Hello Dr Irwin! I was lucky to be a former patient when I lived in Seattle, and had CO2 laser resurfacing by you in 2015 with amazing results, after having the procedure in another state in 2009. I am in my 50s and noticing the lines and discoloration returning. I am very fair and have freckles and thin skin, with small pores. Is there is a maximum number of times to get an ablative laser without inviting long term damage, thinning skin or other complications? I am contemplating doing it again because it was so effective for me but this would be my third time. I have done Botox and fillers but nothing has been as effective as the laser. Thank you!
You made my day. 🙂 So happy you got great results. Great questions and here are some laser misconceptions:
Can lasers like CO2 or Fraxel thin your skin?
The answer to this is really no; assuming done correctly and no complications. These types of laser do the opposite since they build your own collagen. Building more collagen thickens the skin (dermis) slightly each time you do it. We now offer a “maintenance” CO2 laser program in our office. Patients who have had at least one full CO2 laser can opt for this, if they just want maintenance of gains. It’s about a half treatment. If you need more tightening, wrinkle reduction, or skin cancer risk reduction, then a better option is a full treatment. You know my mantra though. Please see your dermatologist because everyone is an individual.
Will a CO2 laser help with discoloration?
Not so much. It’s really not a “color” evening laser. It will reduce brown spots just slightly, but in general a BBL/IPL or Fraxel (especially the 1927 nm wavelength) will generally be more effective. Many lasers will cause a temporary problem with skin hydration because they disrupt the barrier layer (epidermis). With a CO2 laser, expect to need a lot more moisturizer after for 4 weeks at least.
Can you do too many lasers?
Yes, but only if you space them too closely together, or the wrong ones are combined on the same day. You’ll want expert advice on this because your goals and skin will be unique. Also, if you’re receiving chemotherapy, or radiation or prednisone, and some other medications, it isn’t a good time to proceed. You’ll want expert advice on when you can start or restart.
Hope this helps,