CO2 Laser Resurfacing

Quick Summary
CO2 Laser Resurfacing
Procedure Length
30 minutes
Treat sun damage, wrinkles, scars, birthmarks and other skin conditions
Recovery Time
Approx 7-10 days
Risks / Side Effects
Hyperpigmentation, milia, infections, swelling, etc.
Final Appearance
2-3 months
Duration of Results
Long lasting depending on your age, skin condition and lifestyle choices
Average Cost

What are CO2 lasers?

A CO2 laser is a type of laser used in pulses or continuous beams to resurface the skin at a fairly deep level in order to remove blemishes and irregularities including wrinkles, age spots, and scars.

Is it right for you?

Some common conditions that CO2 lasers treat include:

  • Age spots
  • Sun-damaged skin
  • Fine wrinkles
  • Uneven skin tone or texture
  • Pigmentation
  • Mild-to-moderate acne scars

CO2 laser procedure

Prior to the procedure, patients may be asked to stop taking certain medications including some blood-thinners prior to the procedure. This will be discussed in a consultation visit with the doctor prior to the day of the procedure.

CO2 laser is commonly used under local anesthesia. In order to prevent pain during the procedure, numbing medicine may be used.

The CO2 laser targets water in the skin, heating it up very rapidly and destroying the surrounding skin. New, healthy skin grows in to replace the damaged skin weeks after the procedure.

Localized areas like the skin around the eyes or mouth may be treated individually or the whole face may be treated.

Recovery time

Your skin will look red for the first few days and then appear slightly pink for several weeks, and sometimes longer (especially for fair-skinned patients)

During this time, intense hydration and careful cleaning must be performed in accordance with the doctor’s recommendations.

When will you see final results?

Most patients will see final results in two to three months after the procedure.

How long will your results last?

On average, patients can expect results to last anywhere from 2-5 years. However, the longevity of  your results will largely depend on your age, skin condition and lifestyle choices such as wearing sunscreen and not smoking.

Safety information

There are few complications. Infections are uncommon if post-treatment instructions are followed. Patients with a history of cold sores may need prophylactic antiviral medication. Due to the depth of the procedure, minor bleeding is a possibility. Sometimes, the treated skin can look very different from untreated skin leading to a noticeable difference at the border of the treated area. Scarring and discoloration can also occur in some cases.

CO2 laser treatment cost

CO2 laser is usually considered a cosmetic procedure and is therefore not covered by health insurance. Treatments can cost around $1,000-$3,000, depending on the size of the area treated.