procedure...

Six days later it is obvious that this procedure has improved my right cheek dramatically, but my left not as much. My right cheek is still red, as if it was exposed to more laser, and the sun damage was virtually erased from it. I can't comment on the wrinkles yet since that takes several months to develop. The past couple of days my skin has been quite itchy in the red areas.

Six days later it is obvious that this procedure...

Six days later it is obvious that this procedure has improved my right cheek dramatically, but my left not as much. My right cheek is still red, as if it was exposed to more laser, and the sun damage was virtually erased from it. I can't comment on the wrinkles yet since that takes several months to develop. The past couple of days my skin has been quite itchy in the red areas.

12 days after the procedure: my skin is fully...

12 days after the procedure: my skin is fully healed and no longer itchy. I no longer need heavy moisturizer just for comfort.

The patterned redness still becomes apparent after washing and moisturizing - essentially any time I invigorate the skin.

I am religious about wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunblock and reapplying multiple times a day on face, neack and ears.

I agree with the doctor's assessment that a second session in two and a half months will be needed to deal with the remaining photo damage.

01/23/2013: I had a second treatment done about...

01/23/2013: I had a second treatment done about three weeks ago, as brown spots reappeared in full force in the course of the six months following the first procedure. I had to conceal the patchiness with foundation. A makeup artist at M.A.C. even asked if that was melasma.

I believe my mistake was to do it in the summer originally, especially as I immediately went on a beach vacation, although I was religious about wearing sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat. Anyway, the second treatment was less intense than the first. The doctor chose to go over my face only once instead of twice or three times as he had done the first time. The result was that I was fully healed in under a week, with maybe three days of downtime where I wasn't quite presentable.

My skin looks smoother and the patchiness is smoothed out, I now look like I had a bit of a tan all over. I do still have some brown spots remaining. It may take further treatments, or it may be an impossible mission, I can't say. The reality is that I cannot protect my face from the sun 100%, since you are supposed to reapply sunscreen every few hours. I wear makeup and this is just not an option for me.

The best thing coming out of this treatment is that my skin simply looks refreshed and more firm.

I've concluded that there are many levels of laser CO2 resurfacing and many different things that can be achieved. In my case, I probably had among the mildest of the possible approaches, since I by no means had the pain and swelling so many others report. Thus I can't say that my results are revolutionary. I would have wanted to see more suppleness in the papery skin around my eyes, where I don't think I'm seeing much if any difference. However, there is no question that this is a great and immediate way to wake up the skin for us ladies 'd'un certain age', and not something I would have been able to achieve with just cosmetics.

Just a quick follow-up for anyone reading: I am...

Just a quick follow-up for anyone reading: I am now trying various topical dark spot treatments to try to tone down the excess pigmentation that resulted from my skin's response to sun exposure after the two procedures. Even with strict sunblock application in the wintertime, I feel I could not achieve full protection, and my skin now has a faint all-over smattering of brown areas, most of them light enough to be difficult to show in pictures, but a couple visible.

Prescription Hydroquinone causes irritation and outbreaks so I'm trying the following over-the-counter cosmetics: Matrixyl 3000 Serum (Hyaluronic Acid), 20% C+E+Ferulic Acid Serum, and Olay Professional ProX Even Skin Tone Spot Fading Treatment.

I will report back with my progress.

Again, I do think the procedure has value in regenerating collagen, which cannot be achieved with topical products.

No luck with topicals

I actually decided to try Obagi Clear which is prescription only as it contains 3% Hydroquinone and after a couple of months of diligent use I'm not getting anywhere.

Conclusion: shouldn't have done the laser. :-/

Photos seven months after last procedure

Final conclusion: this was a big mistake

I want to show everyone the state of my skin today - huge brown blotches. I recognize their location as the areas that were particularly raw during treatment. My conclusion is that the laser made my hyperpigmentation worse and added to it where it burnt my skin.
Kyma Med Spa

I am basing this on my experience before, during and a day after the procedure. I will be following up over the course of the coming days and may adjust my rating if I am dissatisfied with my results.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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Comments (34)

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I got worried when I saw your review. It is post 3 weeks for me after fractional CO2 and I have brownish grid patterns on my face that get darker each day. I am really worried this pigmentation will be permanent. I totally agreed with you that lasers are not meant for everyone and I regretted my actions. Please wish me luck and lastly I hope you will find as treatment for your patchy pigmentation.
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Please be sure to use sunblock for ever now. It's your only hope of not making this worse. Have your derm prescribe hydroquinone and stick with that for several months. My face is a mess but I'm still going to keep trying with the proven product (hydroquinone).
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Hiya gals! Just wondering.... Did any of your docs pre treat you with 1 month of Hydroquinone 4% plus tretinoin? If you go into CO2 with issues of pigment it is absolutely imperative to do at least one month is this protocol. Then after the treatment (on days 10 or even 4 weeks after tx- depending on how aggressive tx was) it is also imperative to do the Hydroquinone 4% + tretinoin (we do .025%) for AT LEAST 1 month post tx. Sun exposure is a HUGE no no. For at least 6 months you should avoid any direct exposure to the sun... If you don't you will do more damage because ur skin is essentially vulnerable baby skin and will respond with even more pigment issues. If you were my pt and I new u would be going to a sunny destination I wouldn't have treated you until after ur vacation. So I wonder #1. Did ur docs have you pre treat with 1 month of Hydroquinone 4% and tretinoin? #2. Did ur docs post treat you with the same protocol? If not then this will explain a lot of your pigment issues.
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I had no pre or post treatment of this sort at all. Also they knew I was going to a sunny destination after treatment the first time. Today I am left with awful patchy pigmentation and will not be doing this again, that's for sure.
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i too experienced excessive splatter of brown spots with my 2 c02 laser treatments, even though I faithfully apply spf 45 daily and use makeup with sunscreen. Wish I had saved my $1300 and spent it on something else.
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Thank you for the great review. I just purchased a living social deal for this procedure and not I am nervous about it. Maybe I should have stuck with IPL. I have a lot of brown spots and and from your review I am not sure if this is the correct treatment for that condition. What do you think?
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I meant "I am now nervous" :-)
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My conclusion is that, contrary to claims, this procedure is inappropriate for dark spot removal. My face is visibly worse than before in terms of dark spots, to the point that a makeup artist asked me if I had melasma. This procedure will improve your overall wrinkle/suppleness but if your goal is to improve the area around the eyes it won't do that since the laser doesn't get close enough.
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The reason it's inappropriate for brown spots is because it increases skin sensitivity to the sun, so even if initially the results looked promising, it doesn't last, and gets worse with time. At least that's been my experience. I no longer go without foundation at all.
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I had c02 laser (2 treatments) in November and January and I agree with you 100%. while the suppleness of my skin texture improved, the brown spots worsened, even though I religiously apply spf 45 daily
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Thank you for responding. I have some scaring and other issues that this should work on but I guess I will not expect it to get rid of the brown spots. My Dermo had recommended it for my other issues but said I will still need to do a few IPL's a year to keep the red & brown spots away. I don't know if that is helpful to you but I thought I would mention it. I do find that they always come back so it is an ongoing thing that needs to be maintained.
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Yeah, I was led to believe the CO2 treatment would erase the spots for good. In any case, Alycia, do be prepared for the very real possibility that you'll need to do this a second time for real results with your scars.
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Hi I had this laser 3 weeks ago for my neck and chest.and There are pink and brown.is it normal?when Will go away redness and brown?
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I had this done 6 days ago. The redness is gone and jus have a little swollen around eyes. I haven't had any peeling tho like they said? I did use a lot of the cream and reapplied 6 times a day tho. I still see a lot of wrinkles do they take time to disappear? The day after looked like hardly any but now looks like more somehow? Please advise Thank you
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You should have peeled at least a bit, I imagine, since the whole point is to burn the very top layer of the skin off. My understanding was that the collagen production that is boosted by this method doesn't begin to show until three or more months later. You may need follow-up treatment for a really noticeable effect. Remember, this is an agression on your skin and it's good to do it across more than one session.
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Thank you for responding. I guess l will wait it out a couple of months since its only been one month now! The dr jus acted like I womd receive results in two weeks. I go see her soon again maybe ur right I might have to have another treatment but I wasn't expecting nor told that more treatments were needed. I have seen on line tho recently that couple treatments might be necessary
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Lady Penelope: Plewase id you could enlighten me. I had the SR1500 re:store 2.5 weeks ago for some acne scars and smoother skin tone... It seems my scars are more visable than before- deeper! But I noticed that you said "My understanding was that the collagen production that is boosted by this method doesn't begin to show until three or more months later." Have you found that to be the case? Do the scars tend to sink and then bost out again??? I'm concerned, thank you for your time, God Bless You
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Thank you for a great review. BTW...You have great bone structure! :)
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how soon before you could apply make-up?
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The first time it was about a week, the second just a couple of days because I realized I could already do my eyes even if the rest was still an oil slick! ;-)
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i finished doin laser treatment thrice m doin it fourth time today..ya i know my skin has improved but still people can make out my scars i wan to know wil my scars disapear or its jus enough for me if people cant make out my scars...
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You may need more agressive treatment. But the reality is that your scars bother you more than anyone else. Most people don't notice this stuff, and if they do, they don't give it a second thought. If you have beautiful eyes then you can be pretty certain nobody is paying attention to your scars.
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Thanks, LP. I have almost completely peeled, but very swollen and pink. Yes, I had very deep work done and there was no mention of repeating it. It is meant to be a comprehensive treatment that will continue to improve and last for several years. So, I guess I have a long period of recovery ahead. I am actually a little more uncomfortable today than the past 4 days. It is day 5-1/2. Just a tight, itchy feeling. More downtime needed. Thank you.
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P.S. I am 65 yr. old and have very fair skin, blue eyes, etc. Maybe that is a factor.
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It could be a factor but I did my procedure at a Med Spa. I can't imagine a laser as potentially seriously damaging as the one used on you being available at a spa. You'll do great, just let it heal. :-)
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