It would be difficult to claim that lasers do not damage the upper layer of skin without giving specific disclaimers about each laser treatment that is available. After a review of all of your laser treatment options, the choice is ultimately yours whether or not to choose a laser treatment that could potentially damage your skin. Society drives us to think we need quick results. However, rushing a medical procedure such as a laser treatment can prove detrimental to your health and provide you with less than desirable results. Opting for a series of treatments with a less invasive laser procedure can help eliminate the risk of additional damage to your skin.
When lasers were first developed back in the 1960’s, there were no options for a patient. These older laser treatments could definitely cause damage as they cut through the top layer of skin. The healing process for each patient’s skin was very individualistic and the risk of infection was much greater. Fortunately, laser treatments have evolved over the years. Most, but not all, medical practices are now limiting their laser treatments to those that are less invasive to the outer layer of skin.
Browse the internet for laser skin treatments and you will find a multitude of options available. Some of these options still include the ablative-type lasers, which remove the damaged areas by focusing the laser on the outermost layer of skin. Examples of these types of lasers include the CO2 & Erbium. The doctor will typically numb your skin with a topical anesthetic prior to the procedure. The laser beam simultaneously stimulates the underneath layers of skin to produce more collagen. During the healing process, the collagen fills in the areas affected by the laser, creating a firmer and more youthful appearance where there was once damaged skin. After this type of treatment is administered, the physician will typically apply an ointment and a loose covering over the treated area until the skin has had time to heal.
This type of laser treatment is generally used for more severe skin conditions as in the case of deep wrinkles, acne scars, and skin cancer removal. Unfortunately, ablative laser treatments still run a higher risk of infection and scarring during the healing process. Greater care and attention is required to avoid any additional damage to the treated area. In most cases, these ablative types of laser treatments are done in one visit to the office versus receiving multiple treatments. Therefore, the time commitment is less than the other non-ablative laser options that require multiple trips back to your doctor’s office.
The other option for laser treatments involves non-ablative lasers. These types of lasers are less aggressive and will work below the skin’s surface to stimulate collagen, which works to fill in the scarred or damaged area. Many medical practices are now only using this non-ablative type of laser treatment as it provides excellent results without damaging the top layer of skin. Some examples of non-ablative laser treatments include fractional laser resurfacing, intensely pulsed light therapy, and photothermolysis. While all of these laser procedures provide you a safe alternative to the ablative treatments, you may need to repeat the process several times to obtain the desired results.
Preparing for your laser treatment
In addition to researching the various types of laser treatments available, it is important to inform your doctor of any other health conditions that can inhibit a successful procedure. Some conditions such as active acne, a weak immune system, and taking medications like Accutane or Claravis, may prevent you from having laser treatments. The laser equipment is only one part of the process. Your skin tone, medical history, and purpose of the procedure can all determine if laser resurfacing is for you. If you have unrealistic expectations for the laser treatment, your doctor may discuss alternative options as part of your treatment plan.
As with any medical procedure, it is essential to research any doctor that specializes in the laser procedure that you desire to have done. It is also important to ensure that he/she is a board-certified physician. Your personal experience with a laser treatment will be enhanced when you educate yourself on the procedure and the physician performing the procedure.
My experiences with laser treatments have all been positive. I always do my homework before engaging in any laser procedure to ensure the best outcome possible. I truly believe that if you choose a qualified physician who offers state-of-the-art equipment, there is no reason you should incur any issues with your procedure. I have had excellent results with the fractional laser treatment and did not have any damage to my skin.
Dr. Frankel has been practicing at the Lasky Clinic since 1994. He is board certified in Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery as well as Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. A large portion of Dr. Frankel’s practice involves facial rejuvenation including laser rejuvenation in Los Angeles. You can learn more about Dr. Frankel here: www.faceliftsurgeonlosangeles.com