Lasers are an accurate and non-invasive treatment for a variety of blemishes and skin disorders, and they have been used to treat chronic rosacea, broken capillaries and the appearance of ‘spider veins’ in older patients. Laser technology has developed far enough that the procedure has become a field unto its own, made up of several unique laser treatments: the smooth beam laser, a non-ablative laser, and a pulse dye laser, each with their own unique approach to the process.
The smooth beam laser is traditionally used to treat cases of acne ranging from moderate to severe, and too the scarring effects from serious acne earlier in life. This laser operates at a 1450 NM wavelength, pinpointing the problems on the skin without damaging the surface or requiring too much time to charge itself in between procedures. A beam of intense light lasers deep into the skin and delivers a therapeutic heat to the affected area. However, like other laser treatments, the smooth beam laser will leave the skin sensitive after the procedure and patients are instructed to avoid any direct exposure to the sunlight. Sun screen applications can help people navigate their everyday life until the sensitivity of the laser work fades away.
Non-ablative lasers are also used for hair removal, but it’s recommended that patients might sure to keep any lotions and makeup off the area before the laser procedure removes the unwanted hair from bikini lines, the arms and underarms, the legs and the face. Lasers are able to target infinitesimal patches of hair without damaging the skin or grazing the surrounding hairs, and thanks to the speed of modern laser technology, it takes operators less than a fraction of a second before readying the laser for another zap on another cluster of fine hairs. Sensitive areas like the upper part of the lip can be treated by laser in less than a minute, and without the scarring or damage that would accompany harsher hair removal procedures.
Alternative lasers like the Pulsed Dye Laser work with a concentrated beam that is able to target the actual blood vessels within the skin, at which point the light from the laser is converted into the requisite heat, and this process results in the isolated destruction of blood vessels. These PDL lasers are unique in that they use a precautionary yellow light that codes a technological gentleness that does not typically result in any long term damage to the pinpointed skin or the affected areas. Most PDL treatments are performed during outpatient clinical visits, and because lasers do not require anesthesia, the PDL technology sprays the area with a cold laser pulse that is intended to limit the sensation of pain for the targeted patch of skin.
The skin disorder rosacea is a favorite treatment for lasers due to its facial prominence, and the accorded delicacy of that area, which keeps many patients from seeking out invasive surgeries. Lasers are capable of lessening the color of rosacea and preventing future outbreaks. Port wine stains and other birth mark defects can be treated with similar processes, drastically minimizing the color and noticeability of the marks. As with laser treatment for hair and acne conditions, patients who get their blemishes and birth marks minimized or removed by laser treatment will need to protect the treated area from direct exposure to damaging elements. Although lasers are accurate and effective, they leave the skin stripped of its natural defenses and vulnerable to severe reactions to UV light.
Laser technology can also help mix discolored patches of skin with the natural and healthy tone of the surrounding skin by resurfacing a patient’s face with short but concentrated pulsations; this procedure is variously called laser vaporization, laser peels or lasabrasion. CO2 laser resurfacing can even be utilized to target enlarged oil glands on the nose. The beam can be applied to a wide field in a safe and ranged treatment that results in few side effects beyond the hyper-sensitivity of the treated area.
Despite the depth penetration of modern laser procedures, laser treatments are generally seen to be most effective on shallow blemishes. The light of the laser might pierce the surface of the skin into deeper layers, but the effectiveness of the heat itself is most potent when it is targeting surface-level discolorations and disorders. Laser resurfacing treatments can be difficult for patients with dark skin, or even those patients currently suffering from outbreaks of acne. Consultations should be made with dermatologists or plastic surgeons before scheduling a laser appointment; although laser treatments are less traumatic for the patient than surgery, patients should make sure their health and medical history qualifies them for laser treatment. Certain people are at risk for breakouts following laser treatment, and some supplements and medications can inhibit the natural clotting the skin undergoes after laser treatment — patients will be advised to stop taking vitamin E, aspirin and ibuprofen. Depending on the potency of the laser being used, many doctors prescribe preventative antibiotics in order to stave against possible bacterial infections.
Bruises might also develop following laser treatments for birth marks and spider veins in sensitive areas, and this can be eased with over the counter topical treatments. It is normal for skin to appear discolored; dark purple hues are common post-procedure, and moisture is an important component in helping to fade the skin color. However, it is not recommended for patients to use any antibiotic ointments on their bruising until the sensitive skin has healed. Hypersensitivity is a common thread in laser treatments, and in this specific case patients need to wait for a mandatory duration before treating their skin. Exposing this discolored skin to sunlight unprotected might result in long-term discoloration and scarring. It’s recommended that patients might sure to apply sunblock to any discolored areas for between two to four weeks after their laser treatment.
Williams Rejuva Center
1072 Troy-Schenectady Road
Latham, NY 12110