Fractional CO2 skin laser resurfacing Q&A series blog: Does it hurt?

 Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon. Hollywood. Photo credit to:


Does Fractional CO2 hurt?

Fractional CO2 is one of the most go to procedures all over the world, including the Hollywood! It’s a red carpet procedure and done by most stars. Gold standard to having those wrinkles, scars and sun damaged area go away, but the questions is– DOES IT HURT?

I would lie if I said NO. It hurts, of course it does – your skin is being ablated! But as the old damaged skin cells go away, new, rejuvenated ones set in! In the right hands, the procedure can be quite tolerable. Many laser treatments out there do not hurt because they are non-ablative, and hence provide very minimal or no visable results. Fractional CO2 laser resurfacing is different in this regard as with only one treatment you are nearly guarnteed to see visable results! 

Here, at Regenerative Aesthetics and Lasers NW in Bothell, WA, we use topical numbing cream, pre-procedure pain and relaxation medication and nitrous oxide gas as well as skin cooling during the procedure. The combination of these methods make the procedure quite tolerable. There are clients that are nearly falling asleep, and some that really want the procedure to be over sooner than later. 

Photo: Yelena, PA-C and Turi, master aesthetician performing fractional CO2 and RF microneedling procedure at Regenerative Aesthetics and Laser NW, Bothell, WA. 

How does it feel?

You feel heated prickling sensation in the area of treatment. It lasts a second or so. The sensation goes away the minute the laser firing is over.  Generally after the treatment it feels like a bad sunburn. The feeling lasts until same evening and resolves usually by next day. Most of our clients don’t need any pain medication after the procedure. In the end of the day, no one ever said, "I wouldnt do it again because of the pain". Most clients love the results and decide to return for more over time. 

Fractional CO2 is one of few lasers on the market that results in visable results after only ONE treatment! 

Yelena Verbitskaya Physician Assistant at Regenerative Aesthetics and Lasers NW, as well as Spine Institute NW. Areas of interest: Regenerative medicine: spine, joints, hair restoration Diagnosis and treatment of cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine conditions Diagnosis and treatment of extremity joint pain Fillers and Botulinum toxin injections Non invasive body sculpting: TruSculpt Face and body lasers: facials, vascular, pigmented lesions, acne, rosacea; laser hair removal. Clinical research

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