Cosmetic Lasers 101


How Cosmetic Lasers Can Affect You

Laser procedures are quite popular, but do they really work? They certainly seem convenient, since each appointment does not take long. Laser treatment is, for example, far easier than surgical intervention for some skin issues. However, there are many aspects of laser treatment to consider.

A Brief Explanation of Laser Beams

Laser beams, are focused lines of light. They are formed by specific wavelengths of that light. Each beam features only one color. That is referred to as monochromatic light. Due to the special type of light used and how it is focused, heat is a byproduct of the laser beam.

When it comes to laser treatments, both light and heat are important. They are used together to rid the skin of age spots, sun damage, wrinkles and more. They can also make scars and other blemishes less noticeable, if not remove them entirely. 

Using Lasers for Differing Skin Conditions

You may already be aware of the wide variety of conditions lasers can treat. That is certainly true, but not every laser treats every skin ailment, or even every type of skin. Multiple laser light wavelengths and machinery types are used to accomplish differing goals. That is why you have to carefully check the laser/ aesthetic equipment for skin used in each clinic. For example, some types of aesthetic equipment are better suited for light skin. 

Ablative and Non-Ablative Lasers for Different Experiences

The two largest “umbrella” categories for laser treatment are non-ablative and ablative. Though, laser treatments are further divided. A non-ablative laser is one that minimizes its effects on the surface of your skin. Yet, it performs deep treatment well. Ablative lasers are opposite in that they often focus on top and near top layers of skin. Although, they can sometimes also treat your deeper skin layers.

The purpose of an ablative laser procedure is generally to immediately or almost immediately get rid of surface skin blemishes. Those include scars, mild wrinkles and discolorations. Non-ablative treatments are designed solely to encourage a surge in the production of collagen and improve the efficiency of existing collagen. That causes your skin cells to be healthier and hold together better over time.

More Specific Types of Laser Procedures

There are some specific lasers you may need in certain situations. For example, sun spots are often best treated by Nd: YAG lasers, pulsed dye machines or fraxel lasers. The Nd: YAG lasers are also known for their ability to treat darker skin with less possibility of skin discoloration than many other laser models. Also, CO2 laser treatment may be helpful if you want to reap the benefits of long-term collagen recovery and fast surface treatment.


When You Can See the Impact of Laser Procedures

Laser treatment results vary greatly, but  generally speaking directly after a laser procedure you may see some redness or swelling. Therefore, the results may not be readily apparent. However, such side effects usually subside quickly. When they do, you should see fast results, if the treatment you have is ablative. If it is a non-ablative treatment, it can take a few weeks for the full impact to take effect. That is because the treatment triggers bodily functions that take time.

To Laser or Not to Laser

Finally, keep in mind laser procedures of any sort are not right in every situation. For example, it is possible to have wrinkles too severe to treat with lasers. It is also possible to have skin conditions that may be worsened by lasers instead of improved. That is why you must always talk to a trained skincare clinician before signing up for any offered clinical laser procedure. It is the only way to make sure you will do more good than harm to your skin.

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