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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