Our years as teenagers can be a difficult time for our bodies. Puberty sends our hormones through a loop, causing mood swings, hair growth, body changes and, most embarrassingly, acne.
85% of teenagers get acne, starting as early as 11. For some, this is only a temporary state, dying down as we reach the end of our teenage years. For others, acne can continue through their 20 and 30s.
But even as acne fades as we reach adulthood, it can sometimes leave a permanent reminder of its time on our faces, in scarring.
As much as we’re told never to pop or pick at pimples, acne scars are still incredibly common. One in five people with acne will develop scarring as a result of them. While some creams and serums exist to help minimize the appearance of scars, many people are turning to skin resurfacing lasers for help.
“Skin resurfacing works to diminish deep acne scars, providing a smoother skin texture overall. By removing the top layers of the skin, the lasers can reduce the size of the holes or wounds left by these scars,” writes specialists at Toronto Plastic Surgeons on their website.
What is laser skin resurfacing?
Fractional CO2, also known as laser skin resurfacing, is a non-invasive procedure where a carbon dioxide laser removes outer layers of damage from the skin. The laser targets many surface-level imperfections such as:
- Acne scars
- Fine lines
- Sun damage
- Dark spots
- Uneven skin pigmentation
How does it work?
During the procedure, the CO2 laser sends energy through the skin, deep and to your dermis. Here the laser’s heat stimulates the cells that help with the growth of collagen and elastin. These rejuvenated cells continue to grow over time, producing visible results of smoothing, tightening, and colour correcting.
Within 7-10 days after treatment, you’ll notices changes in your skin, such as texture and softness. You’ll also begin to see improvement in any scarring, as well as fine lines and wrinkles.
From thereon, as your collagen continues to grow over several months, you’ll notice improved skin tone and elasticity. Full results are usually seen within a year of the procedure.
Are there risks?
A fractional CO2 laser is non-invasive, meaning there will be no cuts or bruising. In terms of pain, it’s usually reported the procedure can have a tingling “pins and needles” sensation on the skin. Those with lower pain tolerance can usually opt for light sedation during the procedure.
Like all surgeries, some side effects can occur as a result of the laser. This includes:
- Further scarring
These side effects are rare, and almost all of them are treatable as they appear. After surgery, it’s advised to avoid prolonged sun exposure, as your skin will be extra sensitive to UV light. Wearing stronger SPF is often advised, and irritants such as makeup should be avoided for a few weeks after surgery.