I am looking at getting ablative CO2 laser treatments on scarring I had from acne when I was a teen. I've done a bit of research and it seems like ablative CO2 might be my best bet, but I was wondering how much downtime am I looking at for recovery? I'm currently looking at doctors in the area offering such treatments and any information would be much appreciated.
Ablative CO2 Laser Treatment Downtime?
Doctor Answers 1
Ablative CO2 Laser Downtime
The CO2 laser is an excellent laser to treat acne scarring. It is the strongest laser for scarring, and resultantly has the longest downtime. Other treatments can include Dermabrasion (unlike Microdermabarasion, Dermabrasion is a mechanical sanding of skin), chemical peels, punch excision and punch grafting and injectable filler treatments.
Downtime for the CO2 laser depends on if your treating your entire face or just a small area. The more area treated, the longer the initial swelling can last. If doing the entire face you can expect to be wrapped in a Saran Wrap like dressing for the first few days. You can expect to have what looks like a terrible sunburn for the first ten days. Some doctors allow the crusting in the first ten days to fall of itself. Some other doctors such as myself have our patients clean their face with a wet gauze six times per day to allow new skin to come in evenly.
At ten days from your treatment, it will be safe to put on make up and get back out into the public with little worry. But, without makeup, your skin will still be pink for about three to four months before getting back to completely normal. It's critical to be on an antiviral medication and antibiotic before your treatments.
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.