Is CO2 Laser Resurfacing Effective for Acne Scars and Sun Damage?

So i plan to get co2 laser resurfacing, to treat acne scars, an uneven tan/sun damage. I also want to treat, want seems to look like rhinophyma on the right side of my nose. My questin is how effective is co2 laser resurfacing in treating these issues? Whays are the pros and cons. I mean for what i heard, its the most effective laser treatment out there. Lastly how many sessions do i need. There is one place in Manhattan that wants to charge me $4,000 which includes all costs. Does that seem accurate?

Doctor Answers 7

Laser Resurfacing for Acne Scars and Sun Damage

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Yes, CO2 laser resurfacing treatments are known to provide noticeable improvements in both acne scarring and sun damage. They can be adjusted on an individual basis and are often combined with other techniques for most dramatic results. As for the price of your treatment, this estimate can vary greatly depending on what exactly you need done and the doctor you choose to move forward with. It is difficult to assess the reasonability of the $4,000 quote you received without evaluating your condition in person. 

CO2 laser treatment

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I usually use a two step process for acne scarring.  First any deep ice pick scar need to be treated with 90% TCA.  I grind the TCA into the ice pick scar this creates a full thickness injury and allows the scar to fill in.  Then the face can be resurfaced with a CO2 laser.  There are many types of lasers available that work well.  The SmartXide Dot therapy laser allows nice control over the depth of the treatment allowing treatment of deep dermal scarring.  The laser is also excellent for the treatment of photodamaged skin.  

CO2 laser is an effective resurfacing technique

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CO2 laser is effective in retexturing skin and tightening skin on the entire face.  I employ the laser for the neck and chest as well.  In most cases, it can reverse much of the sun damage caused by years of sun exposure.  Cost varies depending on the intensity of the treatment.

Co2 Laser is an Excellent Choice

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1. Co2 laser is a wonderful treatment and is the best treatment for resurfacing the skin (fine lines and wrinkles/ sun damage/hyperpigmentation)  providing you are a good candidate.

2. Lighter skin tones work best for optimal results. Darker the skin tone the risks goes up for permanent demarcation or multiple treatments are required keeping power levels low.

3. Co2 lasers are NOT created equally. The power of a machine can differ meaning you may need multiple treatments or, if the laser is strong enough one aggressive treatment may be enough.

4. There is NO cure for acne scars, or any type of scar. A laser may soften the scar but, the scar will still remain present.

5. Costs range up to $4000... Be sure you are being treated by a physician using the best CO2 technology! Then it's worth every penny!

James Chan, MD
Portland Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Is CO2 Laser Effective For Acne Scarring? Yes

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The gold standard in laser resurfacing has been the CO2 laser for years.  These days, the addition of fractionated CO2 lasers (as opposed to fully ablative lasers) has helped achieve very good results with relatively fewer side effects.  In my opinion, any very aggressive laser treatment (including the Sciton Erbium) carries the risk of hypopigmentation.  Generally speaking, acne scarring requires an aggressive treatment.  The nature of your treatment will depend on your skin type (degree of pigmentation), and extent of the scarring present.  As an aside, the price quoted is very, very low for Manhattan. 

Laser resufacing can be quite effective.

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1)  Don't recommend CO2 laser..High risk of skin hypo-pigmentation (bleaching).  Few people use it.  Sciton fast pulse and slow pulse Erbium laser is safe and effective.

2)  You need a board certified anesthesiologist and an accredited surgical suite; so $4000 seems too low for safety.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

CO2 laser resurfacing for Acne Scars and Sun Damage

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CO2 laser resurfacing works very well for acne scars and sun damage.  The risks of hypopigmentation and scarring are minimized if performed by a physician with extra training and experience with the laser.  Ask to see their before and after pictures and what kind of training they have with lasers.  The price sounds like its in the ballpark, but I would have a few consultations to compare in your area. 

Angela Sturm, MD
Houston Facial Plastic Surgeon

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.