Enticing Cosmetic Lasers

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The beauty industry is exploding with new advances in technologies and techniques. Lasers have revolutionized this industry by enabling tremendous results with minimal invasion. Various lasers have different wavelengths that target distinct pigments with a wave of light into the skin or hair. The lasers that focus on brown pigments, also known as melanin, minimizes the appearance of dark spots. The lasers that focus on red pigments, penetrate blood vessels, capillaries or acne scars. Other lasers can penetrate the skin to create micro sized wounds which signals the body to create new collagen. This helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Lasers can also be compounded with elements such as metals, gases or precious stones. There is an abundant amount of lasers used for cosmetic purposes these days. With their growing popularity, it’s important to understand what’s available and the purpose each one presents.

Ablative vs. Non-Ablative Lasers

Ablative lasers focuses on the outer layer of the skin while non-ablative pass through the outer layer, safely penetrating the tissue that lies beneath. Ablative lasers are primarily used for resurfacing the outer layers of the skin. This is the most effective method to use against age or sun damaged spots. This laser delivers an intense wavelength of light to the skin. On the other hand, the non-ablative laser heats through deep columns known as microthermal treatment zones. This treatment eliminates the pigmented cells, tightening the skin, stimulating collagen remodeling. Both are commonly used to treat wrinkles, minor scars and brown spots. Recovery time for non-ablative is relatively quick (just a few hours to a few days) while ablative can take anywhere between 3-10 days.


Fractional Laser:

This laser drastically reduces recovery time by penetrating the skin in micro pinpoints as opposed to the ablative and non-ablative lasers which sweep over the treatment area. The two popular treatments that use fractional lasers and Clear + Brilliant and Fraxel. Clear + Brilliant is a gentle fractional laser used to resurface the skin creating healthier, more vibrant skin. It also eliminates the appearance of pores, lightens brown spots and freckles. Overall, it leaves your skin smoother, softer, and more youthful looking. Fraxel laser skin resurfacing treats skin that requires a more aggressive laser. The Fraxel laser safely penetrates the skin promoting new collagen production by breaking up pigmentation that forms brown spots from sun damage. This treatment works well to clear uneven skin tone, minimize the appearance of acne scars, stretch marks, smooth and soften skin, and reduce fine lines or wrinkles.

 

Alexandrite:

Is a laser using a green gem to create desired wavelength to penetrate a red spectrum. This laser is commonly used for vascular and pigmented lesions, hair and tattoo removals. This laser pulses the skin feeling like a snapping of a rubber band. A topical anaesthetic may be applied to the skin or cooling immediately after the treatment to alleviate any discomfort. A bandage or patch should be used to cover the treated area a few days after to avoid scrubbing or using abrasive cleaners.

 

CO2 Laser:

A CO2 laser is a carbon dioxide laser that generates an infrared light from an ablative laser. This laser has similar effects of dermabrasion and chemical peels but it removes the skin by vaporizing rather than sanding or using chemicals. This method of laser skin resurfacing helps your skin appear healthier and tighter from blotches, scars, fine lines, or wrinkles.

 

Erbium:

Erbium uses a white metal to produce an infrared laser. This method is for those who wish for a more drastic improvement in their skin appearance. It removes deeper lines and wrinkles with fewer side-effects and a diminished recovery time.

 

IPL (Intense Pulsed Light)

IPL lasers produce an intense wavelength pulsed light to penetrate brown and red pigments. This option is popular for people who want to treat brown spots and inflamed blood vessels simultaneously.

 

ND: YAG

This laser uses a crystal that produces near infrared light. Laser hair removal is commonly used with this type of laser.

 

Pulsed Dye:

Pulsed Dye produces a yellow wavelength which targets the red color pigment, aiming to reduce the appearance of blood vessels or acne scars.

 

Q-switched:

The Q-switched laser has a laser beam that pulses for a mere millionths of a second. Being brief doesn’t harm the surrounding tissue and makes for a precise, efficient, high-powered beam perfect for tattoo removal or toenail fungus.