Ablative Carbon Dioxide

Using a special scanner attached to a carbon dioxide laser, your dermatologist can delicately exfoliate your skin accurately layer by layer. The superficial layer of the skin is removed and the deeper layer of the skin is exposed. Collagen is then stimulated and a new layer of skin is formed over a period of time. With this precise control over the interaction between the laser energy and the skin, bleeding is eliminated and scarring, which is generally associated with other forms of wrinkle treatment, is significantly reduced.

  • Fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes and mouth,
  • Acne, traumatic, chicken-pox and surgical scars,
  • Photodamaged skin

Your dermatologist will take your medical history, age, skin type (including pigmentation) and desired results into consideration to determine whether you are a suitable patient for Laser Skin Re-Surfacing. Be sure to mention any past or present viral infection, sun sensitivity, drug (e.g. isotretinoin) used within the past year, problem with wound healing or prior chemical peel or dermabrasion to your dermatologist.

This depends on the type and depth of the wrinkles or scars you have. One or more treatment sessions may be required.

Your dermatologist will usually schedule a test patch (about 3 em in diameter) for you before conducting the full laser skin re-surfacing.

The reason why a test patch is done is to ascertain the risk of hyperpigmentation and scarring you may have.

If all goes well with the test patch (allowing 8 -12 weeks postoperatively to look for adverse effects), and you remain committed to have the laser treatment, your dermatologists will schedule you for full laser resurfacing. The whole procedure usually takes less than 1 hour. You can expect to go home immediately after the treatment.

Following the laser re-surfacing procedure you may expect slight swelling and redness on the treated sites.

The initial redness fades in a few weeks to light pink, which can be easily camouflaged with cosmetics. The redness usually disappears completely in 3 -6 months for most patients.

Generally patients enjoy a short recovery time after laser skin re-surfacing.

You can return to work as soon as you feel comfortable. Most patients prefer to wait till their laser-treated areas can be covered with cosmetics (usually by day 7) before returning to work.

It is important to avoid direct sun exposure for several months following the laser treatment.  Some  patients may experience transient hyperpigmentation (increased pig mentation) or hypopigmentation (decreased pigmentation) on the laser-treated areas and these resolve in several months.

1. Local Anaesthesia

  • Usually you will need local anaesthesia for laser skin re-surfacing treatment.

2. Topical Anaesthesia

  • Some patients will need topical anaesthesia only.
  • Topical anaesthesia cream applied under occlusion 1 hour prior to the laser re-surfacing treatment may provide pain relief during the treatment (no injection, is needed).

Precautions to take following your Laser Skin Re-Surfacing treatment

  • Avoid direct exposure to sunlight.
  • DO NOT rub, scratch or pick at the treated skin.
  • Avoid swimming and contact sports before the laser wound heals.
  • If the laser-treated skin shows signs of infection (e.g. presence of pain, redness, swelling or pus), notify your dermatologist or the nurse-in-charge of the Operating Theatre at the National Skin Centre immediately.

Wrinkles are removed by destroying and removing the top layer of the skin. When the skin laser wound heals, it becomes tightened and the wrinkle lines disappear or become less prominent.


You may feel mild pain during the laser skin resurfacing procedure.

Laser Wounding Healing 

Laser treatment causes a superficial burn on the surface of the skin which takes several days to heal. This is associated with some skin swelling, oozing and crusting on the treated skin. It usually takes 4 -10 days for the skin to heal.

Erythema (Redness)

Redness is usual and should not be regarded as a complication of laser treatment. It typically lasts 3 -6 months and can be camouflaged with cosmetics.

Hyperpigmentation (Increased Pigmentation)

Hyperpigmentation following laser treatment is most often seen in patients with dark skin colour tone but it can also occur in patients with light skin colour tone. Pigmentation may be minimized by applying a bleaching cream prescribed by your dermatologist.

Milia and acne may occur, especially if an occlusive ointment is used after laser treatment.

Herpes Simplex Infection

Herpes simplex infection can occur in patients who have a past history of cold sore. You should report any sign of herpes simplex infection (presenting as blisters and erosions) to your dermatologist immediately.


The risk of scarring may be increased in patients who have recently been treated with oral retinoids (e.g. isotretinoin). It may also occur in those who develop secondary bacterial lnfection after laser treatment. Secondary bacterial infection may occur if the laser wound is not properly cleansed and dressed.