Laser skin treatments are making a fast comeback. Known as one of the most effective treatments for skin, laser treatments can be used for treating things like sun damage. Skin laser treatments aren’t that simple though, and they should be treated like any other cosmetic surgery procedure. As such, there are a host of things you need to know before you head to your licensed doctor to get this procedure done.
Not Every Laser Is Created Equal
In general, these lasers work by emitting an energy beam underneath the skin. This causes the outermost layer to begin to resurface and begin the production of new collagen. There are a variety of different lasers and laser strengths. This makes sense when you consider how many different skin types, colors and issues people bring to licensed professionals to take care of. Here are the most common lasers explained:
- Lighter lasers: these lasers are typically used to treat pigmentation problems, and they don’t cause a long downtime. Unfortunately, you almost always need to have multiple treatments to be able to see results. Most people don’t report feeling any discomfort when this laser is used on them.
- Nonablative lasers: these lasers are the middle of the road option. They’re more powerful than the lighter lasers, but less powerful than the ablative lasers. With this type of laser, downtime may be required following your procedure, and you’ll likely feel warmth or a skin snapping sensation when it’s being used on you.
- Ablative lasers: these are the heavy duty lasers. Local anesthetic is required when these lasers are used.
With so many choices, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and confused. That’s where choosing a licensed professional comes in. They’ll be able to recommend treatments and laser types for you based on your specific skin type and your desired results. It never hurts to get a second opinion if you’re nervous. It’s your body, after all!
As was briefly touched upon above, certain procedures will result in downtime. A general rule of thumb to follow is that the more invasive the laser, the longer your downtime will be. Note that no laser treatment will result in perfect skin immediately following a procedure. If your doctor says that there will be no downtime, expect to have pink or red skin for about 24 hours following the procedure. If your doctor says you will need minimal downtime, that typically means one to three days of being out of commission. Moderate downtime refers to more than a few days to under a week, while significant downtime is code for you’ll be at home for at least a week, if not longer.
Choose Your Season Wisely
Are you surprised? Season choice does matter when you’re getting a laser treatment done on your skin. Consider this. The laser resurfaces your whole skin. Resurfaced skin is extremely sensitive to the sun, and if you go into the sun with freshly lasered skin, you’ll likely become sunburned and, worse, you’re at risk for developing permanent pigmentation. That’s why, winter is the best season to get laser skin treatments done. At least you can get excited for winter one way or the other!
You’ve Got to Keep Up Maintenance
Laser skin treatments aren’t a cure-all, and they’re not cheap. Don’t squander the results or throw your money away by failing to keep up with your post-treatment protocol. While protocol differs slightly depending on the treatment you get, you should generally aim to protect your skin from sun damage and keep it healthy. This includes staying out of the sun, always wearing sunscreen and properly moisturizing. If you’re curious what else you should do, consult your treatment provider.
What Can Lasers Fix?
The better question is what can’t they fix. Laser treatment therapy can be used on a wide variety of different skin concerns. From tattoo removals to fixing acne scars, lasers can be used to address complexion and aging concerns. Lasers can also be used to treat pigmentation issues, cellulite, stretch marks, fat and can also be used to correct broken capillaries and increase collagen production.
How Many Treatments Do You Need
This obviously depends on your specific case and the type of laser used. However, many agree that light lasers require three-five treatments to see ideal results, while ablative lasers may only need to be used once or twice to see results. The number of follow-up treatments you may need also depends on how well you take care of your skin post-treatment. Talk to your doctor for more specifics.
Laser skin treatments are a way that you can correct skin imperfections and a host of other skin issues or concerns. However, these treatments are no joke, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. From requiring a potential long recovery time to costing a lot of money, be sure to weigh your options before walking into a doctor’s office and asking for this type of procedure.