Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Laser Resurfacing Versus Deep Peels
What is a deep peel?
A deep peel is a face resurfacing technique that is dramatically more effective than a lunch hour peel, as it corrects and rejuvenates the skin. A deep peel cannot be done over a lunch hour, because it frosts and coagulates the outer skin layers, and leaves redness and peeling. After the treatment, topical care is required, sometimes including dressings. Recovery time is up to five or more days. While lunch hour peels (often glycolics, or fruit sugars) are done yearly, in a series over several months, a deep peel is customarily done only once every five or six years. Deep peels are of two types: tricloracetic acid (TCA), or vinegar acid – the safest and quickest healing – and phenol, a strong chemical that is being replaced by lasers.
How do lasers and deep peels differ?
Like dermabrasion (surgical grinding or fine sanding of the skin surface), both the CO2 laser and deep peels will remove lines and sun spots, but the laser is more controllable than deep-peeling chemicals. The risk of losing pigment is much greater with phenol. TCA doesn't penetrate as deep and normally doesn't affect skin color.
The biggest difference, other than safety, is that the CO2 laser tightens lax skin, creating a facelift effect without surgery, and triggers the growth of new, young collagen. After treatment, the face is not only free of lines and freckles but also much younger looking. Post-operative discomfort lasts about one night. Some topical care, including dressings, is required for three to four days after treatment. Redness can be covered with make-up after about ten days, but the final result of laser resurfacing doesn't manifest for about three months. When it does, the effect is remarkable and can last for up to ten years.