Fast Facts:

About: The carbon laser peel is a minimally invasive procedure involving the use of a carbon based cream for the absorption of buildup in the pores, and an Nd-YAG laser to heat, break down, and evaporate both the carbon and the buildup upon each pulse. The treatment is designed to refine pores, reduce oiliness and acne breakouts, and overall rejuvenate the dermal layers.

Safety: When performed by a trained and qualified board certified cosmetic physician or dermatologist, the carbon laser facial is a safe and effective treatment for nearly all skin types. It has zero downtime and minimal, if any, side effects.

Convenience: Taking no longer than 15 minutes, the carbon laser peel is quick and effective, making it convenient for anyone regardless of their busy schedules. There is no downtime, allowing patients to return to normal activities and daily tasks immediately after their session.

Cost: The average cost of a carbon laser facial ranges $300 – $700 per session.

Efficacy: Case studies have provided consistent evidence that laser carbon peels are effective in improving the quality, reducing the oiliness, and refining the pores of one’s skin. It is particularly beneficial for patients with oily and acne prone skin.

Carbon Laser Facial treatment

What is Carbon laser?

The carbon laser peel is a superficial laser treatment that is designed to treat acne, reduce oiliness, minimize enlarged pores, and improve the overall quality and texture of the skin. Utilizing the conductive qualities of carbon, a carbon paste is applied to the epidermis, absorbing buildup, bacteria, and oils located in the pores. Once dry, the paste is zapped off using a non ablative laser, evaporating both the paste and the buildup and oils it has absorbed. Though its name may indicate a “peeling” effect, this procedure does not peel the skin. Instead, it peels and removes the carbon, allowing you to resume normal activities immediately after the treatment with no downtime.

Carbon laser can be used on almost all skin types and tones for a variety of purposes. It is best known for its ability to reduce oiliness and treat acne breakouts, which many other lasers cannot, due to the risk of spreading the acne with high temperatures.

Also known as Hollywood Peel, Black Doll Laser Facial, and China Doll Laser Facial, minimally invasive skin tightening and resurfacing procedures such as the carbon laser facial have been growing increasingly popular in patients of all ages to improve the appearance of their skin, In fact, nearly 2 Million Americans have undergone a chemical peel or laser treatment in 2020 alone. Due to their minimally invasive nature, these procedures are not only effective and affordable, but convenient, as they come with minimal to no side effects and downtime. In addition, the carbon laser peel is quick and painless, taking no longer than 15 minutes for a full session. 

This laser facial works well on nearly all skin types, tones, and textures, and is particularly popular for its acne and oil fighting qualities. Even A-lister Kim Kardashian has been said to use the carbon laser for rejuvenation, alongside many other celebrities.

How does Carbon laser work?

Two primary components of the carbon laser facial are the carbon cream which is applied to the treatment area before the lasering process and the Q-Switch Nd-Yag laser. 

Unique properties of Nd-Yag laser allow it to deliver energy precisely at the dermal-epidermal junction to target the pilosebaceous unit that is responsible for the production of excessive sebum. This targeted thermal coagulation leads to shrinking of the base of the pores and decreased oil production. 

The conductive carbon cream potentiates the effect of the laser through the following mechanisms. First, it acts as a powerful photoenhancer allowing to target more superficial layers of epidermis that would otherwise be bypassed by 1064nm Nd-Yag wavelength. Second, it penetrates deep into your pores, bonding with any debris, dead dermal cells, bacteria and oils within them. 

During carbon laser procedure, the doctor will first pass a laser over your face in the micro-pulsed mode to induce focused thermal damage to the deepest layers of your skin and prepare the carbon lotion to further absorb any impurities on your skin.

When the Nd-YAG laser is carefully pulsed in its Q-switch mode across the dried carbon paste, the monochromatic beam from the laser is absorbed and enhanced by the carbon particles, and the power delivered to the carbon molecules causes the immediate vaporization of the carbon, as well as the destruction of particles absorbed from your pores. This occurs in explosive pulses of heat, which penetrate into both deep and superficial dermoepidermal layers causing controlled damage to it, and triggering the body’s natural repair response by producing collagen and elastin. As a result, the patient is left with firmer skin, reduced pore size, and a reduction in oiliness.

Throughout the procedure, the patient feels minimal discomfort, described as mild tingling or a slight pinch. You may experience some dryness, redness and peeling after each session, though this is temporary and typically only lasts a few days.

What does a carbon laser peel treat?

Because the carbon laser peel works by eliminating oils, debris, and bacteria in the pores, it is particularly effective in treating acne prone and oily skin, as well as uneven texture and to minimize pores. It simultaneously treats existing acne breakouts and prevents future breakouts from occurring, as it targets acne bacteria and shrinks your sebaceous glands, reducing oil production and pore congestion. Overall, the carbon laser peel is used to treat acne and oiliness, improve complexion, tone, and texture, fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots, mild acne scars and beginning signs of aging.

Who is a candidate for Carbon laser?

Nearly anyone is a candidate for Carbon laser, whether the goal is to combat beginning signs of aging, reduce oiliness, or treat acne breakouts. This laser peel is a fantastic option for those who are looking to improve the texture, tone, and radiance of their skin, reduce fine lines and wrinkles alongside other beginning signs of aging, shrink scars, and minimize pores. It can also be used to exfoliate dry skin, and eliminate the need to extract comedones. 

While most patients are candidates for this treatment, there are some contraindications that may disqualify you from getting a carbon peel. 

If you are sensitive to heat, have dry or irritated skin, have a dermal condition, melasma, rash, or infection in the area to be treated, you are not a candidate for this laser facial. If you have been using products such as tretinoin, salicylic acids, or retinoids, that have the tendency to dry out your skin, you must discontinue use for two weeks prior to your session to avoid excessive dryness, irritation, and potential hyper- or hypopigmentation. If you are pregnant, you are not a candidate for the carbon laser facial.

How do I prepare for the Carbon laser?

A carbon laser peel is non-invasive and overall mild in terms of laser intensity. Generally, there is no preparation needed for this facial, though a consultation with Dr. Schwarzburg is recommended to confirm that you are a candidate. Certain prescription medication and products containing tretinoin, retinoids, and salicylic acids should be discontinued and sun exposure should be limited for 2 weeks prior to your appointment. This means that you should also be wearing high SPF sunscreen if you spend any time outdoors or in the sun.

What is a Carbon laser procedure like?

Once you are a confirmed candidate for the carbon laser peel, your face will be cleaned and sanitized and a very thin layer of liquid carbon is applied to your face. As it dries, the carbon absorbs oils, toxins, dead skin cells, and other buildup from deep within your pores. Once the carbon paste has dried after approximately 10 minutes, you will be provided with protective eyewear to shield your eyes from the laser and Dr. Schwarzburg will slowly pass the Nd:YAG laser over the area of concern using a micropulsed fluence delivery mode, allowing the energy to penetrate and heat up deeper dermal layers. This is followed by a Q-switch mode where the energy is delivered in shorter pulses and higher intensity used to fragment the more superficial carbon bound to all the buildup from your pores into tiny particles, evaporating in smoke as the carbon, debris and upper epidermal layers are destroyed. The process typically takes no longer than 10 minutes, after which you may wash your face and apply a special ultra-hydrating cream provided to you by Dr. Schwarzburg. At this point you should immediately notice a reduction in pore size and a brighter complexion. Your skin may appear slightly red or dry, which is normal and will pass within a few hours post-procedure. To ensure that everything heals properly and remains hydrated, you will be advised to apply moisturizer several times a day for several days.

How long is a carbon laser facial?

From beginning to end, the carbon laser facial takes 15 – 20 minutes. The liquid carbon paste typically settles on your skin for approximately 5 – 10 minutes, while the lasering process itself takes 10 minutes. 

Are there any risks and side effects with Carbon laser?

Because the carbon laser facial is non ablative, the risks and side effects are minimal. You may notice some redness immediately after your session, followed by a few days of dryness or mild peeling, though this can be treated with consistent moisturizing. Your carbon peel should always be performed by an experienced and licensed board certified cosmetic physician or dermatologist to ensure the safety of your skin and eyes, prevent burning, scarring, and hyperpigmentation, and to provide the best possible results.

Is there aftercare for Carbon laser? Is there downtime?

You may notice some flaking and dryness after getting a laser carbon peel, so it is important to moisturize on a daily basis. In addition, because the laser may make your skin more sensitive to the sun, be sure to use sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 50 and refrain from using any products containing retinol for the first 5 days following your procedure. You should not exfoliate or use any invasive or abrasive skin treatments until the sensitivity has subsided. You may also use products designed to fight acne and containing collagen for enhanced results.

How much does a Carbon laser cost?

The average cost of a carbon laser facial ranges $300 – $700 per session. This depends on the number of sessions needed, the type and intensity of the laser used, as well as the level of expertise and qualifications of your provider and their geographic location. A board certified cosmetic physician or dermatologist will likely charge higher for their expansive knowledge and understanding of the skin and human anatomy.

What are the benefits of a laser carbon peel?

The carbon laser peel has a number of benefits for various skin types, textures, tones, and ages. Its primary benefit is its ability to treat and reduce acne and oiliness, as well as pore size reduction. It is also deeply exfoliating and helps treat pigmentation, scarring, melasma, photoaging, fine lines, and wrinkles. 

Compared to other peels and treatments, the carbon facial is non ablative and requires zero downtime making its recovery process quick, easy, and convenient.

Can I combine the Carbon peel with other treatments?

Absolutely! The carbon peel can be used alongside many treatments depending on your desired outcome and aesthetic goals. Many patients who are looking for overall rejuvenation and tightening may start off with a more intense laser or microneedling facial, such as Fraxel laser or Secret RF, both of which use controlled thermal damage to the dermal layers, triggering the body to produce collagen and elastin, leaving the skin firmer and smoother with minimized texture and a reduction in acne scarring, fine lines, and wrinkles. Most patients get 2 – 3 sessions of such treatments and then follow with the carbon laser to maintain and enhance their results. Other procedures used to create a more youthful appearance include AquaGold microneedling and Hydrafacials

If your goal is to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, neurotoxins such as Botox and Dysport can be injected to relax the facial muscles and thus, limit muscle contractions and facial expressions that would otherwise cause the formation of wrinkles and rhytids. Dermal fillers such as Juvederm, Restylane, and Radiesse, may be used to contour the face and add volume to areas that need it most, including the under eyes and cheek filler. Dermal fillers can also be used to achieve a liquid face lift, which may be paired or used in conjunction with a non-surgical PDO thread lift for the ultimate age-defying results.

How many carbon laser sessions do I need?

While you will see results after just one or two carbon laser sessions, clinical studies provide evidence that the best results will be observed after 4 – 6 sessions. However, depending on the original state and quality of your skin, as well as your desired outcome, this number may vary. The best way to find out how many rounds of carbon laser you will need is to consult with a board certified cosmetic physician such as Dr. Schwarzburg, who can evaluate you and give you the best treatment options and suggestions. 

Does it hurt?

No! The carbon laser peel is typically well tolerated by patients as it is gentle and non-invasive. The feeling of the laser pulses is often compared to that of a small rubber band snapping against your skin, or a quick, hot pinch or prickle. If you have low pain tolerance, you may also ask your provider to use a lower intensity to start off, which will make it less painful.

When will I see results?

You should notice some improvement after just one treatment, with exfoliated and reduced pore size. While you will experience some initial redness, dryness, and flakiness, this should pass within a few days as your skin becomes more radiant and hydrated. Your results will continue to improve over time as it produces more collagen and elastin, and with each consecutive laser session. The suggested number of carbon laser sessions for optimal results is 4 – 6. 

What will my carbon laser before and after results look like?

Before your carbon laser facial you may have enlarged pores, oily skin, acne breakouts, uneven skin texture and dullness. After a single session of the carbon peel, you will notice a reduction in the size of your pores, oiliness, and acne. With each consecutive session you will notice more radiance, firmness, and smoother skin texture and tone. The carbon laser can be used on a wide range of skin types, textures, and tones, and can have a different effect on each.

How long does it last?

Depending on the original state of the treatment area, your skin type, and lifestyle, your results will last indefinitely for approximately 6 months. Regular follow-up sessions are recommended to maintain results in addition to other procedures and products recommended by Dr. Schwarzburg to achieve your optimal outcome.

Is it covered by insurance?

Because the Carbon laser peel is considered a cosmetic procedure, it is not covered by insurance. However, at Skinly we do accept flexible spending FSA/HSA cards.

Does Carbon laser work?

Yes! Several clinical trials have supporting evidence that the carbon laser facial works exceptionally well to treat oily skin and acne, as well as to improve the texture and tone of the skin and reduce pore size. By ridding the pores of oils, toxins, and acne causing bacteria, carbon laser is effective in smoothing the dermal layers and exfoliating the epidermis.

Is Carbon Laser safe?

The carbon facial is safe and FDA approved to treat various skin types. Because the laser is mild, it doesn’t require numbing cream as it is nearly painless. Depending on the intensity at which the laser is used, it can also be administered as often as twice a week with no downtime or unwanted side effects often associated with other laser treatments.

What are pros and cons?


  • Non-invasive
  • Painless
  • Can be used on wide variety of skin types


  • May require several sessions for optimal results
  • Not ideal for very dry skin


Laser carbon peels can improve the overall quality, texture, and tone of your skin. It is particularly ideal for patients with oiliness, acne, and enlarged pores, though it may also benefit patients who are looking for rejuvenating qualities. The procedure itself is painless with minimal downtime and side effects. The recommended number of sessions needed for optimal results is 4 – 6.

How can I get started with my Carbon laser treatment?

The carbon laser facial is widely available at medical spas around NYC. When selecting your medical spa, be sure to do extensive research on the professional administering your laser, as someone who is unqualified could lead to unwanted side effects and undesirable results. Dr. Schwarzburg is a board certified medical cosmetic professional with years of experience with a variety of medical treatments including the carbon laser facial amongst various more intense lasers. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment with Dr. Schwarzburg for your carbon laser facial, please contact the office at (212) 774-4264, or email us at