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Skin Laser Treatment: Understanding the Ins and Outs

Skin Laser Treatment
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Skin Laser Treatment: Understanding the Ins and Outs

You may get an offer from a med spa in your area on a laser package but how often do you understand if that laser is right for you? Lasers can be expensive machines so most practices will have 1-2 options in their practice. That's why as a consumer, you have to be more informed on what you are recommended when you go in for a consultation from an individual med spa. 

On the skin consult marketplace, you can find laser providers based on your needs and skin type. Not because it is on sale by the med spa you go to. 

So what exactly do skin lasers do ?

Skin lasers, also known as laser skin treatments or laser therapy, involve the use of concentrated beams of light to treat various skin conditions and concerns. These lasers emit specific wavelengths of light in various speeds  that target different components within the skin, such as pigments, blood vessels, or collagen, depending on the intended purpose of the treatment. 

Skin lasers are commonly used in dermatology and cosmetic medicine to address a wide range of issues, including:

1. Hair Removal: Lasers can target and damage hair follicles to inhibit hair growth. This is a popular method for long-term hair reduction.

2. Skin Rejuvenation: Lasers can stimulate collagen production and improve skin texture, reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and scars. This can result in smoother, more youthful-looking skin.

3. Pigmentation Issues: Lasers can target and break down excess melanin responsible for pigmentation issues such as age spots, sun spots, and melasma.

4. Acne and Scarring: Some lasers can target and destroy bacteria in the skin, reducing acne breakouts. Additionally, lasers can help improve the appearance of acne scars by promoting collagen remodelling.

5. Vascular Conditions: Lasers can target and shrink blood vessels in the skin, which can be beneficial for treating conditions like spider veins, broken capillaries, and rosacea.

6. Tattoo Removal: Certain lasers can break down the ink particles in tattoos, allowing the body to naturally eliminate them over time.

7. Skin Tightening: Some lasers heat the deeper layers of skin, causing collagen fibres to contract and tighten. This can lead to improved skin elasticity and firmness.

8. Scar Reduction: Lasers can help reduce the appearance of scars by breaking down scar tissue and promoting the growth of new, healthier skin cells.

9. Wart and Skin Lesion Removal: Lasers can be used to vaporize or destroy benign skin growths, warts, and other lesions.

Different types of lasers are used for these various purposes, and the choice of laser depends on the specific condition being treated and the patient's skin type.  It can be incredibly confusing as there are so many options out there for skin rejuvenation lasers near me

Understanding Laser Terminology

When selecting a laser, the wavelength of the laser is very important to consider. It determines the depth of the penetration by the light—the higher the wavelength, the greater the laser penetration through the tissues. This is also associated with the thermal effect caused by the light which increases with the increasing wavelength. While deeper lasers work very effectively for skin rejuvenation, they can also cause a higher degree of burn in certain skin types. 

Secondly, lasers can be pulsed (intermittent light in different durations) or continuous. All aesthetic lasers are pulsed but the durations vary by each. Wavelength and pulse are important for light lasers, not for microneedling lasers for which depth of penetration of the needles is important.

Some common types of lasers used for skin treatments include:

- CO2 Lasers: These lasers are often used for skin resurfacing to treat wrinkles, scars, and certain pigmentation issues.

- Nd: YAG Lasers: These lasers are known for their ability to penetrate deeper layers of skin and are commonly used for hair removal and vascular conditions. These are also safer for darker skin as they bypass the melanin, but still have to be careful.

- Alexandrite Lasers: These lasers are effective for hair removal on individuals with lighter skin tones.

- Pulsed-Dye Lasers: These lasers target blood vessels and are used to treat vascular conditions and redness in the skin.

- Fractional Lasers: These lasers deliver energy in a fractionated pattern, leaving healthy tissue surrounding the treated areas. They are used for skin resurfacing and scar reduction.

The downside of lasers is burning, and hyperpigmentation especially on Fitzpatrick skin type IV-VI, that is those with olive skin tone to dark tones.

If you are looking to get a radiant glow on your face or plump up your skin for a more youthful look, a skin rejuvenation laser with the right provider is key. So read on to learn more about various skin rejuvenation lasers.

Popular Lasers by  Manufacturers

Disclaimer: there are over 100 laser machines manufactured from small to big companies. We have only hand-selected the popular lasers on the market available in many spas. 

1. Aesthetics Biomedical Inc.
Vivace Ultra: This is an RF microneedling with ultrasound guidance. It has 3 options to select a wavelength of 0.1,1,2 MHz  with energy output up to 50 W. Pulse length is 100-1000 ms

2. Benev Company Inc.
Sylifirm X: Dual Wave RF micro-needling system 

SmarLux Mini: SLF phototherapy device with blue, red and infrared wavelengths

3. Cutera
Xeo: Intermittent pulse laser (IPL) with a 1064 nm and a pulse length of up to 300 ms

Excel V+: IPL with an option to select 532 nm and 1064 nm wavelength, up to 60 ms 

Pico Genesis: IPD with 3 wavelength options of 532 nm, 670 nm, and 1064 nm with pulse length in picoseconds

Secret PRO: Fractional CO2 laser with a 10,600 nM/ 2 MHz wavelength and multiple settings for pulse length 

4. Cynosure
Icon: a laser with 3 wavelengths from 1064 to 2940 nM with many pulse settings. 

PicoSure: similar laser with lower wavelengths 532 nm, 755 nm, and 1064 nm

Synchro FT: YAG/IPL multi function with 1064 nm for YAG, 500,520,550,660, 650 nM for IPL. Multiple pulse settings from 0.8 ms to 30 ms

HELIX: Fractional CO2 laser with a wavelength of 157 nm and pulse length from 0.4 ms to 12 ms

Motus AZ: Alexandrite & Nd: YAG laser with 755-1064 nm wavelength, a pulse length of 2-50 ms

6. Lutronic Aesthetics
DermaV: Nd: YAG laser with wavelength of 532, and 0.1-300 ms pulse length

Hollywood Spectra: Nd: YAG laser with 532, 1064 nM wavelength and pulse length of 5 nanoseconds, and 0.3 microseconds.

In summary,  Safe lasers to build collagen, tighten skin, and resurface pigmented skin are

  • DermaV
  • PicoSure 
  • Nd: YAG lasers such as PICOHI, Motus AZ, Hollywood Spectra

Before undergoing any laser treatment, it's important to have a consultation with a qualified dermatologist or medical professional who can assess your skin's condition, determine the appropriate laser treatment, and discuss potential risks and benefits. Laser treatments should be performed by experienced professionals to ensure safety and effectiveness.

Here is a list of questions to ask your med spa before booking a laser treatment:

  1. What kind of wavelength does your laser have? Remember: the bigger the number, the deeper the heat goes.
  2. Is this a YAG, fractional or Co2 laser?
  3. Do you have experience treating my skin color with this type of laser machine? 
  4. What are the chances of hyperpigmentation with this laser?
  5. What should I avoid before this procedure? Certain skincare, procedures etc.
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