Does a fractional CO2 Laser work well for sun-damaged skin?

Repeated exposure to sun left me with severe "freckles" on my face and shoulders, and I can tell that they get larger, darker, and multiply over time. I've never go to the beach without sunscreen after I realized things started to get serious. But now sunscreen won't heal the already showing freckles. How well does the CO2 Laser work for my problem?


F, 45, Massachusetts

Tags:woman age 35-44 face shoulder laser sunscreen sun damage

We don't recommend the CO2 laser for sunspot treatments.

I generally recommend an IPL or BBL treatment just to treat early sun damage and sunspots.  IPL is Intense Pulsed Light and BBL is Broad Band Light - both are light based treatments that use light with wavelengths attracted to brown colors.  This damages the sunspot and lightens it after it releases in about a week.  It feels like a rubber band stamp; downtime is only mild darkening of the sunspots for 4 days; 3 sessions are generally recommended and yearly maintenance there after. 

If you have textural changes, thickened, dry, wrinkly skin then we would add on either the Halo laser, fractional CO2 or fraxel laser.  We like the Halo the best for deep seated sun damage.  

Ken Oleszek,MD

La Fontaine Aesthetics

Denver, Colorado

I probably would recommend either a microlaser peel with an Erbium laser or  IPL photofacial treatments over a co2 laser which tends to be more aggressive with more redness and downtime. Good Luck!