Laser treatments can help fix a range of skin concerns, from wrinkles and dark spots, to unwanted hair and visible spider veins. Laser work in so many different ways, in part because there are so many different types of lasers. Get to know some of the most popular types of laser, what they do, and whether one or another is the right option for you.
Carbon Dioxide Lasers
A carbon dioxide laser, or CO2 laser, is the grandparent of laser skin resurfacing. It’s an ablative laser, meaning that it damages the outer layer of skin in order to stimulate new collagen production and to minimize or get rid of deep lines, uneven skin texture and scars. CO2 lasers can also help eliminate warts, dark spots and skin tags.
Although a CO2 laser can be very effective when it comes to treating a particular skin issue, the fact that the laser damages the skin can lead to unwanted scarring or put you at an increased risk for complications or infections. The recovery process can be lengthy after a CO2 laser treatment, since you have to wait for the outer layer of skin to heal.
Another drawback of this type of laser is that it’s often not recommended for people with darker complexions because there is an increased risk for changes in the pigment of the skin.
Fractionated CO2 lasers, such as Fraxel: repair, are less invasive that traditional CO2 laser treatment. Treatment with Fraxel: repair often involves a shorter recovery period.
Unlike a CO2 laser, an erbium laser doesn’t completely destroy the top layer of skin. The erbium laser is usually more of a superficial treatment than a CO2 laser and will help treat fine lines, some hyperpigmentation and mild scarring. Since the outer layer of skin isn’t damaged, the recovery time after an erbium laser treatment is generally pretty quick, taking about a week or two.
The non-ablative type of Fraxel laser is similar to an erbium laser treatment. It helps to repair sun damage on the skin, reduce spots, and improve skin texture. It’s usually OK for people with darker complexions to use, as there’s less of a risk for pigmentation problems. Since the treatment is less invasive than a CO2 laser, it’s common for patients to need several sessions with an erbium or Fraxel laser to get the results they want.
Nd:Yag lasers are non-ablative. They work by targeting specific skin cells without damaging the outer layer of skin. An Nd:Yag laser might be used to treat fine lines, uneven skin texture or redness. It can also be a good option for laser hair removal if you have dark hair or darker skin.
Laser Genesis is an example of an Nd:Yag laser. It is often combined with other laser treatments to provide good overall results. Since the treatment is so superficial, many people need as many as six treatment sessions, spread out over the course of several months, to see the results they want.
Intense Pulsed Light
If you’re going to get technical, intense pulsed light, or IPL, isn’t a type of laser. But it is a light-based treatment that can offer results similar to a laser treatment. IPL involves targeting the treatment area with short pulses of light at a range of wavelengths. The pulses of light cause the darker area of skin, such as an age spot or spider vein, to heat up.
The heat damages the area, so that the spot or vein ultimately disappears. In the case of dark spots, the dark skin cells usually flake off. In the case of veins, the damaged vein is usually reabsorbed by the body.
Since IPL doesn’t damage the outer layer of skin, recovery after the treatment is usually very quick. Many people are able to return to their daily activities the same day. You may need a series of treatments to get the full results you’re after.
Like IPL, infrared technically isn’t a laser treatment. Instead, it involves the use of light to rejuvenate the skin. One example of an infrared treatment is the Titan Skin Tightening system. During a Titan treatment, the infrared light gently warms up the dermal layer of skin, stimulating the production of collagen.
Once the body is producing new collagen, the skin in the treated area becomes firmer and more elastic so that any sagging in that area is reduced. Titan can be used on the face and jawline, as well as on the abdomen and legs. Many people need two or three treatments with infrared light to get the results they want.
The type of laser treatment that is right for you varies based on your specific goals and needs. Mirror Mirror Beauty Boutique in Houston offers a wide range of non-ablative laser and light-based treatments. To learn more about your options, call 281-810-9083 to schedule a consultation today.