Laser Skin Resurfacing

At our Los Angeles practice, we see many women and men who want to correct sun damage and signs of aging on their skin such as brown spots, fine lines, deep creases, and uneven texture. We are pleased to offer superior skin resurfacing and tightening with our DEKA DOT (dermal optical thermolysis) fractional carbon dioxide (CO2) laser. Other options such as intense pulsed light (IPL) and laser vein therapy help us address a wide variety of patient concerns.

Laser Resurfacing
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Keep in mind that each patient is unique and your results may vary.

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Keep in mind that each patient is unique and your results may vary.

How does fractional laser skin resurfacing work?

Instead of treating (ablating) the entire surface of the skin like traditional CO2 lasers, the DOT fractional CO2 laser emits tiny columns of laser energy to produce thousands of microscopic injuries to the skin, leaving untreated skin between the treated dots. The laser energy starts the skin’s natural healing processes to make new, healthy tissue and collagen. Because untreated skin is intermixed with treated skin, discomfort and healing time are reduced compared to traditional CO2 lasers.

What does a CO2 fractional laser treatment do?

We use laser skin resurfacing to address a variety of concerns, including:

  • Lines, creases, and wrinkles
  • Rough skin texture
  • Uneven pigment, freckles, sun spots, and age spots
  • Loose or sagging skin
  • Acne scars and surgical scars
  • Stretch marks

Dr. David Stoker

Educated at some of the most elite institutions in the country, Dr. David Stoker uses his highly advanced knowledge to ensure that each patient achieves beautiful, harmonious results — whether it's through a simple non-surgical procedure or a more advanced surgical transformation. Learn more about his unique credentials and his approach to plastic surgery.

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Which areas can be treated with the fractional laser?

The fractional CO2 laser is ideal for the face, where the skin heals quickly. We can perform deeper treatments on the face to achieve more dramatic results with a single treatment. Treatment strength may be reduced for skin on the neck, chest, and hands that is more delicate than the face. We typically treat these areas with multiple lower-strength treatments.

We can adjust the intensity of the laser to suit a variety of conditions, treatment areas, and desired amount of downtime as outlined in the table.

StrengthTreatment AreaConcernsDowntime
LightFace, neck, chest, handsSun spots, fine lines2 to 3 days
MediumFaceSun spots, moderate wrinkles5 to 8 days
DeepFaceSun spots, deep wrinkles, acne scars10 to 14 days

Laser Skin Resurfacing

Which is better, fractional CO2 or Fraxel® laser?

The fractional CO2 laser and Fraxel® (erbium and diode) laser are both fractional lasers, which means both treat a fraction of the skin’s surface. Reasons we prefer the CO2 fractional laser include:

  • It is more powerful than the Fraxel laser, which means we can treat both mild and advanced conditions.
  • It is ablative, so in most cases just one treatment is needed for desired rejuvenation.

What are laser skin treatments like?

Laser treatments are relatively comfortable; however, topical anesthetic and oral analgesics may be used to enhance your comfort. We also use a PRO-NOX medical nitrous oxide (laughing gas) delivery system to minimize discomfort. After you are optimally anesthetized, the laser handpiece is passed over the skin as quick flashes of laser energy are emitted. Most treatments are complete in under an hour.

Laser skin resurfacing may be combined with surgical procedures such as a facelift or eyelid surgery to take advantage of anesthesia and recovery time.

How do I prepare for laser skin resurfacing?

For optimal results, we recommend most laser skin resurfacing patients pretreat their skin as follows:

  • Apply retinol and Retin A as directed before the treatment to help speed recovery.
  • Apply hydroquinone before the treatment to decrease recovery time.
  • Avoid sun exposure before and after the treatment to avoid post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

How long does it take to heal from CO2 fractional laser skin resurfacing?

The healing process typically takes 3 to 14 days to complete depending on depth of treatment and individual factors. Initially, the skin looks red for about 3 to 10 days much like if it was badly sunburned. Around day 3 or 4, the skin begins peeling to reveal fresh, new skin.

What should I do after a CO2 fractional laser treatment?

  • Apply a hydrating lotion to the skin as directed.
  • Have LED light therapy to reduce redness faster.
  • Stay out of the sun to reduce the risk of pigment irregularities, which are uncommon and usually temporary.

How many treatments will I need?

Patients typically achieve dramatic results with just a single treatment. Two or more treatments may be performed several months apart in order to achieve greater improvement with shorter recovery periods.

How long do results from fractional laser treatments last?

While nothing can stop the natural aging process, improvements from laser resurfacing treatments are long lasting with diligent use of sunscreen and a healthy lifestyle (e.g., avoiding smoking).

What is Limelight IPL?

Limelight IPL is a gentler alternative to CO2 laser resurfacing. These treatments are non-ablative, which means the surface of the skin is not harmed. Light energy penetrates the skin, then heats up and destroys damaged capillaries and excess pigment. Collagen production is stimulated as well for improved texture and firmness.

IPL treatments are often used on exposed areas such as the face, neck, chest, and hands. The best candidates have light to medium skin tones. Women and men choose IPL to address sun damage and signs of aging such as:

  • Brown spots and hyperpigmentation
  • Diffuse redness
  • Enlarged pores
  • Fine lines and wrinkles

Treatments are performed in our office using numbing cream to minimize any discomfort. No downtime is needed although the skin may look sunburned for a few hours after treatment. Areas of pigment become dark and look like coffee grounds (sometimes called peppering) then slough off in about a week to 10 days. For best results, we recommend a series of 4 to 6 treatments each spaced 4 to 6 weeks apart.

What is laser vein therapy?

Laser vein therapy is effective for treating unsightly spider veins and broken capillaries that typically develop on the cheeks and legs. Laser energy is absorbed by the hemoglobin (pigment) in blood, heating up and damaging the cells lining the vein. The damaged vein shrinks up and is naturally eliminated by the body. Blood is rerouted through healthy veins, so circulation is not impacted.

Treatments are typically performed using topical anesthetic; however, there are no punctures or incisions. The surface of the skin is not affected, so makeup can be applied right away if desired. No downtime is needed.

In most cases, multiple laser vein therapy treatments are required to achieve the desired results.

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How do I get started?

Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. David Stoker and his experienced team specialize in non-surgical and surgical rejuvenation of the skin. They will guide you through your options to create an individualized plan for your skin. To learn more about your options, request a consultation using our online form or call us at  (310) 300-1779 to schedule an appointment.

To enhance and provide maximum comfort during all our aesthetic treatments, we offer topical and local anesthetics. We also offer PRO-NOX Nitrous Oxide (NO) for an additional cost. PRO-NOX is an anesthetic system that delivers 50% oxygen and 50% nitrous oxide to help relieve pain and anxiety during treatments.

Nonsurgical Procedure Treatment Planner

Non-Surgical Enhancement

Our expertise extends beyond plastic surgery. We offer an extensive range of non-surgical treatments administered by our talented, experienced team of aesthetic providers under the guidance of board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. David Stoker.

If you have a treatment in mind, review our complete offering of non-surgical services. If you need a little help deciding, narrow down your options with our interactive treatment planner.