Dermatologists often recommend laser therapy to reduce the signs of aging or treat skin conditions such as hyperpigmentation and acne scars. This article explains how laser therapy works and the different types of laser treatments. Discover what possible alternatives are and how best to care for your skin and aid regeneration after laser treatment.
What is laser therapy?
The word LASER stands for light emission that is amplified and stimulated in a laser beam. It describes the way the laser works: light rays are artificially generated, controlled and used to penetrate human tissue to correct a number of medical and cosmetic problems.
Simply put, problem areas of the skin are treated with high energy light. The light is converted into heat and works on the target area. The mildest treatments act only on the epidermis of the skin (surface layer), while more intensive treatments can penetrate to the deepest layers of the skin.
Laser therapy offers a more precise treatment than chemical peels and is used to reduce or eliminate:
- fine lines and wrinkles
- cracked veins
- hyperpigmentation problems such as age spots (also known as sun spots) and acne scars
- scars (including acne scars)
- unwanted hair
What are the different types of laser treatments?
There are many different types of lasers used for cosmetic purposes but they all fall into two main categories: ablative and non-ablative laser:
Ablation is a medical term used to describe the removal of material from a surface using an erosive process. Ablative laser treatment removes the top layer of skin, so it takes several weeks for the skin to regenerate.
Ablative lasers are most commonly used to reduce scarring. They are also used to treat wrinkles as they stimulate collagen production. There are two different types of ablative lasers: CO2 and erbium lasers.
Non-ablative lasers leave the skin surface intact so that, although redness may occur after treatment, the skin recovers quickly. Because they act below the surface of the skin, they are especially effective in removing cracked veins, reducing pigmentation problems, treating fine lines and wrinkles, and removing unwanted hair and tattoos. Since laser can hurt your skin, try using non laser tattoo removal methods.
There are several different types of non-ablative lasers, but the most common are the DPL, Yag, and Alexandrite lasers. Dermatologists also use other non-laser light-based treatments, such as intense pulsed light (IPL).
Laser therapy is effective for removing hyperpigmentation problems such as age spots.
When should I think about using laser treatment on my skin?
If you are particularly concerned about hyperpigmentation, rosacea, acne scars, or any other skin condition, you should discuss treatment options with your dermatologist. They will recommend the most appropriate treatment for your skin. There are some effective skin care products that you could try before going for laser due to rosacea or hyperpigmentation.
How to care for the skin after laser treatment?
Laser therapy should always be performed by a qualified and experienced professional and his instructions must be carefully followed before and after the treatment.
When skin tissue is reformed (a process known as re-epithelialization), keeping the skin hydrated helps it regenerate faster.
Laser-treated skin is often extremely sensitive to sunlight, so it’s important to wear a high sun protection factor after treatment, even during cloudy days.
How to take care of the skin after laser treatment
If you have treated rosacea or hyperpigmentation with laser therapy, we recommend, after the skin has fully recovered, a gentle but effective anti-pollution skincare daily routine with products that will support your special skin needs and prolong the effectiveness of the treatment. We also recommend using sunscreen daily to prevent symptoms from recurring.