Jeffrey Popp at Popp Cosmetic Surgery PC in Omaha discusses what CO2 Laser Resurfacing is and how it can turn back the hands of time.
Turn Back the Hands of Time with a CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing Treatment
CO2 lasers are used for skin resurfacing. Dr. Jeff Popp explained how the laser works, “It targets water molecules in the skin, heats them up and creates a burn that’s used to treat wrinkles, fine lines, sun-damage, blotchy skin, brown spots and things like that.”
And when Dr. Popp said it can target wrinkles, that means ALL wrinkles: mild, moderate and severely deep wrinkles.
So burning your skin will make your face look younger? The short answer is “yes”.
When the laser hits the skin, that heat is absorbed by the water molecules in the cells. It may sound odd, but basically the laser heats that water up and boils it. The water molecules then explode.
“This is all on a microscopic level so it’s not something that you’d see and go, ‘Oh wow, that’s an interesting chemical reaction occurring.’ The bottom line is that it creates a burn. And it burns to a certain depth. But it is a superficial burn,” said Dr. Popp.
During the procedure, Dr. Popp makes a pass with the laser on the skin. This removes the top layer of the skin. In a lot of cases, he would wipe that layer off and do a second and possibly a third pass.
Besides removing wrinkled and sun-damaged skin, the CO2 laser also heats up the collagen in the skin, physically causing it to shrink and tighten. Dr. Popp said this is something he can literally see as he is doing the procedure.
Dr. Popp has been providing CO2 laser resurfacing skin treatments for a long time.
“The CO2 laser came out as a technique for skin resurfacing in the early 90s. Prior to that, the only way we could erase wrinkles and sun damage were with chemical peels – that was the main treatment modality prior to lasers,” he said.
Since that time, lasers have overtaken chemical peels for the more aggressive skin resurfacing treatments. Dr. Popp still does lighter peels and he said there are still pockets of surgeons that do more aggressive chemical appeals but lasers have far more advantages.
The Benefits of the CO2 Laser Resurfacing Compared to Chemical Peels
Lasers are more predictable in their application. Additionally, the degree of the treatment is more precise.
Dr. Popp explained, “There is a greater precision because, with the laser, you can control the number of passes you make over the face. One of the big problems with chemical peels is trying to apply the chemical uniformly on the person’s face. There can be various reasons this doesn’t happen. Maybe the skin wasn’t prepped properly or a part of it was oilier than the rest. What ends up happening is you may get a deeper peel on say the forehead than you would on the cheeks.”
That’s the part of chemical peels that make the results far less predictable and less precise than the CO2 laser resurfacing.
The Road to Recovery
Dr. Popp warned, “Recovery is not for the faint of heart though. You WILL look like a burn victim for about two weeks.”
That is yet another reason to consider having this treatment done in the winter when it’s more possible to lay low and recover.
Dr. Popp and his team always tell patients there are two phases to CO2 skin resurfacing:
Phase One – Burn victim. The laser burns off all the skin and you wait for two weeks for the body to create a new layer of skin. In this phase, you cannot do much of anything except stay home and recover. As you come to the end of that phase, you will enter what’s called the ‘pink phase’
Phase Two – Pink phase. This literally means your skin is pink as new layers of skin grow. This phase could last for up to six months. The good news is that you are able to wear makeup at this point and hide it.
Just About Everyone Can Have It Done (If They Want To)
Unless you have particular skin issues, skin infections, skin diseases or other medical issues that could preclude you from getting it done, you are a good candidate.
If your primary reasons for having it done are related to age or sun-related skin damage, you would be a good candidate.
The best way to find out is to check with a board-certified cosmetic surgeon who provides this type of service…like Dr. Popp.
Dr. Popp said the results are quite miraculous overall, “It’s pretty impressive what it will do for people. You may come in looking like the Wicked Witch of the West with tons of wrinkles and skin damage but when you’re done with the CO2 laser skin resurfacing procedure, your skin ends up baby bottom smooth.”
Interested in CO2 Laser skin resurfacing? Call Dr. Popp at (402) 391-4558 to learn more or schedule your appointment.