Hands up who wants a fresh start with their skin? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to wind back the clock and take away the damage caused by bad habits such as sunbathing in our twenties, the odd cigarette, sunbeds and way too much wine? Well although there is no such thing as a magic wand, I’m sure you will agree that technology is now playing a huge role in rewinding that damage.
Laser skin rejuvenation offers a way to produce impressive skin improvements for clients who may struggle to achieve sufficient changes in their skin with topicals alone; or for those who have high expectations and short timeframes. A generation of ‘I want it now’ clients, has forced the developers of Laser technologies to rethink the downtime associated with traditional Laser treatments, so now we see more options suitable for lunchtime procedures, and faster results from less treatments with less invasive procedures.
What is Laser skin rejuvenation and how is that different to Pulsed light (IPL)?
Lasers can be used in a variety of ways, superficially sweeping across pigmented lesions, working beneath the surface at a deeper level, removing upper layers of skin to reveal fresher cells for a fresh start, and by stimulating collagen through bulk heating, or micro wound healing using thermal energy.
- The way it works: Lasers produces a single wavelength meaning they are very specific in what they target – in the case of skin rejuvenation / skin tightening, Lasers target water as its primary chromophore, some do target melanin (pigment) however the safety is greater when the Laser targets water so all skin types can benefit.
- The depth and power: Lasers are specifically designed to reach into the epidermis, dermis or even the subcutaneous layers of the skin by their design and wavelength. This means the targeting of their power / light energy can be deposited exactly where we want the action to happen. IPL light is scattered and more superficial, so we use that for superficial skin rejuvenation such as treating sun spots/ solar keratosis. When the issue lies deeper in the skin such as loss of collagen or we need to jump start the skin into action quicker, it makes more sense to use a Laser for the job.
A quick review of Laser wavelengths gives us these common skin rejuvenation Lasers:
Light lunchtime Laser facial: (Non-ablative)
Diode fractional Lasers such as Clear and Brilliant™ & Emerge™ and Clearlift™ (Q-Switched Laser) designed as desktop platforms for easy integration with IPL, peels, microdermabrasion, and skin care topicals. A perfect lunchtime facial without the fear of looking scary when running into someone you know at the shopping mall.
What to expect: reddening / erythema for a few hours to 24 hours, followed by some light ‘dots’ which will darken. Make-up can easily be used to disguise yourself during this time. Its best to go for a series of 2-4 treatments – spaced about 4 weeks apart.
Rewind time with a pigmentation Laser facial: (Non-ablative)
Q-Switched Lasers traditionally used in tattoo removal do serve another purpose, that is they can also be used to treat superficial benign lesions for improved clearance of sun damage. Ideal for actinic bronzed / sun bunnies and sun tan lovers from way back that have converted to a better way of life but now need to deal with the memory of days gone by. The china doll, or carbon facial utilises this method too, the application of a ‘false’ target on the skin, in this case a carbon gel or powder accelerates the attraction of the Laser beam to the surface of the skin. Of course, it also makes sense that all skin spots or lesions are medically cleared by an appropriate specialist prior to any treatments.
Depending on the lesions, persons skin type and technology, either 532nm or 1064nm Q-switched pulsing Laser can be applied to the skin utilising the fastest repetition rate which creates a snapping effect. The action is actually happening under the skin and technically the pigmentation is being ‘shattered’ rather than being forced to absorb the light as we know traditionally happens with IPL.
Alternatively, a fractional Laser such as Fraxel® is used with a similar endpoint however the deliver method is different. This style of Laser uses columnated beams of thermal energy in a very controlled fashion – these reach very deep into the skin but leave the epidermis intact. What to expect: in the case of fractional Lasers, a beeping and scanning beam that will cover small sections at a time, often in multiple passes.
Non-fractionated Lasers in this field include: Picosure®, Harmony XL Pro, Revlite®, Halo™ and Ellipse™ and almost any other type of Q-Switched Laser capable of achieving faster enough repetition rates and adequate energy to do the job.
What to expect: a loud snapping noise which can be a little scary but the sensation is bearable, especially if an air cooler is used in conjunction with the delivery of the Laser. The skin will be quite red, you may want to hide for a few days until you feel you are past this stage. Depending on which Laser procedure has been performed, the dotty stage may be next with the formation of micro-photo granulation. The results are well worth it, even after 1-2 treatments a fresh glow appears within about week 4-6. This type of procedure is a warm up to the more aggressive resurfacing Laser treatments.
Too far gone? – Bring in the big guns - Semi- ablative and resurfacing Laser facial procedures:
Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Erbium, Plasma, Erbium doped yttrium aluminium garnet (Er:Yag), or Erbium yttrium scandium gallium garnet (YSGG) Lasers come with a variety of options which are customised to suit the client’s needs.
Many Lasers can now deliver either multiple wavelengths from the same platform or be able to be altered so that pitch, depth, overlap and beam style can be set according to the optimal results wanted.
What to expect: reddening / erythema for up to 7 days, some pinpoint bleeding or if fully ablative, wound management / clinical downtime needs to be factored in. (You may look like you lost the fight with a potato peeler as worst case scenario). IN about 3 months’ time, your new beautiful skin will emerge with refined collagen and a renewed surface glow. This is a good step for those who believe they need a face lift, moderate to severe wrinkles or loss of elastic tissue, particularly around the eye area. Allow extra time for healing of off face areas as healing may be significantly slower.
Anyone seeking to use Laser technologies should seek thorough clinical education and supervised application via educational courses that are medical grade in nature, to ensure safe and best practice is followed. For more information please go to: www.nzlasertraining.co.nz