CO2 Fractional Pre & Post Care Instructions
Pre-Treatment Instructions for CO2 Fractional Laser Resurfacing
- Avoid sun exposure for approximately one week prior to your treatment. Wear a broad spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30 to protect your skin. If you are spray-tanned, plase exfoliate to help remove the tanning product in the treatment area.
- If you have a history of cold sores, please notify Dr. Ling prior to the appointment, so you may begin taking medication the day prior to the procedure.
- Stop applying any “irritating” skin products, such as retinoids, AHA’s, at least one day prior to treatment.
- Please pick up any prescribed medications and other supplies (aquaphor, white vinegar, milk, old T-shirts, saran wrap, etc) prior to your appointment.
- Eat a light breakfast the morning of your laser treatment.
- Have someone available to take you home after your treatment, especially if you plan to take anxiety or pain medication prior to the procedure.
- Arrive on time for your laser treatment with clean skin. Female patients should not wear any makeup / mascara, lotions, powders or perfumes on or around the areas to be treated. Male patients should shave the morning of their treatment but should not apply lotions or aftershave on or around the areas being treated.
- If needed, bring your eye glasses. Contact lenses should be removed prior to treatment.
- Wear comfortable, loose fitting clothes and shoes.
- Prepare your post-care soaks: 2 tsp of white vinegar in a quart of water (place in a pitcher in the fridge) and whole milk (just keep in the fridge)
- Have plastic wrap and old T-shirts also available
- Bring a large hat with you to the visit.
CO2 Aftercare Instructions: What to remember: the more moist you keep the skin, the better it will heal. Do not let it get dried out; it will take longer to heal or could cause pigmentary changes to the skin.
Basic aftercare: every 3 – 4 hours (6-8 if you use saran to seal it in) for at least three days (neck and chest need an extra day or two):
- Cool compresses (old T-shirts soaked in 2 tsp white vinegar per 1 qt water…keep this mixture in the refrigerator) x 10 minutes (20, if the dots turn brown=dry), followed by separate compresses with milk x 10 minutes.
- Wipe off previous ointments and dead skin with the soaking T-shirt. Clean shirt for next use.
- Aquaphor (every 3-4 hours) or coconut or olive oil (every 1-2 hours, as it gets absorbed faster)
- Saran wrap (at night, or if you’re bored at home. Seals face; keep it on after all the above steps for 6-8 hours. Avoid this if you have a latex allergy)
Soak then ointments every 3 hrs
- Dab blood dots with q-tip (these will resolve after the first 24 hours)
- Begin soaks 2 hours after procedure
- Frozen peas are okay over the saran wrap to help with swelling
- Repeat entire routine at bedtime, then seal with saran wrap
- Avoid direct sunlight and sunbathing
- Do not rub, pick, or scratch
- Avoid salty foods (swelling)
- Avoid heavy exercise x 3 days
- Take pain medications as directed
- Do not apply makeup or sunblock, or other products besides what is listed above for the entirety of the three days until you are seen for your follow-up appointment three days after the procedure (schedule under “Follow-Up Fractional Treatment”)
Take antihistamine (Claritin, zyrtec, allegra, benadryl) or add a couple of drops of peppermint oil to the olive oil for itching.
Long-term care (protect your investment):
- Retinoids safe beginning 2 weeks after the procedure; begin twice weekly, then increase frequency as tolerated
- Avoid direct sunlight and sunbathing.
- Apply sunblock 30 minutes before exposure (even just to go to work); reapply every 1-2 hours, as all sunblock is good for only 80 minutes.
- Avoid spray-on tans, hair dyes (including brow tints) while dots are present, as the dye will show the grid.
- You may have another procedure as soon as 6 months (great for deep wrinkles or acne scars)…the healing time will be shorter the subsequent treatments, despite lasering deeper, because you have collagen built from the first treatment.