Laser skin treatments, such as Fraxel, can seem like something from the future. But the reality is that laser treatments have been around for decades. Over the years, they have evolved and become more effective and less painful. That doesn’t means there aren’t still plenty of laser treatment myths out there. People often make assumptions about the procedures without knowing all the facts.
If you’re considering Fraxel or any other type of laser skin resurfacing treatment, here’s what you need to know about laser treatment myths and facts.
Lasers Make the Skin Weak
Some types of lasers are known as ablative lasers. They help to smooth and improve the appearance of skin by first destroying the top layer of the skin. New skin cells grow, replacing the older, damaged cells. Ablative lasers, as well as non-ablative lasers, encourage the production of collagen below the surface of the skin.
The belief that lasers weaken the skin might stem from the fact that the strongest of lasers do harm the skin in order to improve it. People who undergo treatment with an ablative laser usually have to cover their healing skin with balms and avoid sun exposure as they heal. The treated skin looks raw and red, usually for some time afterward.
But laser treatments end up strengthening the skin, rather than weakening it. The production of collagen provides more support and scaffolding to the top layer of skin. This makes your skin look and feel firmer and more youthful.
Lasers Contain Dangerous Radiation
One of the other most common laser treatment myths is that lasers contain dangerous radiation which can increase your risk for certain cancers. The myth might come from the fact that the word LASER stands for “Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation.” But it’s important to understand that some forms of radiation are more dangerous than others.
If the lasers used to resurface the skin contained ionizing radiation or micro waves, then that would be a cause for concern. But the light emitted by most laser skin treatments is simply a more concentrated form of ordinary light. Fraxel and other laser skin resurfacing treatments don’t raise your risk for cancer or expose you to high levels of dangerous radiation.
Only People With the Fairest Complexions Can Have Laser Treatments
Once upon a time, laser skin resurfacing treatments were only recommended for very fair skinned people. One potential side of effect of laser skin treatments is a change in the pigment of the skin. Some people develop lighter spots while others have darkening of the skin. Older, ablative lasers were usually more likely to cause skin color changes when used on people with darker complexions.
Advances in laser technology and changes in the intensity of the laser beam now allow people of all complexions to benefit from laser skin resurfacing. If you have darker skin, your surgeon will review your options with you and let you know what steps can be taken to reduce the risk for skin color changes.
Laser Treatments Can Replace Surgery
Although laser treatments do help reverse or reduce certain signs of aging, such as wrinkles and uneven skin tone and texture, they won’t replace surgery for patients who are better candidates for surgery. Plastic surgery that helps to rejuvenate the face usually focuses on reducing areas of sagging or skin laxity. A laser treatment won’t tighten the skin.
If you do have some skin laxity or a mild amount of sagging and aren’t ready for surgery or don’t want surgery at all, there are non-surgical skin tightening treatments. Ulthera uses ultrasound energy to encourage collagen production beneath the skin, helping to tone and tighten mild sagging. It’s not the treatment for everyone, but if you are just noticing early signs of skin laxity, it might be an option for you.
All Laser Treatments Destroy the Top Layer of Skin
Ablative lasers destroy the top layer of skin, so that new skin cells can grow. Usually, ablative lasers provide very dramatic results, but they also have a lengthy recovery time and can be painful. Non-ablative lasers leave the top layer of skin intact. Instead, they focus their energy on the layer right below the skin. The results are noticeable, but less dramatic. On the plus side, the recovery time is usually a lot shorter and patients experience a lot less discomfort.
The aestheticians working under the supervision of Dr. Paul Vitenas at Mirror Mirror Beauty Boutique, in Houston Texas, offer a range of laser treatments, from Fraxel and IPL, to laser hair removal. To learn more about your options for laser treatments, call 281-810-9083 to schedule a consultation today.