In this article the Costhetics team focuses on the many ways light can be used to brighten your skin. It’s a story you won’t want to miss.
Just in case the only information you have about lasers comes from the James Bond movie Goldfinger,
we thought it would be wise to start with some basics. Let’s begin with a definition. L.A.S.E.R. is an acronym that stands for
Light Amplification by
Stimulated Emission of Radiation.
Medical and cosmetic lasers emit a beam of light in a single colour, or wavelength. Lasers offer a broad range of power settings, making them useful in a variety of different applications that rejuvenate the skin.
The chief benefit of lasers for cosmetic rejuvenation is their precision. The high intensity light of a laser can be focused to transmit light energy on to a very small area, which gives us the term laser-focused.
Two types of lasers are used by aesthetic professionals in cosmetic practices. Each has its own purpose and both have proven to be effective in giving skin a youthful glow and radiance.As a general rule, the more you invest in initial discomfort and subsequent recovery, the more you will be able to accomplish in a given treatment.
The chief differences between the effects of ablative and non-ablative lasers have to do with the wavelengths they emit. For this reason, a combination of several different lasers may be recommended to address facial ageing and discoloration.
Laser light is not the only light used for aesthetic enhancement. Many different light-based technologies are effective at rejuvenating the skin. These technologies include
As you’ve already read, lasers produce a pulse of single wavelength light energy. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatments use a flash lamp (rather than a laser) to rejuvenate skin. Like lasers, IPL machines can be dialled to a range of power settings. Unlike lasers, however, IPL lamps produce light energy of multiple wavelengths and are great for patients with the diffuse redness and dilated vessels on the face associated with rosacea.
IPL treatments provide a primary improvement in pigment (browns and reds). They also heat the deeper layers of skin to stimulate collagen production. Between increased collagen and the improvement in texture and pigment, people who undergo IPL treatments generally experience an overall glow or luminosity to the skin.
The bottom line: If your skin irregularities are mostly to do with pigment, IPL and Pulsed Dye Laser treatments for skin rejuvenation are probably your best bet. If you’re trying to improve deeper textural problems such as pronounced wrinkles and scars, laser technologies are most likely to offer significant improvement.
We could list all the names, sub-categories, and brands of lasers – Nd: YAG, fractional lasers, CO2 lasers, etc. – or provide a detailed and technical explanation of the differences between lasers and light therapies. Instead, however, we’re going to focus on what matters most to you: the benefits of laser skin rejuvenation.
IPL photofacials are also a valuable treatment option, though the results are not as good as with laser treatment.
Light-based treatments, including infrared devices and radio-frequency-based systems, have also proven to provide good results.
Intense Pulsed light treatments can also be effective in lightening and smoothing lesions.
Ablative lasers such as CO2 and Erbium: YAG are generally the lasers of choice for this problem.
In some instances, pulsed dye, Nd: YAG, or a diode laser may be indicated.
IPL can provide some lightening of a tattoo, but is generally not recommended.
We should note that laser skin rejuvenation therapies and IPL treatments can improve the tone and texture of skin. They cannot eliminate excessive skin or tighten the sagging skin that can cause a weak chin line and jowls. Other cosmetic treatments and surgical procedures can remedy those problems.
Happily, it is possible to combine a variety of facial rejuvenation treatments into a single session to achieve optimal results in minimal time. A consultation with your aesthetic professional is the best, easiest and smartest way to determine which therapies are right for you and your skin.