Laser rejuvenation is a term that refers to the application of laser technology to reduce the signs of aging, and improve the texture, tone, and complexion of the skin. Besides treating wrinkles and improving the overall firmness of the skin, cosmetic lasers can also be used for:
– Pigmented lesions (e.g. birthmarks, sunspots, melasma)
Two Types of Laser Rejuvenation Treatments
Laser rejuvenation falls under two categories of treatment:
The term ablation refers to the removal of the outer layer of the epidermis to allow new layers of skin to surface. In ablative procedures, lasers can be used to uniformly destroy the outer surface layers of the skin through vaporization. Non-ablative procedures use laser irradiation to target deeper layers of the dermis to promote collagen remodeling so that the skin regains its firmness.
How Laser Skin Treatments Work
The word laser is actually an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. In medicine, it works through a principle called selective photolysis, where the frequency of light is adjusted to produce the right amount of heat to destroy a target area of tissue. The laser light used is monochromatic. There is only one wavelength applied during the procedures. The energy of the laser is absorbed by components like melanin, water and hemoglobin prior to the tissue destruction.
Different Types of Laser Systems
Innovation and advancements in laser rejuvenation have produced a relatively wide range of options to address the different needs of patients. Different systems use different wavelengths and there is also variance in the pulse durations offered. Not all patients will absorb these transmissions in the same way. So the availability of different laser technologies makes it possible for patients to receive highly customized and effective treatments.
Common types of lasers include:
– CO2 laser
– Erbium laser
– Nd:YAG laser
– Pulsed dye laser
– Diode laser
– Alexandrite laser
– Argon laser
– Ruby laser
The following are a few examples of current technologies available in Los Angeles at Fine Touch Dermatology for various laser rejuvenation needs.
Los Angeles Fraxel Laser Rejuvenation
Fraxel Dual works as a non-ablative rejuvenation system. It has two wavelengths available, the 1927nm thulium wavelength and the 1500 nm erbium wavelength. The 1550 wavelength is ideal for addressing dyschromia and pigmentation issues. It also penetrates deeper into the dermis to prompt the formation of new collagen. The 1927nm wavelength treats superficial skin issues. The longer wavelength makes it ideal for minimizing the appearance of acne scars. Fraxel Dual is able to work on skin tones of all ethnicities.
Fraxel Re:Pair as an advancment in CO2 laser rejuvenation technology.
Conventional CO2 lasers treat the entire skin surface and remove the outer layer through vaporization instead of targeting the problem areas. Recovery downtime is longer as a result. Fraxel Re:Pair, on the other hand vaporizes the skin through microscopic treatment zones columns. Vaporizing the skin through vertical columns causes the area to shrink and tighten, as deeper layers are affected. Practitioners are able to target specific areas without affecting surrounding areas of healthy skin.
The Nd: YAG laser
The Nd: YAG uses the 1064nm wavelength, also known as the Gentle YAG. This system works through a non-ablative process, where thermal energy is deliberately applied to the dermis to induce the skin’s natural healing response, which involves the formation of new collagen. As we age, collagen structures deteriorate and the skin loses its firmness. However cosmetic lasers such as the Nd:YAG can remodel new forms of collagen to restore the skin’s youthfulness.
A study published in the Archives of Dermatology called Non-Ablative Facial Remodeling, by Schultz, Phelps and Goldberg et al studied the effect of the Nd: YAG on 10 female patients with erythema (form of skin redness) and fine lines. Microscopic studies revealed the emergence of collagen fibers with small diameters, indicating that new collagen had been produced. Furthermore, occurrences of erythema had dissipated along with many of the fine lines that had been evident prior to the procedure.
The Nd:YAG is also effective for leg veins and hair reduction.
The Spectra Peel laser is an Nd:YAG system that also uses the 1064nm wavelength. However it does so in a mildly ablative fashion. This system utilizes the Q-Switch mode to deliver short bursts of laser energy to the skin to heat and exfoliate the outer layer. It requires specialized Spectra lotion that interacts with the laser, causing the carbon within the substance to be destroyed. Within the dermis, there are specialized cells that promote skin rejuvenation through collagen remodeling: mast cells, fibroblasts and macrophage cells. These processes are instigated during the Spectra Peel procedure.
The Spectra Peel is not only advantages for antiaging purposes, it is highly effective on severe cases of acne as well as enlarged skin pores.
The V-Beam Perfecta by Candela uses the 595nm pulse dye laser to treat pigmented and vascular lesions. The laser’s energy can be delivered as 8 short mini pulses. And it offers a wide range of other pulse durations. Although IPL (intense pulsed light) also delivers intense light in short bursts, it uses a broad spectrum light as opposed to a single wavelength, making results less predictable.
The V-Beam Perfecta eliminates the cells below the surface which cause the pigmentation. For vascular lesions, it works by sealing the blood vessels so that they are non-functional and can then be absorbed by the body.
The applications of laser skin treatments make it possible to modulate tissue with high levels of precision that are not possible through surgery and other invasive means. In addition to improving skin texture and firmness, lasers can also be absorbed by targets within the skin, such as melanin and tattoo ink to restore natural coloration and uniformity of skin tone.
Laser rejuvenation is also great for acne scars. Read more about this.