Aesthetic Lasers Blog

Archive for August, 2009


Still horrified by laser blasting of facial wrinkles followed by months of redness? This is so 90s!

New generation of aesthetic lasers is safer and more selective in treating just what the doctors says you need: wrinkles, age spots, broken capillaries, saggy skin, etc. The result? Faster healing, so you can get back in makeup and return to work with smoother skin in as little as 24-48 hours. Well… it depends. Here is a brief guide to different laser treatments so you can better understand your options.

Ablative Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Resurfacing

This is the skin-wounding original 1990s procedure.

Used for: hard-core lines and acne scars; can also tighten loose skin but is safe only for fair skin types only.

How it works: By blasting and burning away the skin’s top layer, this aggressive single treatment bulldozes wrinkles and everything else in it path.

How it feels: you should not feel anything during the procedure since it is performed under general anesthesia. Recovery time: you are a burn victim for several days with open wounds, which ooze and bleed, followed by 7-10 days of rawness while your obliterated epidermis regenerates, and pinkness for 4-5 months.

Price: $4,000 to $8,000

Efficacy/Results: Excellent (if done right) but in a few months after the treatment.

Ablative  Erbium Laser Resurfacing

Used for: fine to deep wrinkles and acne scars; can also tighten loose skin, doctor must be cautious with darker skin types.

How it works: By evaporizing layers of epidermis (the skin’s top layer).

How it feels: This proceudre is performed under a topical or local anesthesia and you may experience some burning discomfort. Recovery time: depending on the depth of resurfacing, you will feel from slight to mild oozing for 2-5 days, followed by 7-20 days of pinkness, which can be covered by make-up.

Price: $1,500 to $3,000

Efficacy/Results: Good to excellent depending on the depth of resurfacing.

Ablative Fractional Resurfacing

Types of lasers used: either CO2 or Erbium (Er:YAG).

Used for: Smoothing fine-to-deep lines and evening out brown spots in a single treatment. Can also help tighten lax skin and remove some small spider veins.

How it works: The laser beam strikes the skin in thousands of tiny spots, destroying tissue a millimeter deep in those microscopic spots only (think perforated paper). Surrounding skin remains intact, allowing for faster recovery than the original ablative devices but more intense results than the nonablative fractional laser. The hole-punching fires up the body’s wound-healing response, which generates collagen and smooths wrinkles. It’s ablative and therefore riskier for patients of color, but can be executed successfully at a doctor’s office.

How it feels: Typicaly performed with local anesthesia similar to what you’d get in a dentist’s office. After 15 minutes of post-treatment discomfort and an application of ice packs, pain is minimal. For 24 to 36 hours, skin oozes, bleeds and peels, followed by five days of crustiness. Once crust peels, new, pink skin emerges and makeup can be worn; complete healing within two weeks.

Price: $1,500 to $5,000

Efficacy/Results: Average to good.

Nonablative Fractional Resurfacing

Non-ablative simply means that your skin will not actually be resurfaced, i.e. top layer of the skin, aka epidermis, will remain intact.

Used for: Smoothing fine-to-moderate lines, evening out brown/age spots, and improving overall texture and glow.

Downtime: typically none, but the skin may be red for a couple of days.

How it works: The laser penetrates deep into the skin, heats and provides controlled thermal injury to the connective tissue, which stimulates collagen production. No oozing no raw skin. It’s typically performed over a course of three to five 25-minute treatments, one to two months apart. This procedure is safe for darker skin types.

How it feels: like the heat is building up in your skin, but no pins and needles. May feel like a bad sunburn for a few minutes after the procedure is over; afterward, skin is pink and sandpapery for three to five days but can be camouflaged with concealer.

Price: $600 to $1200 per treatment depending on the actual laser modality and doctor.

Efficacy/Results: Average to good depending on a number of treatments.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

Used for: Eliminating brown spots and other sun-induced discoloration and spot-treating broken capillaries. No effect on wrinkles.

How it works: IPL devices are not lasers, unlike lasers they emit a broad spectrum of light. Short pulses of bright white light pinpoint brown pigment cells and redness, which are damaged when they absorb the light and the heat it creates. Safe for most skin types, but a doctor may dial down intensity for darker skin tones to avoid slim risk of de-pigmentation.

How it feels: Like a sunburn. Patients experience slight swelling and pinkness the day of the procedure, but there’s no downtime, which is why it’s often categorized as a “lunchtime” treatment.

Price: $400 to $600 per treatment.

Efficacy/Results: Average and multiple treatments are required.

Ablative Non-Ablative Or Both For Acne Scars

Many methods have been proposed for the treatment of acne scars, with variable cosmetic results. Nonablative skin resurfacing is one method that involves dermis and subcutaneous heating with lasers for the purpose of inducing new connective tissue growth. Because of a need for more noticeable clinical improvements, the ablative fractional laser was recently introduced to resurface acne scars.

Ablative skin resurfacing typical causes visible trauma to the patient’s skin. Aesthetic physicians who have both modalities can try to reduce complications and improve the results of ablative laser resurfacing (carbon dioxide, erbium or fractional lasers) by combining this treatment of acne scars with nonablative lasers.

For patients of  skin phototypes III-V with atrophic facial acne scars, the combination of ablative laser resurfacing and nonablative laser resurfacing yields the best results with fewer complications.

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  • Filed under: LT | acne
  • Pulsed dye laser (PDL, 595 nm) is the current treatment of choice for port-wine stains (PWS), but 25–50% of treated lesions do not demonstrate a significant improvement.

    Combination of laser may improve treatment efficacy, especially those using the synergies between PDL and Nd:YAG 1064nm laser. There is a growing body of research and anecdotal evidence that the dual wavelength approach shows efficacy with less discomfort for the patient.

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  • Filed under: LT | combination, LT | pigmented lesions
  • The aesthetic physician or the head of the group if several doctors work together.

    The financial shock we are trying to cope with has made us sharper. The star of the practice is what can make a difference for a cash paying consumer comparing several aesthetic practices during the online research.

    What can help you look more impressive in the eyes of today’s web surfing cosmetic patient?

    • It’s not about offering the same plastic surgery procedures every doctors offers these days – it’s about daring to work differently and offering innovative presentations of new treatment options with good results and minimum downtime
    • It’s not about general marketing with billboards and newspaper ads – it’s about authenticity with style and mostly online
    • It’s not about dreaming dreams about “buying an expensive laser system… and they will come” – it’s about educating, engaging and pursuing prospects to come for a free consult
    • It’s not about materialism – it’s about wealth of self, inside and out


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  • Filed under: Laser Clinics, Marketing Ideas, MedSpa
  • What do brown spots, liver spots, sun spots, age spots, pigmented spots, sun burns, melasma, chloasma, hiperpigmentation and skin cancer have in common? The sun damage.

    Watch the Sun Damaged Skin Slideshow of alarming pictures of skin damage and take action to prevent skin problems and reduce your skin care costs.

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  • Filed under: LT | pigmented lesions, Skin Care
  • Nationwide, a growing number of people are turning to cosmetic procedures to put their best face forward as they look for a job – or try to hold on to the one they have. A survey of physicians by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery showed that 75 percent of them said they had treated patients who requested facial plastic surgery to stay competitive in the workplace.

    ”Youth is becoming more and more emphasized in the workplace,” said Dr. Steven Pearlman, past president of the organization.  “The seasoned experts, once pictured in ads with lots of wrinkles, have been replaced by young go-getters with multiple degrees and the appearance of boundless energy.” Read the whole story published by Miami Herald.

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  • Filed under: CURRENT NEWS, Market | consumers
  • hyperpigmentation in dark skin individuals

    Dyschromias, in particular hyperpigmentation, are major issues of concern for people of color. Pigmentary disorders such as melasma and postinflammatory hyperpigmentation can cause psychological and emotional distress and pose a negative impact on a person’s health-related quality of life.

    The precise etiology of these conditions is unknown. Therapies for melasma and postinflammatory hyperpigmentation target various points during the cycle of melanin production and degradation. Therapies for these conditions include topical agents and resurfacing procedures. Hydroquinone remains the gold standard of topical agents. Other efficacious agents include kojic acid, azelaic acid, mequinol, and retinoids. Cosmeceutical agents include licorice, arbutin, soy, N-acetyl glucosamine, and niacinamide.

    Laser resurfacing procedures are the safest and most efficacious options to treat melasma and hyperpigmentation on the skin of color. These procedures are best used in combination with topical bleaching agents. Given the propensity of darker skin to hyperpigment, resurfacing procedures should be used with care and caution. Maximal results are best achieved with repetitive, superficial, resurfacing modalities.

    In addition, ultraviolet protective measures such as broad-spectrum sunscreens are fundamental to the successful management of these conditions.

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  • Filed under: LT | skin resurfacing
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