Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Laser Skin Resurfacing

Years of sun exposure cause much of the damage to your skin, resulting in wrinkles, age spots, and a rough, leathery appearance. Fortunately, carbon dioxide (CO2) laser skin resurfacing provides a solution for people in San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, and surrounding Northern California communities treated at Kaiser Permanente.

CO2 Laser Treatments 

A CO2 laser skin resurfacing treatment is the best choice for women and men concerned about significant wrinkling and sun damage that require a more aggressive laser procedure. It’s ideally suited for patients with lighter skin tones who have skin discoloration. At Kaiser, our laser specialists use CO2 laser procedures to target: 

  • Wrinkles 
  • Sun damage 
  • Scars 
  • Warts  
  • Birthmarks
  • Thickened, bulbous nose 

Advanced CO2 laser technology enables our laser practitioners to customize the intensity of treatments to suit each patient’s specific concerns. In many cases, a single CO2 laser treatment session produces the desired results.  

View Before & After Photos

What Results Can I Expect From a CO2 Laser Treatment? 

A CO2 laser treatment delivers short, concentrated beams of a specific light wavelength, vaporizing the skin’s surface and targeting water molecules. At the same time, the laser penetrates deeper layers of skin to stimulate new collagen production. The results can be dramatic, with smoother, clearer skin replacing your rough, discolored skin.  

What Can I Expect Before and After Treatment? 

It’s important to avoid sun exposure for a month, both before and after your treatment, and apply sunscreen daily. A CO2 laser treatment is an outpatient procedure, which means you’ll return home the same day. Depending on the procedure’s intensity and the size of the treatment area, the provider will either numb the area with a local anesthetic or use a general anesthetic.  

Because the laser removes the skin’s top layer, it can take 10 days to 3 weeks for the treatment area to heal. During the first 24 hours after the procedure, you will apply a non-stick dressing to the treated area. Your practitioner will provide detailed wound care instructions, and you should closely follow them. You can expect swelling, scabbing, oozing, peeling, and redness during the initial recovery period, with the most severe side effects peaking after about 10 days. Redness can take 2 or more months to resolve completely. Your practitioner may recommend taking an antibiotic medication before and after the treatment to minimize the risk of infection.  

What Should I Look for in a Laser Practitioner? 

The treatment should be performed by a registered nurse (RN) or physician trained to operate a laser. Different treatment choices must be made for each patient. Side effects such as skin discoloration can result if an inexperienced practitioner operates the laser. At Kaiser Permanente, we provide only laser-trained RNs or physicians to deliver high-quality care to our patients. 

I’m Interested! What’s My Next Step? 

To determine if you’re a good candidate for CO2 laser skin resurfacing or to simply learn more about the procedure, request a consultation.

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