If you want to correct a skin issue or make your skin look
Fillers and injections will help minimize the appearance of lines and wrinkles but they won’t correct issues with pigmentation or redness. Chemical peels and microdermabrasion treatments can help to resurface skin and minimize dark spots and rough patches, but they won’t correct skin laxity.
One of the most versatile treatment types available, lasers can treat a range of skin concerns. In fact, the number of laser treatment options available can make the process of choosing the treatment that’s right for you seem overwhelming. If you’ve been thinking about getting laser treatments, but you aren’t sure where to start, consider this your complete guide to lasers. We answer the questions you wish you’d asked!
What Do Lasers Do?
In some ways, a better question to ask about laser treatments is: What can’t lasers do? Lasers have been used in cosmetic treatments for years. They’ve evolved over the years to provide more effective treatments with fewer side effects. Lasers also work on a wider variety of skin types and complexions today than they did in the past.
One of the most common uses of laser treatments is to get rid of unwanted hair. Laser hair removal targets the pigment in hair, destroying the follicle in the process. It can take a while for full results to appear and many people need multiple treatment sessions, but once results are visible, they are usually permanent. Patients love the idea of never having to shave again!
Another use for laser treatments such as Fraxel laser is to correct pigment issues in the skin. The laser can break up areas of hyperpigmentation, causing dark spots to flake away, leaving a more even skin tone behind. Lasers can also help to smooth lines and wrinkles in the skin, reduce the appearance of some types of scars, and improve the overall texture of the skin.
Why Are There So Many Different Types of Laser?
Along with focusing on different skin concerns, lasers also vary in their intensity. The more intense, ablative lasers are meant for people who are looking for more dramatic results or who have concerns that need a more in-depth treatment. Ablative lasers destroy the top layer of skin, encouraging new cells to form. They usually require longer recovery times than non-ablative lasers.
Non-ablative lasers work by creating micro-injuries just beneath the top layers of skin. These lasers might not produce results that are as dramatic as ablative lasers, but they can be a good option for people who are looking for a “starter” treatment or who don’t have a lot of time to devote to recovery after their laser treatment.
Are Laser Treatments Right for Everyone?
Although laser treatments can treat a variety of issues and work on many different skin types, they aren’t the best option for everyone. For example, people who currently have an infection or who are experiencing an acne breakout might want to put off treatment until the breakout or infection has cleared. Some people might be better candidates for a particular laser treatment than others. It all depends on the concern, a person’s skin type, and how much time they have to devote to treatment and recovery. A skilled plastic surgeon can evaluate a patient’s skin and make the appropriate treatment recommendation.
Why Would You Choose a Laser Treatment?
One reason to choose a laser treatment over other procedures is that laser treatments can sometimes provide better results. For example, laser hair removal can be an attractive option for people who are tired of shaving and waxing or who have experienced skin irritation as a result of other hair removal options.
How Can You Know if a Laser Treatment Is Right for You?
There are a few things to consider when evaluating laser treatments. The first thing to do is to figure out whether or not the treatment is a good fit for your particular needs. Ideally, the laser will address the specific skin concern you have. The intensity of the laser is also something to think about. Fraxel laser treatments are ideal for more moderate skin concerns. A less intense option like IPL can be ideal if you only have a minor concern.
Another thing to consider is whether or not the treatment works with your schedule. Some lasers require very little downtime after treatment, while others ask you to take about a week off from work. The more invasive ablative lasers can require several weeks of recovery.