So, why do I need to stay out of the direct sun if I want to have laser skin treatment?
To answer this in short, it’s because we want to reduce any potential risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). PIH is the darkening of the skin resulting from some form of injury or trauma to the surface of the skin.
Within our skin, melanin has a major role in photo-protection. Melanocytes are the cells that create melanin which gives our skin the colour. Melanin is packed into little organelles called melanosomes and then transferred into our keratinocytes (primary cell found within our skin).
When we expose our skin to UV-radiation, some of us would tan which means our melanocytes are more active, therefore producing more melanosomes to protect the keratinocytes from potential damage. Thus, if our melanocytes are already active from UV-radiation and we decided to perform a laser treatment, which notably induces heat; then there would be an increased risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Co2 Skin Resurfacing
Co2 or carbon dioxide laser, is an ablative resurfacing laser that is used mainly to treat mild to moderate skin ageing, including wrinkles, hyperpigmentation like sun spots and freckles, and enlarged pores. There are multiple factors which go into the treatment intensity and outcome, which are based on your skin concerns, skin type and flexibility for downtime.
Ablative lasers have the ability to vaporise and remove skin tissue, therefore allowing for a more intense treatment outcome. Modern ablative lasers are mostly fractionated now as they offer a more comfortable downtime process and generally reduce the chance of adverse reactions that are traditionally associated with fully ablative Co2 lasers.
Fractionated ablative lasers remove fractions of the skin and leave the surrounding skin intact, whereas full ablative lasers remove all skin tissue in the treatment area.
What do we use Co2 Laser to treat?
At Pavilion Cosmetic Medicine, depending on the individualised circumstances of the patient, we may use a fractionated ablative Co2 laser to treat the following:
- Acne scarring
- Post surgery scarring including hypertrophic scars
- Sun damage and hyperpigmentation
- Overall skin rejuvenation
- Uneven skin tone and texture
During the Co2 laser treatment
At your Co2 treatment appointment, after a Dermal Clinician consultation and post completing your pre-treatment consent forms, you will be taken in to the have your face cleansed and pre-procedure photography taken, before topical numbing cream is applied for approximately 30 to 45 minutes.
Once the numbing time has elapsed, our Dermal Clinician utilises the Co2 laser which initially feels like nothing at all as you are numb. However, as the treatment continues and the heat accumulates under the skin, it can start to feel like a mild sunburn that may sting somewhat.
In saying that, the treatment is over quite quickly and whilst not an extremely painful treatment, it most definitely can be mildly uncomfortable towards the end. We apply a cold compress to the skin to cool it down immediately after treatment and some of our patients will go under our Healite LED light to help accelerate healing time.
Downtime with Co2 laser treatment
The downtime of fractionated Co2 resurfacing can vary depending on the intensity of treatment. Most of our Co2 patients will find that their skin returns to normal around day 6 to 7 after treatment whereas some may notice it return to normal about day 10 to 14.
First 24 to 48 hours post Co2 laser treatment:
- You can expect redness and swelling, much like a sunburn on the skin.
- It will feel like a sunburn and can be uncomfortable.
Day 3 to 7 post Co2 laser treatment:
- Redness will reduce with each day and skin will start to feel very dry and sandpaper-like.
- Any swelling should have subsided by now.
- The skin will start its shedding and flaking process.
- As the new skin underneath surfaces, it will be pink, soft and slightly sensitive.
Day 7 to 10 post Co2 laser treatment:
- The skin should have fully shedded by this stage, and a little bit of redness is normal.
- The redness should settle by week 2 post treatment however in some cases, the redness can persist for longer, with each day getting better and better.
When will I see optimal results after Co2 laser treatment?
Optimal results can take up to 3 months, as it takes time for our skin to produce collagen and elastin and remodel the tissue underneath. However, we find that most of our patients start seeing results once the recovery process has finished (generally around 1-2 weeks after).
Pigment Reduction Laser
Pigmentation laser reduction is a common treatment we often perform at our clinic and here at PCM we have multiple technologies and modalities to address different types of pigmentation.
Hyperpigmentation is the overproduction of pigment clusters in the skin creating a ‘dark spot’ or ‘lesion’. There are many different types of skin lesions which are most of the time benign or non-cancerous however there are also malignant and cancerous lesions.
This is why having regular skin cancer checks (especially before having any pigment reduction treatment) are essential. In addition to having regular skin checks, seeing a Dermal Clinician or Therapist that is experienced and has knowledge of what potential suspicious skin lesions can look like is important, as we are able to identify if a lesion needs further assessment by a Dermatologist.
Both lasers work by targeting the chromophore melanin in the skin and work via a photo-mechanical and photo-thermal effect.
What do we use the Hollywood Spectra and Excel V to treat?
At Pavilion Cosmetic Medicine, depending on the individualised circumstances of the patient, we may use these devices to treat the following:
- Freckles or ephelides
- Melasma or chloasma
- Solar lentigo and lentigines
- Seborrheic keratoses
- Post-inflammatory hyperpigment (PIH)
- Hori’s Naevus
During the pigment reduction laser treatment
After your skin is cleansed, treatment areas are marked and clinical pre-treatment photography is taken. Depending on the parameters used, each laser and its associated sensation differs.
The feeling of the treatment can be as little as a mild prickly sensation which is more so annoying than painful, or slightly more uncomfortable and feel like a hot stinging sensation. Settings on both lasers can be adjusted depending on patient comfort level and skin concerns.
Once treatment is over, ice may be applied to the treated areas to cool the skin down and relieve any heat sensation. Post care products will be applied before finishing up the treatment.
Downtime with pigment reduction laser treatment
The downtime can range depending on the treatment intensity and type of laser used. Most of our patients will experience a little bit of redness post treatment, similar to a mild sunburn. This redness can take a few hours to resolve or up to 12-24 hours.
Pigmentation will darken either immediately or shortly after procedure, which will typically visually look like a graze or scab on the surface of the skin.
Grazing and scabbing can take up to 5 to 7 days to clear on the face, and up to 10 to 14 days on the body. Keeping the skin hydrated, moisturised and clean is ideal for skin healing.
When will I see optimal results after pigment reduction laser treatment?
Generally speaking, the results of the treatment using Hollywood Spectra or Excel V can be seen shortly after the skin heals from the first session. However, some specific types of pigmentation require more than one treatment session.
Your personalised treatment plan recommendation for optimal results will be discussed during your initial consultation.
Dermamelan Depigmentation Treatment
Dermamelan (by mesoestetic) is one of the top non-energy-based depigmentation treatments available and is widely used by many medical aesthetic clinics worldwide. Within our clinic at PCM, we have been using this popular treatment for over 3 years.
After over 5 years of research, mesoestetic has updated their dermamelan treatment into an innovative new formula which increases the depigmenting synergy and reduces the protocol time frames.
The new dermamelan aims to do exactly what the previous formula did but with even better results and less downtime.
What has changed with dermamelan’s formulation?
Mask application (dermamelan)
Mask was applied directly onto skin and looks like peanut butter. This mask was left on until directed to wash off.
Mask looks and feels the same, however, an extra sheet-like mask (ion mask) is placed on top to keep the dermamelan mask ‘hydrated’ and penetrate faster into the skin.
Mask duration (dermamelan)
Mask was kept on the skin for 10 to 12 hours depending on skin type and concern.
Mask is now kept on skin for 4 hours for all skin types and concern.
There is redness for at least 1-4 weeks with the skin constantly shedding and flaking during the course of the treatment (3 to 4 months). The barrier can feel quite compromised in the initial few weeks.
Minimal redness is seen in the skin during the entire course of the treatment and very very little shedding and flaking is experienced. Most of the time, patients will feel like not much is happening with the response in their skin due to the minimal downtime.
To learn more about Dermamelan, fractionated Co2 laser, pigmentation laser, or any other cosmetic treatments, book your consultation.
Interested in booking a seasonal treatment based on your personal goals?
We welcome you to Pavilion Cosmetic Medicine in Crows Nest NSW for a consultation and/or treatment session, which will be tailored to your personal concerns and overall goals.