In a recent webinar, Dr. Krant spoke about the various laser technologies that are available in cosmetic dermatology. There are many options available for patients who wish to achieve more youthful skin non-surgically or address issues like unwanted tattoos, spider veins, scarring, and more. Here are some of the basics you should know about laser procedures.
How Do Cosmetic Lasers Work?
Lasers work by delivering light energy in a focused collimated beam which keeps the energy organized, as opposed to light bulbs which are non-collimated and have waves spreading out in all directions. Lasers can be beneficial in medicine for several purposes, ranging from being used as surgical knives to rejuvenating the skin.
Dr. Krant explained in her webinar that “what determines the power of the laser and what the laser does is mostly the wavelength and the way it’s delivered.” For example, pulsed dye lasers, such as VBeam, are attracted to red targets, while Ruby lasers are attracted to brown targets. Modern, safer lasers often use a fractionated beam, meaning that they treat a grid of dots rather than a continuous sheet of skin. Laser energy can also be ablative or non-ablative. Non-ablative lasers heat the skin in controlled spots but do not create an open wound, which means no bleeding or scabbing. Non-ablative lasers are milder, so they may require more treatment sessions. Some examples of fractionated non-ablative lasers include Fraxel Dual, Fraxel Restore, LaseMD, and Clear + Brilliant.
Laser Skin Rejuvenation
Laser rejuvenation procedures can be used to address common signs of aging or other cosmetic concerns such as acne scars or redness. Lasers can be used to target hyperpigmented cells or irregular texture for a smooth, more even, and youthful appearance. One popular option is Intense Pulsed Light (IPL), a device that is like a laser but is not technically a true laser since it uses filters to organize non-collimated light. IPL is commonly used for “photofacials”, to reduce redness and brown spots, and to potentially help with rosacea and minor texture issues. Commonly used rejuvenating true lasers include the above mentioned non-ablative fractionated lasers as gentler options for reducing hyperpigmentation, smoothing texture, and increasing collagen production for improved elasticity, or the more robust ablative fractionated lasers such as Fraxel Re:pair CO2, or erbium, which come with more downtime, and more risk, but potentially also more improvement in a single session.
Broken Blood Vessels or Spider Vein Treatment
Vascular lesions such as visible broken blood vessels or spider veins can also be reduced using laser treatments. Devices such as the Cutera Excel V laser are directed at the visible vein, which then absorbs the energy and is ultimately destroyed. The body will then naturally remove this damaged tissue, so the skin appears clear and even. These laser treatments are relatively comfortable and can be completed in as little as 15 minutes with minimal downtime.
Dr. Krant uses the PicoSure laser to remove unwanted tattoos. This laser uses ultra-short pulses of light energy to target and break down the ink particles within the unwanted tattoo. This breaks apart the particles so that they are small enough to be carried away by the body. PicoSure can be used for all colors of tattoo inks, including blue and green inks, which can be difficult to remove with other technologies. The device also causes no damage or injury to the skin surrounding the tattoo and requires fewer treatment sessions compared to other options.
Lasers for Scar Improvement
Scars can serve as unwanted reminders of painful or traumatic events or make patients feel self-conscious about their appearance. Laser treatments can be an effective way to reduce the appearance of different types of scars. VBeam, IPL, or other devices can be used to reduce unwanted pigmentation and redness, while other lasers such as Fraxel may help reshape or smooth scar textures. Dr. Krant may also recommend options like dermal fillers to disguise indented scars to enhance your results.
Schedule a Consultation
When it comes to laser treatments, it is crucial to choose an educated physician. Well-trained physicians understand lasers, their settings, and your skin type so they can handle the laser correctly, and take necessary precautions like using protective eyewear. Dr. Krant is a board-certified dermatologist with advanced training in cosmetic dermatology and laser procedures.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Krant at Art of Dermatology at the Laser & Skin Surgery Center of New York in New York City, contact us online for a consultation. Returning patients may also call the office to schedule their appointment.