Laser skin care is the preferred treatment for many types of skin problems and conditions such as hyper pigmentation, scars, wrinkles and fine lines. Laser treatment has shown efficacy for improving skin tone, texture, pigmentation and elasticity. It also causes minimal scarring, bruising and bleeding, making it ideal for treating acne scars, spider veins and deep wrinkles. A laser generally uses a beam of single-wavelength high-energy light, which is also a heat source, to treat different types of skin problems. Because it can be focused, a laser can be used to treat even the smallest skin areas.
Typically, laser and skin care procedures fall into two primary types: ablative lasers and non-ablative lasers. Ablative lasers, such as Er:YAG and CO2 (carbon dioxide) work by vaporizing the top layer of the skin. They do result to a relatively lengthy downtime but remain quite popular procedures because they show significant improvement after just one session. Non-ablative lasers are another type of skin laser care treatment that uses fractionated light to treat only small areas of damaged skin, working on deeper layers without actually removing the top layers, thus keeping surrounding skin intact. This significantly reduces downtime and promotes faster healing. Two of the most popular types of non-ablative procedures include skin rejuvenation and skin tightening.
What Types Of Skin Problems Can Laser Treatments Improve?
Laser treatments are frequently utilized to correct and remove wrinkles, fine lines, acne and acne scars, age spots, sun-damaged spots, melasma and vascular lesions, including varicose veins and birthmarks. They may also be used as preventative measures to remove pre-cancerous growths.
What To Expect
Before the procedure, the doctor should perform a thorough diagnosis of the patient’s skin and general health condition, see healthy skin care for more tips on how to treat your skin. The patient’s medical history will be carefully considered, along with the types of medications he may be taking. The doctor will then discuss the different types of laser skin treatments that can be used, along with their benefits and limitations. Each procedure offers different results, so it’s important for patients to discuss the most appropriate options with their doctor.
Once the doctor has given his approval and the type of procedure to be used is agreed upon, he will recommend certain creams, gels and lotions to be applied on the skin several weeks prior to the treatment in order to prepare the skin. Some oral medications may also be prescribed, such as antibacterial, antiviral and anti-yeast pills in order to prevent any complications that may arise before and during the treatment.
The procedure is typically performed at a laser skin care clinic or if the doctor is part of a larger organization, the treatment may be offered at a laser skin care center. In most cases, some form of anaesthesia may be used in order to eliminate or at least minimize any discomfort. Topical or local anaesthesia are used for short procedures or those performed on small areas of the skin while general and intravenous anaesthesia are used for extensive procedures, such as those used where several skin layers are penetrated.
Treatment time can range from about 15 minutes to over an hour, depending on the skin issues being treated. Length of time and the number of procedures will vary depending on certain factors such as discoloration, depth of wrinkles or creases, scars and skin area. The treatment is often given on an outpatient basis, so the patient can expect to go home when the procedure is over.
Although some patients may be able to function independently right after the procedure is over, there are some that should be accompanied home. Individuals who have undergone more extensive procedures, particularly those that used general anaesthesia may need someone to assist or drive them home. Certain side effects may also be expected, such as swelling on the area treated and some discomfort. Both oral and topical medications and the application of ice packs can help alleviate these side effects. After care procedures recommended by the doctor should also be followed in order to prevent infection, unnecessary scarring and other complications.
As the skin heals, reddish crusts will likely develop in the next few days. The crusts should not be touched or picked at in order to avoid scarring. They will heal completely in about a week or two. Treated skin is most sensitive during the period immediately after the procedure, so sun exposure must be avoided. If sun exposure cannot be avoided, wearing a sunscreen or a sun block can help provide the skin a much needed barrier against damaging ultraviolet rays. It’s also prudent not to apply makeup and other cosmetics during this time.
Who Performs The Treatment?
Not every laser and skin care clinic that offers laser skin rejuvenation and laser skin surgery may be qualified to perform these procedures. Laser treatments are specialized and may only be performed by board certified dermatologists and plastic surgeons that have the proper training, credentials and experience. A laser clinic doctor should also be able to show photos of past procedures that they have performed as proof of their skills and expertise. Furthermore, a laser clinic should comply with state laws and FDA guidelines for the safety of their clients.
When Is Laser Skin Care Treatment Inappropriate?
Skin laser care may not always be a good option for some individuals. People who scar easily or those that develop kelloidal types of scars may not be good candidates for cosmetic laser treatments. Some skin disorders may also keep certain individuals from receiving laser skin surgery. There are also certain medications that may prevent a person from being the ideal candidate for laser treatments. The type of natural pigmentation a person has will also affect their recovery period. Tanned, brown, olive and black skin, for example, may take up to 9 months to return to its natural pigmentation after receiving treatment.
To properly understand the issues regarding laser skin care treatments, it’s important for every patient to consult with their doctor for a proper diagnosis. A thorough discussion of the procedure and after-care will help alleviate any fears the patient may have and help them develop realistic expectations regarding the treatment.