Day by Day Healing after CO2 Laser: CoolPeel™ vs Traditional Laser

CoolPeel™ is the coolest CO2 laser that brings the same resurfacing benefits to your skin as a traditional CO2 treatment but with minimum downtime and risks. The recovery process for CoolPeel treatment can last up to a week vs. up to a month for those who underwent traditional CO2 laser treatment.

Sun damage, exposure to the elements, and just plain aging normally show up on our faces before anywhere else. We look in the mirror and we see dull drab-looking skin, uneven texture, fine lines and wrinkles, darker patches, large pores, etc. If you can relate, then you will want to hear about CoolPeel™.

Traditional CO2 Laser Resurfacing vs CoolPeel™

I am sure you have heard about laser resurfacing and you have probably also heard about the miserable recovery often associated with it. Don’t get me wrong, traditional CO2 laser resurfacing does miracles for correcting all these skin issues but the recovery is no joke. Two weeks of severe sunburn-like rash on the face, oozing yellow smelly stuff, itching, burning, swelling, yikes!

In mid-2019 a new way to perform laser resurfacing was introduced and it is a great alternative for all of us who were “scaredy cats” and hesitant to try laser resurfacing before.

CoolPeel™ offers the results of traditional CO2 laser resurfacing but unlike the traditional CO2 laser, CoolPeel does not do any heat damage to surrounding areas so the downtime is significantly reduced. There is no oozing yellow ickiness involved!

In just 10-15 minutes, the painless procedure is over and you are on your way to brighter, more radiant skin. There is some recovery time with CoolPeel but it is minimal in comparison to recovery from traditional Co2 laser treatments.

Video: CoolPeel™ Laser Overview

What Is the Recovery Day by Day with CoolPeel™ CO2 Laser?

Day 1 – Day of CoolPeel™ Treatment

During the treatment

  • Topical numbing cream is put on the patient’s face to ensure maximum comfort during the procedure. After about 30 minutes the CoolPeel treatment begins.
  • A small hand-held device is placed on the face and strategically picked up and moved around inch by inch until the entire face has been treated.
  • At times you may feel a bit of a zing but nothing painful.
  • In only 15 minutes the treatment is complete!
  • Some soothing balm will be applied to your face and you will leave to return home with it on.

Immediately after the treatment
Depending on how fair your skin is your face may appear slightly sunburned to moderately sunburned immediately after the treatment. Your face might feel hot like it would if you were actually sunburned and may want to drive home with cool air blasting in your face.

The first night
Your face will be red and hot. Not painful but hot-feeling and your face and possibly your lips may still be numb from the cream they applied before the procedure. Your face will look greasy but you will continue to apply this soothing balm to your face for the next few days and not allow your face to dry out.

You are advised not to touch or clean your face for 24 hours after having CoolPeel. You can use a cool-mist water sprayer if you feel any discomfort. That night, sleep in a slightly elevated manner on a clean pillowcase.

Day 2 & 3 After CoolPeel™

In the morning, your face may look redder in some spots than it did the day before and your face may still feel a bit hot like it would with a sunburn but not as hot as it did the day before. Your face might feel tight for the next few days like it would if you had on a mud mask that dries before you wash it off. This usually only lasts a few days.

You can lightly rinse your face and pat dry before applying another layer of the soothing balm. Your face may be a little swollen after laying down all night but this should subside by that evening. You may notice some little white bumps showing up but these too will go away. Remember to:

  • Drink plenty of water;
  • Stay out of the sun;
  • Do not take hot showers;
  • Get an adequate amount of sleep. Even though the procedure only took 15 minutes, it did a lot of “work” and your body is busy trying to naturally “repair” itself. When you are resting, more energy can be allocated to that repairing process.

According to the aftercare instructions, it is fine to use mineral foundation 48 hours after the procedure but most patients are still using the balm on their faces, still appear sunburned, and are limiting their public appearances.

Day 4

At this point, normally your face feels like sandpaper but no one else can tell except you. All they can notice is your face is a bit flushed. If most of the redness is not gone or almost gone it should dissipate in the next few days. It is good to use a very mild exfoliating wash on day 4 to help clear away some of the dead skin cells that are sloughing off. For the next few days, your skin is going to be flaking off and the exfoliation will help.

Day 5 and Beyond

Between days 5 and 7 most of the redness should be gone. You may still be experiencing flaking skin but fortunately, it is not bad enough for people to notice. Things just get better from here and during the months ahead you will notice a big difference in your skin. The texture and pore size will be much improved and fine lines and wrinkles will be diminished.

One thing that is noteworthy and different from other types of laser treatments or microneedling treatments is that CoolPeel can treat the skin under the eyes and above the eye. If you have “chicken skin” under your eyes or uneven texture above or below your eye, you should see an improvement after CoolPeel.

CO2 Laser FAQs

Is CO2 and Fractional Laser the Same?

Yes, these are the same type of laser. The technical name is a fractional CO2 laser. This laser is used to resurface the skin by removing the outer layers of skin to remove damage and stimulate the growth of new collagen and elastin.

The CO2 laser treats sun damage, wrinkles, scarring, skin tone, texture, crepey skin and helps tighten skin. The traditional CO2 laser penetrated deep into the layers of the skin and had a lengthy recovery. CoolPeel delivers the same results with only about a week of downtime and without the residual damage to tissue from overexposure.

What Is the Best Moisturizer After a CO2 Laser?

Most doctors will recommend a soothing type balm for a few days like Aquaphor to keep your face from drying out. For everyday use a good quality moisturizer free from Parabens, Sulfates & Phthalates. It is important to keep your skin hydrated both from the inside and out.

How Long Does CO2 Laser Resurfacing Take to Heal?

Depending on the type of laser treatment you have done, your recovery can be about a week for CoolPeel or up to a month for a traditional CO2 laser treatment.

How Soon Can I Wash My Face After CO2 Laser?

Usually, you can wash your face 24 hours after the procedure. During the first 24 hours, you can mist your face with cool water and also use ice for any discomfort.

What Does Your Skin Look Like After CO2 Laser?

If you have CoolPeel, your skin will be a bit swollen for a day or two and you will have what looks like sunburn on your face for between 2 and 5 days. Next, your face will flake a bit as the dead skin cells come off.

If you have a traditional CO2 treatment, you will experience the red sunburn look but also, moderate to severe swelling, possible oozing from certain places on the face as well as a yellow type of discharge. Next, you will begin to peel as the treated skin comes off to make way for the new healthier skin.

Both procedures deliver excellent results including diminished lines and wrinkles, smoother texture, elimination or lightening of brown spots, reduced pore size, healthy glow, etc.

How Long Does Redness Last After CO2 Laser?

With CoolPeel between 2 and 6 days and with traditional CO2 laser treatment, between 5 days and two weeks.

How Long After CO2 Laser Will I See Results?

You will see noticeable results as soon as the redness and swelling go away. More results will appear gradually over the next six months as new collagen is produced and internal repairs are completed.

Can I Use Hyaluronic Acid After CO2 Laser Treatment?

Yes, after a few days of using only the soothing balm the doctor recommends, you will be able to use a moisturizer as usual. Choose one with ingredients that will keep your skin hydrated such as vitamin C, antioxidants, vitamin E, ceramides, ferulic acid, hyaluronic acid, lanolin, aloe, etc.

How Can I Speed Up Healing After CO2 Laser?

Follow all the instructions that were provided to you by your cosmetic surgeon. Keep reapplying the Salve (often it is Aquaphor) that was recommended to keep your face hydrated and protected from outside elements, stay out of the sun, drink plenty of water, do not touch or wash your face for 24 hours after the procedure. After the initial 24 hours, keep your face clean but do not let it dry out.

Some doctors will recommend Biafine cream to help speed up recovery. The best thing to do is consult with your cosmetic surgeon for their recommendations.

If you have sun damage, fine lines, wrinkles, or any other skin issues that you would like to address, consider the CoolPeel CO2 laser resurfacing procedure. There are so many benefits that outweigh the few days of discomfort during the short recovery process.

Dr. Angelina Postoev, MD, FACS, a triple board-certified cosmetic surgeon, and Christopher Ibikunle, MD, FACS, offer CoolPeel™ CO2 laser treatment for men and women in Lawrenceville, Suwanee, Johns Creek, and the surrounding areas of Georgia. Contact us today to schedule a personal consultation.

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1 thought on “Day by Day Healing after CO2 Laser: CoolPeel™ vs Traditional Laser”

  1. Thank you for this article!! I just had CoolPeel done (in Florida), and this article very accurately explains what to expect each day after. My provider was great, but I was only given light care instructions and told “No downtime!”, and was a bit alarmed to find that hasn’t been entirely true for me. So, I hit Google and, after reading your day-by-day breakdown, I feel much more assured that what I am experiencing on Day 3 – an increase in redness and swelling, and continued “heat” – is all to be expected. I’ve seen CoolPeel mentioned in many places as “No downtime”, but I think it’s more accurate for people to know it may actually be a few days before they feel fully up to being in public again.

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