Scarring is part of the body’s healing process but scars need not stay on your skin forever. The same goes with skin hyperpigmentation. But through innovative solutions discovered by dermatologists, many patients are now faced with several alternatives on how to improve their skin condition.
One of the latest methods out there is the fractional carbon dioxide laser treatment. According to Dr. Emehly Sevilla of Vine Holistic Medical Aesthetics, both young and old may undergo the treatment. In fact, her youngest patient was seven years old. Indications of the CO2 laser treatment include deep scars, big pores, stretch marks, fine lines, and skin conditions like syringomas, milias, warts, keloids, melasma, freckles, and hyperpigmentation in the face, underarm, under butt, knees, elbows, fingers and toes. It can also treat dark lines and ‘chicken skin’ on underarms.
Aside from erasing marks and blemishes, it is also a good anti-aging tool and can be done along with other treatments. Vine’s extensive and simple programs work in synergy for optimum effect. Dr. Sevilla said she erases wrinkles with fractional carbon dioxide laser and proceeds with the Botox procedure.
“If the patients do not have skin problems but want to tighten their pores, wants to have skin rejuvenation and remove fine lines, fractional carbon dioxide laser can do that. It’s a good maintenance as well. Even some 25-year olds already have mini-lines on their forehead because of the lifestyle today, so this treatment is the answer,” said Dr. Sevilla.
In the past, doctors only based their evaluation on the visual and history of the patient (background of what really happened) to know how deep the problem is. With the new fractional carbon dioxide laser machine, its skin analyzer can accurately assess the skin problem and recommend the ideal operation. It can tell if the skin is moist or dry and will set itself to the safest setting that the patient needs. However, Dr. Sevilla said that the new machine can also be set manually if the doctor wishes to.
"If you overset the treatment for a certain problem because you’re only visually only looking at it, it may cause inflammatory hyperpigmentation that will leave dark marks,” noted Sevilla.
The advantage of fractional carbon dioxide laser treatment is that it is measurable, precise and safe. “The problem with peels is that you cannot control its absorption. There are patients where you put this percentage and they would absorb and peel so much, but if you apply the same percentage to other patients who have thicker skin, they won’t peel that much,” explained Dr. Sevilla.
Furthermore, she said that with needling procedures, doctors can only base on the visuals and history taking so it may not be precise.
For safety, the doctor, nurse and patient wear goggles during the whole procedure which usually lasts for 15 to 20 minutes. If the area to be treated is near the eyes, they use micropore tape so that the eyes remain closed.
“Laser is okay with treating eye bag area but for safety reasons, we don’t recommend treating on the upper eyelid (on top of eyeballs) even if the depth can be controlled,” remarked Dr. Sevilla.
Before the procedure, anesthesia cream is applied on the skin. It takes 30 minutes to numb the face and one hour for extremities. A slight discomfort may be felt on the first session. But none of that will happen in the succeeding sessions, said Dr. Sevilla. She explained that the tip of the machine emits air and distracts the patient from any possible pain.
The procedure will leave the patient with pinkish skin. To go back to their daily activities, patients need to undergo cryoporation before leaving the center to close the pores, relax the skin and infuse more serum. Post laser cream is given to enhance cell repair.
After getting the laser treatment, avoid eating chicken, seafood and eggs. Do not wash the face or put on makeup for at least 12 hours after the treatment but sunblock lotion can be used as long as the skin has already absorbed the serum. Patients can come back for another session as early as two weeks but normal protocol is a month.
However, not everyone can just go and get the procedure. Contraindications include chronic skin diseases like psoriasis, allergies, fungal infection, eczema, rashes, measles and chicken pox. “Treat the skin problem first before doing the laser. But if the area to be treated is far away from area with disease, laser can be done,” related Dr. Sevilla.