Fractional CO2 Laser
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Fractional CO2 Laser: Use, Downtime, Side Effects and More

Fractional CO2 laser is a great technique for the removal of blotches, acne scars, and wrinkles on the face. It works by destroying the top layers of the skin, the ones that are closest to the surface, and that stimulates collagen and elastin growth. Once the damaged tissue heals, it comes out fresher, smoother, and tighter. The treatment is popular in Singapore where hundreds of people stick with aggressive approaches like this one to combat their skin problems. Let’s have a look at what the therapy can do.

What does fractional CO2 laser do?

fractional co2 laser diagram

The treatment removes tissue from the upper layers of the skin with a special machine that emits pulses of laser light. A small handpiece helps the specialist remove layer after layer, working one section at a time. The skin around each section is left intact to make for a faster healing process.

That sounds painful, doesn’t it? But in reality, if the procedure is performed well and a local sedative is used, it should be a mild form of discomfort you get to experience. It will vary depending on the depth of the treatment.

At the end of the session, topical numbing creams are applied on the treated area to soothe the skin and optimise results. Throughout the whole time, the patient is wearing goggles, which protect their eyes from the ablative fractional laser.


Before you go to the doctor’s office for your CO2 lasers appointment, you should make sure to follow his or her guidelines on what to do prior to that. For starters, you may need to take Retin-A for some time. Not to mention, you should limit sun exposure and apply a broad-spectrum SPF to ensure those UVA and UVB rays stay out of the way.

Additionally, the laser doctor might ask you to stop taking any supplements or medications that thin the blood for ten days before you undergo the session. This means you should steer clear of vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, ibuprofen, and aspirin, among other things. Note that if you can’t go days without blood thinners, this treatment may not be good for you and you should reconsider.

What is the difference between traditional CO2 lasers and fractional laser in Singapore?

Fractional lasers are the more modern counterpart of traditional machines. They are more superficial and are used for fine lines and dark spots. On the other end of the spectrum are traditional lasers that are more invasive and work for deeper lines as well as acne scarring.

Who needs CO2 laser treatments?

Laser resurfacing can improve a number of skin conditions such as sun spots, pigmentation, and sagging skin. Furthermore, it reduces fine lines and wrinkles, fixes irregular texture, and shrinks enlarged pores. As well as this, it helps minimise acne scars and treat sun-damaged skin. It is stronger than chemical peels and microdermabrasion, which means it achieves better results. However, it should also be noted that not everybody makes a good candidate for this procedure.

Who is a good fit for laser work?

To qualify for fractional laser skin resurfacing, you need to comply with a few requirements. As the machine works on the upper skin layers, it is imperative that your spots, scarring or fine lines are situated near the surface. Otherwise, the laser beams will not be able to reach the troubled tissue.

Furthermore, the problems you would like to address have to be on your face. The treatment doesn’t work for other parts of the body. For example, the chest, legs, and arms do not have enough sebaceous glands to handle the laser. As a result, the treated area might not be able to heal at all, which will leave you with disgraceful burns.

Who is not suitable for it?

This treatment is aggressive, which is why it is not appropriate for pregnant women and people with a dark complexion. Not all skin types are suitable either. Also, if you suffer from some medical conditions that affect your heart or general health, you may not be eligible for this. Do consult a doctor at a reputable laser clinic about it, focusing on all of the problems you have had in the past.

How long does the procedure take?

It depends on whether you want to target the whole face or just small sections of it. It will take between 30 minutes and two hours for the specialist to cover the desired areas. As this is an outpatient treatment, you don’t have to spend the night at the hospital.

However, that doesn’t mean you can go back to your normal everyday tasks right away. You will need to follow a special skin care routine for the first 24 hours. For example, you will be given an ointment to apply on the affected areas five times a day after cleaning your face thoroughly. The goal is to keep scabs from occurring.

Downtime of Fractional CO2 Laser Treatments

So, how long will you be recovering from this? Again, it depends on the depth of the procedure. The more aggressive treatment takes between four and seven days, whereas the mild form of CO2 laser resurfacing requires minimal downtime. Also, some procedures might call for general anaesthesia, which prolongs recovery.

How many treatments are necessary?

The lower the settings of the laser machine, the more appointments you will need. If you go with a traditional CO2 therapy, one visit to your doctor’s office will suffice. However, if you choose fractional laser work, you might need anywhere between two and five procedures spaced a few weeks apart. Keep in mind that if you don’t see any visible results after the fourth session, you should move away from laser resurfacing. Perhaps something else will be more effective for you.

Side Effects

After the procedure, your skin will appear slightly red and swelling might ensue. Other less common side effects include itching, scarring, changes in skin colour, infection, and even acne. No one can tell you for sure how your body will respond to the treatment. While some people may experience no issues at all, others might have to face some undesirable consequences. Watch out for anything that is not supposed to occur and let your doctor know about it.


One of the first questions patients ask when they walk into the doctor’s office is when they will see results. The straightforward answer is three to six months post-treatment. It may seem like a long time, but it is worth the wait. Of course, you will also observe some immediate effects, but that would be nothing compared to the final outcome.

The reason it takes so long for the laser to work is that the skin needs time to heal. If the machine is set to a gentler treatment, the downtime will be smaller and the results will show sooner, and vice versa. Needless to say, the more invasive the therapy is, the more noticeable the effects.

It is possible your skin appears pink during the first four to six weeks after the session. Then the colour will gradually return to normal and you will begin to observe fewer wrinkles and less scarring.

Cost of CO2 Laser Singapore

The price of a single session ranges between $200 and $500 depending on where you are getting it done and who is performing it. Sometimes, each subsequent procedure results more expensive than the previous. The total package might cost $2,300 – $2,800. Consult with the aesthetics clinic of your choosing to learn how much you will have to pay for your treatment.