Sun Damage-Wrinkles, Age Spots, Irregular Complexion and Loose Skin-can all be improved with light based treatments, such as Fractional Resurfacing, Intense Pulsed Light and Infrared Skin Tightening. When history looks back at this decade, it will likely be called the Cosmetic Laser Era.

Over the past decade technology advances have made lasers a serious solution for wrinkles, sun damage, age spots, unsightly veins, unwanted hair and so much more. Cosmetic lasers make it possible to treat many of the visible signs of aging on the skin’s surface, as well as some that develop beneath. Advancements have been so numerous and have arrived so quickly that it is difficult for consumers, and even some doctors, to keep pace.

The technology and pharmacology is changing rapidly. Cryolipolysis®, fractionated lasers, peptides and photodynamic therapy have dramatically changed the improvements we can make to our skin and body with no or minimal disruption to the skin barrier.

With so many advances in the cosmetic / aesthetic industry it is important to understand the experience, training and background of the facility and laser technician performing the procedures as part of planning a cosmetic laser treatment. Consumers should look for groups who specialize in and have a clear expertise in skin and cosmetic lasers. A good cosmetic laser center will offer a variety of services and have an understanding of both surgical and non-surgical solutions to meet your individual goals. Reputable organizations will spend the time to understand your concerns and goals before recommending treatment options.

Defining the Cosmetic Laser

Every laser emits light as a means of treating various skin conditions. The color (wavelength(s)) of the light source differentiates one laser from another. Recent technology advances have created exciting options for treating common cosmetic concerns, but understanding which laser procedure is right for your individual concerns can be a tricky endeavor. Before beginning a laser treatment series, be certain that you:

  • Understand the basics of what a specific laser can do for a specific skin condition. Despite the marketing hype, most cosmetic lasers are only able to effectively treat one or two concerns. Understand what realistic expectations should be.
  • Know whether the laser is ablative or not. Ablative and non-ablative lasers have very different results, side effects, risks & downtime.
  • Define your goals.
  • Know the possible side effects, downtime and risks involved.
  • Know and accept your obligations as a client/patient before, during and after your course of laser treatments.
  • Ask the laser operator about their specific training in lasers, the number of lasers they work with and how many times they perform laser treatments in a week.

Fractional Lasers, Skin Resurfacing

Photograph of fractional skin resurfacing pattern effect.  White dots are treated area. undamaged skin between treatment areas speeds healing. density of treated skin can be adjusted based upon patient goals, health and desired recovery time

Photograph of fractional skin resurfacing pattern effect.  White dots are treated area. undamaged skin between treatment areas speeds healing. density of treated skin can be adjusted based upon patient goals, health and desired recovery time

Fractional lasers use the power of heat and light in a targeted beam to remove and resurface portions of the skin, either superficially or through the deeper layers. Fractional lasers provide for rapid recovery times because the healthy skin cells remain in between the damaged areas. They provide a “surface-repair” for fine lines and textural irregularities.

Pros: Dramatic results in resurfacing the skin to diminish the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and other surface irregularities. Fractional lasers improve the overall skin tone and texture.
Cons: Fractional lasers require downtime for the skin to crust over and fully heal. Typically downtime can range from 1-5 days depending upon the depth of the laser treatment being performed.

Non-Ablative Lasers, Skin Rejuvenation

Most commonly referred to as IPL (Intense Pulsed Light), these devices are the most common type of non-ablative light devices used to treat skin discoloration and skin laxity. These types of devices pass varying colors and strengths of light through the skin without removing it differentially heating cells darker in color. These cells are generally age spots, veins (causing redness in the skin), and hair follicles. The light source is targeted into the dermis to treat sun damage, age and liver spots, acne, facial veins, diffuse redness and spider veins. This type of device is also used in laser hair removal. Non-ablative lasers have also shed light on rejuvenation by improving skin tone and clarity.

Combining treatments for maximum effect

To maximize rejuvenation of your skin you can combine laser, light and chemical treatments together in a single session. Rejuvenation is used to describe the reduction of wrinkles, age spots, redness, veins, rough texture and scars.

An example is the combination of aminolevulinic acid with light energy in a procedure called photodynamic therapy (PDT). PDT is especially effective in treating acne (dramatically reducing the number of active acne breakouts) and sun damaged skin (brown spots and redness). It entails the application of a light-reactive agent being applied for 30 minutes or longer to the skin prior to its activation by light.

Pros: There is little if any downtime or discomfort and produces excellent results. IPL/BBL laser treatments are effective and extremely popular, often referred to as “lunchtime” treatments.
Cons: Results usually require multiple treatments and may not be suitable for all skin concerns.

CoolSculpting. Cryolipolysis-Removing Fat Cells Non-Invasively With Cold Temperature

A recent technology for cosmetics is the introduction of non-invasive fat removal by chilling the fat cells. Fat cells are more sensitive to low temperatures than the cells surrounding them, therefore carefully lowering the temperature of the skin containing the fat cells can remove them and leave surrounding cells healthy.

6 Questions to Ask Before Any Cosmetic Laser Treatment

  • What type of laser treatment do you recommend to address my individual concern?
  • Will I need more than one treatment, what will be involved in my recovery and how long will it take to achieve my individual goals?
  • What type of complexion diagnostic tools or software is available to better understand my skin’s current condition?
  • What is the background and training the facility and individuals providing cosmetic laser treatments?
  • What are realistic expectations?

Call or email for more information on cosmetic technologies and what they can do for you. 208-367-0700, BetterSkin@spa35.com.