Laser resurfacing, performed by a board-certified dermatologic surgeon, uses a beam of laser light that removes the outer layers of skin to a precise depth to peel and resurface acne-damaged skin, improve the appearance of scars, and rejuvenate the face for a more youthful appearance.
Overview of Laser Resurfacing
There are numerous lasers that can be used for resurfacing, a more intense laser treatment than a fractional laser or light treatments. At the Laser and Skin Surgery Center of Indiana, laser resurfacing is done using a CO2 laser skin resurfacing device.
The CO2 laser is an ablative laser, meaning it vaporizes skin on the surface which effectively removes the top-most layers of the skin. The CO2 laser can be focused down to a very thin beam and used to cut like a scalpel, or in a defocused mode to vaporize or ablate soft tissue.
In cosmetic applications, the CO2 laser resurfacing procedure is typically used to address skin problems such as:
- Photoaging (lines, wrinkles)
- Acne and other scars
- Skin rejuvenation / tightening
Laser resurfacing is an outpatient procedure that can take a few minutes to an hour depending on the size of the area treated.
The type of anesthesia used will be determined by the size of the treatment area, but all laser resurfacing treatments require some type of anesthetic or numbing due to the ablative nature of the procedure.
After the laser resurfacing procedure, an ointment is applied and the area is temporarily covered with a cotton dressing. At home, tap water should be splashed on the face every two hours, followed by ointment. Ice may be applied intermittently for two days after the procedure to minimize swelling and discomfort. The treated area should be kept moist with ointment for seven days or until the area is completely healed. Redness generally can be covered with make-up and sun exposure should be avoided with a sunscreen of SPF 30 worn and reapplied hourly to prevent UV damage to the treated areas, as they are more sensitive to UV damage.
DOT Laser Therapy: A Gentle Approach to Laser Resurfacing
DOT Laser resurfacing was originally introduced in Europe, and our practice was one of the first two utilizing DOT Laser therapy in the United States. Dr. Hanke has published 7 research papers on the effectiveness of DOT Laser.
The SmartXide DOT is a fractionated carbon dioxide laser (CO2 Laser) which is used primarily to treat sun-damaged skin. The laser produces microscopic holes in the skin which stimulates fresh collagen to grow and improve skin elasticity, promote healing and speed up skin cell renewal.
The DOT laser treatment is performed by a board-certified dermatologic surgeon on awake patients using only topical and cold air anesthesia. The face, neck, upper chest, and dorsal hands can be treated in just 15 minutes. The skin is very red for 1-2 days, but almost all patients report being able to wear their makeup on the third day. Redness resolves in just 7 days.
Some patients will undergo as many as four treatments spaced out at two month intervals. Improvement is progressive throughout the series of treatments, and complications from this laser resurfacing treatment are rare.
DOT Laser therapy results are often dramatic and include:
- Smoother skin tone & reduction of hyperpigmentation
- Reduction of skin redness
- Smoother skin texture
- Tighter skin for a more youthful look
As many CO2 laser skin resurfacing procedures require a lot of downtime, many patients request information about the DOT laser recovery time and what to expect post-procedure. As they say, a picture’s worth 1,000 words; below is an image representation of a single patient’s healing process after DOT laser treatment. The first picture is the day of the procedure. A photo was taken every 24 hours following her initial laser treatment. The final photo is only 7 days later. As you can see, the patient saw a complete recovery within just 7 days post-treatment with the DOT laser.
Day 0 to 3
Day 4 to 7
See DOT Laser Resurfacing on “The Doctors”
“My patients are basically looking for 4 things in laser skin rejuvenation:
- Good results
- Minimal down time
- No complications
- Minimal or no discomfort
“Fractionated CO2 laser skin rejuvenation using the SmartXide DOT delivers on all of the above. We have utilized the SmartXide DOT since 2008. We received one of the first two SmartXide DOT laser resurfacing systems in the U.S. and have published multiple research papers on the experience.”
“Redness, brownness, and blotchiness of skin are common features of sun damage. DOT laser improves these features and also tightens the skin and makes pores smaller.”
“The DOT procedure is performed comfortably using topical and cold air anesthesia on awake patients. The face, neck, and upper chest can be treated in 12-15 minutes. The face is quite red on the following day, but nearly all patients can wear makeup on the third day. The total duration of redness is 6-7 days. One or more treatments may be required.”
– C. William Hanke, MD, FACP