Winter is the Best Time for Resurfacing Your Skin With Fractional CO2 Laser Therapy

The sun is hard on your skin. It’s not simply the exposure you have on one hot day at the beach, it’s a collection of every ray that’s ever touched your skin over the course of your life. Ultraviolet (UV) rays can mutate the DNA of skin cells, causing photopigmentation, skin aging, and even precancerous changes that need medical attention before skin cancer becomes an issue. 

The winter months have fewer hours of daylight, making them the ideal time to do something about the effects on your skin after they start to emerge. Fractional CO2 lasers are an excellent, noninvasive way to counteract the effects of the sun on your skin. Gul A. Zikria, MD, FACOG recommends winter laser treatments to his patients who desire younger looking skin. Here’s why the time is now. 

Resurfacing your skin with light

The sunlight that affects your skin is made from a continuous range of wavelengths including all visible light as well as radiation above and below what we can see. There are only certain wavelengths, those ultraviolet components, that damage your skin and require the use of sunscreen for protection. 

Lasers, on the other hand, channel all their energy into single frequencies, one tiny portion of the light spectrum, but with all the oomph of their power behind it. While there are many skin resurfacing techniques, including chemical peels and dermabrasion, lasers cover a wide range of treatments, from simple lunchtime sessions to full skin resurfacing using only light energy, no harsh chemicals or abrasives. 

The importance of collagen

Collagen and other tissues in the middle layer of your skin, called the dermis, support the health of the skin on the surface, the epidermis. In addition to naturally moisturizing and nourishing the surface, the collagen matrix also physically supports the skin, propping it up on a cushiony layer.

It’s here that lines, wrinkles, and photopigmentation issues originate. While your body retains the ability to manufacture new collagen tissue, which reduces the appearance of these flaws, it doesn’t start the collagen replacement function automatically. It needs a trigger. 

CO2 fractional lasers

For an aggressive resurfacing, the CO2 laser is prized for its power and control. This is an ablative laser, so the CO2 device works on both the epidermis and dermis. Dr. Zikria chooses to use the fractional version for skin resurfacing, which breaks the laser’s light into tiny microbeams to minimize the impact of the laser on your epidermis, making heavier changes below the surface. This results in resurfacing without downtime. There’s no after-treatment damage to the visible surface of your skin. 

Existing collagen is heated gently by the laser until your body recognizes the tissue as damaged. The collagen induction process starts, and over the next few weeks, old tissue leaves as new tissue replaces it. The benefits include a smoother support matrix with coloration that’s more even, moist, and pliable. 

Why the winter? 

Skin resurfacing of any sort creates controlled damage to create this skin renewal. Even with the fractional CO2 laser this tissue is sensitive. Your new skin takes time to fully develop below the surface. You’re more susceptible to the effects of ultraviolet light in the months following your resurfacing. 

What better time to avoid the sun than when the sun is avoiding you? Contact Gul A. Zikria MD, FACOG at 408-290-8289 to schedule your aesthetics consultation to learn more about what laser resurfacing has to offer. 

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