Some signs of aging, such as dark spots and uneven texture, can’t be solved with surgery or injectables. To treat certain skin concerns and restore a more youthful look, you need something that treats the skin layer by layer. Enter laser treatments, which can help solve some of the skin problems connected to aging.
Laser treatments come in a variety of strengths and styles. Some do more than treat the signs of aging. Get the full story on laser treatments here.
What Are Lasers?
While we don’t want to get too technical here, it helps to understand that a laser is a beam of intense light. The word “laser” is actually an acronym that stands for “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.”
Lasers come in a few forms, including gas lasers, semi-conductor lasers, dye lasers, and solid state lasers. Not every type of laser is used for cosmetic treatments. Some of the more common lasers you might see used for aesthetic reasons are Erbium (a type of solid state laser) and CO2 (a type of gas laser).
What Do Laser Treatments Do?
What laser treatments do depends in part on the type of laser. Some lasers are meant for skin resurfacing, meaning they encourage the exfoliation of dead skin cells (or physically blast away those cells). Other types of lasers are designed for hair removal, which means that they focus on destroying active hair follicles, so that new growth can’t occur.
Laser hair removal treatments target hair that is in the active growing phase, which means that many people need to have multiple treatment sessions to get the results they are seeking. Each session usually takes about half an hour, but can take longer or less time depending on the size of the treatment area.
Older methods of laser hair removal weren’t recommended for people with darker complexions, because there was a chance that the laser would cause spotting or pigmentation issues. Newer lasers are more advanced and are less likely to cause issues, so they are recommended to patients of all skin types.
What Types of Laser Resurfacing Treatments Are Available?
When it comes to laser skin resurfacing treatments that help fight the signs of aging, you have many choices, depending on the extent of the aging process and how dramatic you’d like your results to be.
The most intense type of lasers are ablative lasers. These destroy the top layer of skin, removing it completely. Once that top layer of damaged skin is removed, new skin cells can grow. The result is usually a more youthful look, with a more even skin tone, smoother texture and fewer wrinkles.
The drawback of ablative lasers is that they have a pretty long recovery period, as your skin needs time to heal. In some cases, that healing can take as long as four weeks.
Non-ablative lasers are less intense than ablative, since they leave the top layer of skin intact. A non-ablative laser helps restore a more youthful look by stimulating your skin’s production of collagen, the protein that helps skin feel firm and that helps smooth away wrinkles.
Finally, fractional lasers, such as Fraxel, can be either ablative or non-ablative. Fraxel is a non-ablative treatment that works by creating micro-injuries just beneath the surface of the skin. While a traditional laser works on an entire area, fractional lasers focus on tiny regions, so that healing time is reduced.
How Do You Choose the Right Laser Treatment?
The right laser treatment for you depends on what you want the laser to do, how severe your signs of aging are, and how long you can spare for recovery. For that most part, all laser treatments have some recovery after them. Whether that recovery takes a week, two weeks or longer depends on the type of laser used.
Generally speaking, the less signs of aging you have, the less intense your laser treatment should be. Often, Fraxel and other non-ablative laser treatments are recommended for people with the early signs of aging. Since ablative lasers are able to penetrate the skin more deeply and provide more dramatic results, they are usually reserved for people with more advanced signs of aging.
Dr. Paul Vitenas and the staff at Mirror Mirror Beauty Boutique can review your laser treatment options with you and help you choose the method that is best for you. To schedule a consultation, call 281-810-9083 today.