How Dermal Optical Thermolysis (DOT) Can Help Your Skin This Winter

Woman having Dermal Optical Thermolysis treatment How Dermal Optical Thermolysis (DOT) Can Help Your Skin This Winter

Your skin is an amazing thing, serving so many different purposes all the while taking abuse from weather and other external factors. While your skin is resilient, there are some things it can’t fully recover from—thankfully there’s a revolutionary skin treatment called dermal optical thermolysis that can help.

Identifying and Treating Dermal Optical Thermolysis

What is Dermal Optical Thermolysis?

Dermal optical thermolysis, or DOT is a laser skin resurfacing procedure that can produce amazing results. Sometimes called CO2 resurfacing, because it uses the gas carbon dioxide, DOT is a constantly improving and evolving process for repairing skin. Laser therapy is a branch of dermatology that focuses on the use of cutting-edge laser technology to treat cosmetic and medical skin conditions. Lasers are an excellent tool for a few reasons. The first being that they’re incredibly accurate and can often work with little guidance. Secondly, lasers can accomplish various things with some fine-tuning. From superficial, controlled damage to aid healing to balancing skin tones, lasers can do a lot.

Defining “Resurfacing”

Resurfacing might sound complicated, but it’s actually very straightforward. Dermal optical thermolysis uses heat from the lasers to precisely damage superficial layers of the skin. When this skin is damaged, the skin beneath it grows healthy and replaces older skin. Because of how it can be tuned, your dermatologist can adjust the laser to go deeper if need be, to treat more stubborn conditions.

The Many Applications of Dermal Optical Thermolysis

CO2 resurfacing can treat an incredible variety of conditions, from stubborn, cystic acne to sun damage and wrinkles. As skin ages, it produces far less collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid, among other things. These proteins are crucial for the skin’s moisture maintenance, and so wrinkles and fine lines develop on the face as we age. Dermal optical thermolysis targets wrinkles and other problem areas to promote healthy, new growth and ease the appearance of wrinkles. Acne, enlarged pores and the scars that moderate to severe acne can cause are all excellent candidates for DOT treatment. Here are just a few more examples of the many conditions CO2 resurfacing can help to address: seborrheic keratosis, melasma, birthmarks, actinic keratosis, and hyperpigmentation.

What Dermal Optical Thermolysis Treatment is Like

Once your dermatologist has determined that CO2 resurfacing is the best route for treating your skincare needs, you might be wondering “what next?” Unlike some other, versatile procedures like face-lifts, you shouldn’t expect much downtime or recovery after DOT. The treatment can be conducted right in your doctor’s office on an outpatient basis, and you can go home when the treatment is finished. Leading up to DOT, your dermatologist may have some recommendations and things to avoid. If you’re prone to cold sores or other facial lesions like fever blisters, you may need to take antibiotics leading up to your treatment. Your dermatologist will review any conditions that would preclude you from safely pursuing dermal optical thermolysis treatment. You will be asked not to take any drugs or supplements that affect how your blood clots, like painkillers or vitamin E supplements.

For small areas, your dermatologist may apply a local anesthesia or numbing agent to help mitigate any discomfort. For treatment of your whole face, you may be sedated. Depending on how much is being treated, the procedure can last anywhere from 40 minutes to a small problem area, to two hours if it’s more generally resurfacing the skin on your face. The damage, while superficial, that DOT causes is not insignificant. Your face will be bandaged, and you’ll need to do some at-home care to keep scabs from forming. Within a month, your skin will be back to normal, albeit a little red still in some cases. The risks associated with DOT are minimal, but like with any skin treatment bacterial infections can occur. In rare circumstances, scarring or burns can develop. In the hands of a skilled dermatologist, however, these risks are incredibly low.


Direct Optical Thermolysis can treat a great variety of skin conditions, and it does it incredibly well considering it’s noninvasive. If you’re interested in laser resurfacing, call the professionals at Northeast Dermatology Associates.

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