Fractional CO2 Laser Review And Results After 10 Sessions
If you have pitted or indented scars from acne or other skin inuries, the most effective way to tackle them is by going through invasive treatments such as lasers. Fractional CO2 laser is usually recommended as it does not have a long downtime so you would look like yourself in about 1-2 weeks.
Fractional CO2 laser works by making tiny holes to injure your skin. As your skin is injured, it is triggered to heal which helps to reduce the severity of scars.
Fractional CO2 laser does not have a long downtime and risks because of the tiny injuries it created. Imagine if you have a tiny pinprick wound and a scrape wound. The pinprick wound would heal a lot faster than the scrape wound, and the risk of scarring is also much lower. This is because the pinprick wound is tiny and surrounded by healthy skin cells which make recovery faster.
My scars are mostly shallow but I have many of them concentrated on my left cheek which make them obvious. I also have a few deeper scars which I would say are moderate scarring.
Unfortunately, I do not have a before picture because I do not have a habit of taking pictures and selfies. My scars are mild so they are difficult to photograph anyway.
My experience with Fractional CO2 Laser
Before the laser session, the nurse would apply numbing cream on my face and I would have to wait at least 30 minutes for the numbing effect to take place. When it is only one thin layer of numbing cream, I could feel some pain from the laser which makes my eyes water. I would always request for more numbing cream so the nurse would apply 2 layers of numbing cream on my skin. This makes the pain much more bearable and my eyes did not water.
I have gone through 10 sessions of Fractional CO2 laser treatments even though my scars are mild. This is because lasers take time to work and it is usually suggested for you to go for at least 4-6 sessions to see improvements.
Each time, the dermatologist would increase the intensity of the laser. However, the aftermath of the 10th session of Fractional CO2 laser still seems mild because I have Asian skin so the doctor did not perform strong treatments on my skin. The lighting isn’t good in the photo above but the skin after laser is just a tad redder than shown in the picture.
If you look at photos and videos of Asian skin after Fractional CO2 laser, they don’t look scary unlike the skin of white people who have more intense sessions that make their skin bleed. Generally, the more melanin you have, the more laser-unfriendly your skin is due to the risk of hyperpigmentation that could potentially develop after laser.
Effect on pitted scars
I would say that my shallow indented scars improve by about 70%. The moderate scars hardly improve though. I would say that they only improve by 10-20%.
Effect on hyperpigmentation or acne marks
I had some scars which are not pitted but are in the form of marks. Technically, they are not scars but hyperpigmentation.
Those hyperpigmentation or acne marks do improve a little from the Fractional CO2 laser but I was surprised that they wouldn’t totally disappear after a few sessions. I had more success with fading this type of scars with skincare products.
Effect on clogged pores, whiteheads and blackheads
In my experience, Fractional CO2 laser is not effective at all for clogged pores, whiteheads and blackheads.
Effect on enlarged pores
Fractional CO2 laser only temporarily minimizes the appearance of large pores. After a while, the pores would go back to normal.
Side Effects of Fractional CO2 Laser
My dermatologist told me that there are no side effects from Fractional CO2 Laser but I do experience it.
Fractional CO2 Laser left some permanent tiny pinhole scars on my skin. They are not obvious and can only be seen under strong lighting. If you google around, you will find that there are other individuals who have this side effect as well.
My pinhole scars are very mild as I didn’t go through high intensity Fractional CO2 Laser sessions due to my Asian skin type. I can totally see why Caucasians would have worse permanent pinhole scarring as they go through more aggressive laser treatments.
I asked my dermatologist about the pinhole scarring but he said that they would go away after a few weeks more. It is definitely not the case with my skin as I still have those pinhole scarring 6 months later.
I think I started to notice that the permanent pinhole scarring happened around session 4 or 5 of the laser. Despite that, I still continued with the laser treatments because the pinholes are not obvious and I want my scars to improve.
Despite the pinhole scars caused by the Fractional CO2 laser, I’m glad that I had laser done because my overall complexion looks better due to the improvement in my mild scars. Thus, the pros outweighs the cons in my case.
If you want to have Fractional CO2 laser done, you really have to consider the risk of getting pinhole scarring. If you do not have scars but simply want to rejuvenate your skin, then I don’t recommend going through Fractional CO2 Laser because it is not worth the risk.