LASERS - High-Tech Anti-dote in the Fight Against Aging Skin

In recent years, lasers, high-energy light source, have played an increasing role in medical and cosmetic treatments. For skin problems, lasers can be used in a multitude of ways, not only to remove unwanted characteristics such as age spots, acne, hair, spider veins, etc., but also to improve skin texture, diminishing fine lines and wrinkles generally giving the skin a fresher look.

The effectiveness of cosmetic laser procedures depends upon choosing the right wavelength of laser energy for the targeted tissue. The beam of light, with a specified wavelength, targets the specific type of body tissue being treated.

For example:

  • For hair removal, the laser targets the melanin (dark pigment) in the hair follicle.
  • For wrinkle reduction and treatment of acne scars, the laser targets and damages cells near the skin surface, leaving younger cells at the surface.
  • To treat vascular lesions, including spider veins, the laser is directed at the hemoglobin molecule.

When the beam of energy reaches its target, it is absorbed and converted into heat. The heat inactivates or destroys cells in the target area without affecting other cells around it. This is possible because the specific laser light beam is "looking for the target molecule" that may not be present in the surrounding cells, so it would have no effect on them.

With the use of lasers, we can reach much deeper levels, and affect much more significant changes, than would be possible with most other common modalities of treatment. And because of this, lasers have opened the therapeutic options enormously. And, all these significant changes are possible to most of us without investing enormous amounts in terms of time and money.

Two types of lasers are used for cosmetic skin treatment:

Ablative lasers can remove the unwanted, undesirable changes seen in aged, damaged skin while tightening and refreshing healthy skin.

Non-ablative lasers are used to heat a certain area of the skin, and can be used by anyone who is certified to use this type of laser.

Some examples of what laser treatments can do for the skin are:

  • Stimulate the growth of collagen to address wrinkles
  • Cauterize blood vessels to reduce their appearance
  • Diminish sun spots

These examples are by no means exhaustive, another words, these are not the only things lasers can do. Since lasers were first introduced for cosmetic and esthetic treatments, the therapeutic options have increased enormously, as well as the types of lasers in use today.

Lasers can correct a wide range of skin conditions including:

  • Wrinkles and sun-damaged skin
  • Age spots
  • Moles
  • Café-au-lait maculae (benign, congenital, pigmented skin lesions)
  • Brown spots, freckles and birth marks
  • Acne scars and other types of scars
  • Keratoses (excessive growth of the top layer of skin cells)
  • Enlarged pores
  • Poikiloderma (extra pigmentation of the skin)
  • Burn erythema (redness resulting from inflammation such as sunburn)
  • Unwanted hair
  • Epidermal nevi (lesions)

Lasers are also effective in treating vascular problems such as flushing/redness, as in Rosacea, spider veins, red spots (hemangiomas), unsightly broken or dilated blood vessels, port wine stains, and telangiectasia.

Because of the fact that we are all different, and respond differently to stimuli, it is important to make people aware that there may be discomfort associated with the use of some laser treatments. Not everyone will identify with this, however, for some of us, laser treatments can be uncomfortable and you need to know what options are available to you to minimize that discomfort. We have seen the gamut from the patient who "feels nothing" at whatever level of energy is used, to those who feel the discomfort before the laser is fired. Your physician will alert you to all the possibilities, and will also give you various choices that will provide you with a greater degree of comfort during the treatment. And since most laser treatments will require a certain number of sessions, you need to know your comfort zone.

You will also need to know what you can expect after the treatments, and it should all be outlined for you prior to commencing therapy.

Keep in mind that you need to concentrate on the goal; what is it that you want to change and how you are going to feel about those changes when the treatments are done.


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