What is laser?
Laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Laser energy creates wavelengths in the visible light and infrared portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. The specific wavelength that is created by a laser is important for the type of problem being treated. For example, the Light Sheer Diode laser emits a wavelength of 800nm. At this wavelength, melanin, the pigment target in hair, is best targeted.
In general, all lasers work in a similar fashion. Light waves are excited and amplified by a power input (electricity). This occurs within a rectangular “box” that contains a substance, a “hole” and a partially reflective mirror at one end and a fully reflective mirror at the other end. The substance that is excited may be a crystal (ruby or alexandrite lasers), a liquid (pulsed dye lasers), or gas (carbon dioxide lasers). The excited light wave packages (called photons) are reflected back and forth between the mirrors at each end of the box. This beam of light is then directed to a delivery system which is directed at the skin.
Tissue targets, called chromophores, maximally absorb particular wavelengths of light. Three chromophores most commonly targeted for cosmetic procedures are cellular water (10,600nm – carbon dioxide lasers), hemoglobin (585nm – pulsed dye lasers), and melanin (755 and 800nm – alexandrite and diode lasers, respectively).
What skin conditions can lasers be used for?
Lasers can be used for a variety of skin conditions that include the following:
- facial blood vessels (telangiectasias)
- sun spots
- unwanted hair
- sun damaged skin
- wrinkled skin
Are there side effects to laser treatment?
Side effects for laser treatment depend on the type of laser being used.
Vascular birthmarks and facial blood vessels (telangiectasias) are treated with the Versa Pulse laser. This laser uses a sapphire water cooled tip at the end of the hand piece that allows for cooling of the upper layers of the skin as well as makes the laser more comfortable. Side effects may include mild pain, redness, and temporary swelling. Birthmarks may require 3 – 5 treatments or more.
Tattoos and other pigmented lesions are treated with the Versa Pulse Q Switched laser. Amateur tattoos can usually be removed more easily than professional ones. It may take up to ten treatments or more for professional tattoos to clear due to the very sophisticated and stable organic dyes mixed with metallic elements that are used. Red, orange, purple, blue, and black tattoos respond better than yellow or green which may not totally clear. Side effects may include mild pain, crusting, and mild bleeding.
Unwanted facial hair is treated with the Light Sheer Diode Laser. Several treatments are needed to achieve permanent hair reduction. Side effects include mild pain, redness, temporary swelling, and slight crusting around the hair follicle.
Facial wrinkles are treated with the Ultrapulse CO2 laser. This laser produces a controlled burn that penetrates to the second layer of skin thereby reducing wrinkles, sun damage, and acne scars. Treatment with a CO2 laser is aggressive and has the greatest amount of “down time”. Side effects include redness, crusting, and oozing. Because this laser is not tolerated without anesthesia, local numbing, nerve blocks, and tumescent solution are utilized depending on the treatment site.
The sciton laser is a band light ideal for sun spots, blood vessels, and microlaserpeels. The laser has the capacity to use laser light (a single, collimated beam to treat a specific target) and a broad band light (a range of wavelengths to treat more than one target). This laser is ideal for mild-moderate wrinkles and sunspots. It can also be used to treat blood vessels as well. A fractionated head may be used for deeper peels(similar to the fraxel laser).
The DEKA DOT Fractional Co2 laser is our most successful way of resurfacing the skin of the face and neck. This laser allows patients to heal quicker and with less downtime.