The use of lasers to treat various skin conditions and to remove unwanted hair has increased in tandem with the technology. At Sterling Aesthetics in Santa Fe, Marian Urban has stayed on the cutting edge of laser treatments and offers them to solve skin problems for her patients.
What are laser skin treatments?
Lasers have been used to address myriad medical conditions, from eye surgery to removing skin cancers. In aesthetics, lasers are used for skin enhancement, vein/vessel destruction, and hair removal. At Sterling Aesthetics we use YAG (named after the crystal in the laser) lasers and IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) devices, which work in a similar fashion to lasers. The devices generate intense pulses of light that penetrate the skin and target its underlying pigment, blood vessels, or hair roots, depending on the skin condition you wish to treat or enhance. For skin rejuvenation, these high-intensity light beams work by triggering the patient’s wound-healing response, increasing collagen production underneath the skin, which is responsible for revitalizing the surface skin. For vein and hair removal, the laser generates heat that damages either the blood vessels or hair follicles, removing the unwanted veins or hair.
What can be treated with laser?
There are various skin conditions that can be treated with laser technology:
- Unwanted hair. Say goodbye to shaving, waxing, and plucking, all thanks to a laser. Usually more effective on dark hair, laser hair removal may require six sessions to achieve smooth, hairless skin permanently. This is ideally used to reduce hair on the legs, arms, backs, underarms, face, and on the more sensitive areas of the body such as the chest, breasts, and bikini area.
- Brown spots. Nothing says you’re getting older than the appearance of brown age spots. In addition to natural aging, sun exposure plays a part. Lasers can be used to remove them and improve your skin tone.
- Facial redness. Also known as rosacea, this chronic skin inflammation can appear as spider-like blood vessels and skin eruptions. Laser treatments are effective on rosacea.
- Spider veins, engiomas, and facial capillaries. These bothersome lines have no place on your skin. In treatment, laser energy is absorbed by the targeted veins, damaging them. The destroyed veins are then reabsorbed by the body.
What are the different types of lasers available?
These are different types of lasers/IPLs used for the various treatments:
- Cutera Cool glide® Laser. The CoolGlide laser effectively treats both superficial “spider” veins and deeper blue leg veins.
- Cutera LimeLight® IPL. The LimeLight IPL creates effective skin rejuvenation with only minimal discomfort and no downtime. The LimeLight IPL treats skin redness, sun spots, brown spots, and small veins.
- Cutera ProWave™ Laser. This type of laser is preferred for use in laser hair removal. The ProWave allows quick treatment of large untanned areas such as the back and legs.
How many laser skin treatment sessions will I have to undergo?
The number and duration of your laser treatments will depend on the extent of the body area you wish to treat and the skin condition that is being addressed. Sessions typically run from 15 minutes to an hour. The time between treatments also varies depending upon the goal. In your consultation prior to treatment, all of this will be discussed.
What can I expect during my laser skin treatment?
With most laser treatments, the consensus is that the procedures feel similar to a mild pinching or stinging. To counteract that, a topical anesthetic can be applied prior to treatment, if desired
After your treatment, your skin can appear slightly swollen and red, and brown spots will darken slightly. These conditions usually last a day or less and can be covered up with makeup.