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Fractional Laser

Over the past 30 years lasers have evolved significantly in order to improve the skin’s appearance. The goal of laser facial skin rejuvenation is to improve the appearance of the skin by reducing wrinkles, improving the skin’s colour/tone/texture (reversing sun damage and sun spots), and tightening the skin.

The fractional CO2 laser is the latest technology to help improve the appearance of your skin. A CO2 laser uses CO2 gas to produce laser energy.

It is effective for a variety of conditions, such as:

  • Skin resurfacing
  • Acne scars
  • Skin tightening
  • Textural improvement
  • Wrinkles
  • Skin peels
  • Melasma
  • Age spots
  • Sun damage

The CO2 laser is the gold standard laser for skin resurfacing and rejuvenation. It has been around for over 20 years and is proven to work well. Fractional CO2 technology uses this same type laser that is time tested.

The fractional CO2 laser has significantly less down time then the traditional CO2 laser. Whereas the traditional CO2 laser resurfaced 100% of the skin to which it was applied, this created a long (2 week) healing time and produced significant and long-term redness (up to 3 months). On the other hand the “fractionated” in fractional laser means that only a fraction of the skin is treated. Since bridges of healthy skin are left in between the treated areas, the downtime is significantly less, with the peeling portion complete in around 5 days.

The most undesired side effect of the traditional CO2 laser was a long-term lightening/whitening of the skin that it produced by damage to the pigment producing cells of the skin (melanocytes). This was an effect of treating 100% of the skin. Since fractional technology only treats a fraction of the skin surface, permanent lightening of the skin (hypopigmentation) is  a low risk.

It can be used on most skin types – many lasers cannot be used in darker skinned individuals. The fractional laser can be safely used, by an experienced physician, in most skin types.

To understand more completely, here is a video of fractional CO2 laser:

What are the benefits of fractional laser skin treatments?

Fractional laser skin treatments have three significant benefits as compared to traditional laser skin treatments:

  • Increased Comfort – The fractional array of microbeams does not cause bulk damage as traditional ablative treatments do but instead cause small areas of damage each surrounded by undamaged tissue. As a result, fractional treatments are a much gentler laser treatment. Many patients tolerate the treatment well without anesthesia; other patients may opt for a light topical anesthetic.
  • Increased Safety – Following a fractional ablative procedure, each tiny fractional column re-epithelizes (i.e., regrows the missing tissue and closes over) typically within one day. This minimizes the risk of scarring, infection, or long-term pigmentation changes.
  • Decreased Downtime – Depending on the type of procedure, most fractional patients can return to normal daily activities almost immediately (for fractional non-ablative treatments) or typically within 4 days (for fractional ablative treatments).

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