Lasers for Your Skin
Information about cosmetic laser treatments |
Cosmetic lasers represent a large part of aesthetic medicine. To name a few of their many functions, laser skin treatments can remove hair, minimize skin scars, reduce wrinkles, tighten skin, and obliterate warts.
There are two main types of cosmetic lasers: ablative (lasers that vaporize the surface layer of your skin) and non-ablative (lasers that penetrate deeply without breaking the surface of your skin). Ablative and non-ablative lasers are then broken down into many subcategories of cosmetic lasers (i.e. carbon dioxide, pulsed dye, nd: yag), which are further broken down into numerous different laser skin devices based on the manufacturer (i.e. Cutera, Candela) and brand name (i.e. Fraxel, Titan, Vbeam).
Laser therapy, or laser facial procedures, work by targeting a wavelength of high energy light on a specific area of the skin. The light is produced by different mediums: gases (i.e. carbon dioxide), liquids (i.e. dye) or solids (i.e. alexandrite). Because different wavelengths treat different skin conditions, numerous models of cosmetic lasers have been developed. One model might penetrate at a certain wavelength to treat skin pigmentations, while another must operate at a higher or lower wavelength to rejuvenate the skin. This is why there are so many different kinds of skin lasers out on the market.
To clear things up some more, here is a quick breakdown of a comsmetic laser's name. Take a non-ablative 595nm pulsed-dye Candela Vbeam for instance. This laser's full name means that the laser is:
- Non-ablative - In other words, it doesn't damage the of surface your facial skin.
- It fires in pulses at a wavelength of 595nm with dye (versus carbon dioxide) as its medium.
- It's made by a company called Candela.
- And this specific Candela laser model has a brand name called Vbeam. Most people will refer to this particular cosmetic laser as just Vbeam.
To complicate things even more, some cosmetic lasers aren't even real lasers. These "light-based treatments" are called "lasers" in the field of aesthetic medicine simply because they treat similar cosmetic issues that real lasers do. Because there is such an immense variety of devices, researching the best laser or light-based treatment for your skin and what you want to treat can get confusing really fast. The information in the following pages will hopefully break down the confusion and help make everything easier to understand so you can choose the best treatment for your skin:
- Part 1: Cosmetic Laser Terminology
An explanation of what common cosmetic laser terms mean (i.e. the definition of long-pulsed, q-switch, pixel, etc.)
- Part 2: Types of Cosmetic Laser Treatments
A chart of the different types of cosmetic lasers, how they work on your skin, what skin conditions they treat, potential side effects, and who are the best candidates for particular laser treatments
- Part 3: Side Effects of Laser Procedures on Your Skin
What to expect from laser treatments and whether they are worth it for your skin