Lasers, non-invasive and effective, are the answer if you want clear, youthful skin; and they’re getting more advanced every year. A short visit to the plastic surgeon’s clinic and you’re done.
Laser solutions to skin woes
- Intense pulsed light (IPL) – Large pores, fine wrinkles, enlarged blood vessels.
- Fractionated lasers – Freckles, moles, small scars.
- Spectra lasers – Acne scars, wrinkles, tattoos and age-related skin discolouration.
All lasers boost collagen production and improve overall skin texture, but some are better at tackling specific problems. Let the plastic surgeon decide which therapy works best for you.
The lowdown on lasers
Laser therapy uses light beams to penetrate the skin at varying levels, depending on the treatment. By dissolving old skin cells and stimulating collagen (the building block of skin cells), lasers encourage the growth of new skin. You experience very little pain – at the very most a hot sensation or a slight “bite” as the beam is aimed at the skin.
The burning question
Lasers can broadly be divided into ablative (meaning to remove) and non-ablative lasers.
Ablative lasers, also known as resurfacing lasers, literally remove the outer layers of the skin. With ablative lasers, the skin may take more time to heal but usually needs only one treatment. The skin may stay red for days to weeks afterwards, but the new skin that appears looks tighter and smoother, the skin tone more radiant and even. Ablative treatments provide the best results for deep wrinkles but may not be suitable for those with sensitive skin.
Example: CO2 Laser
Non-ablative lasers use beams of high intensity light that penetrate the skin. They do not remove or vaporise the skin; instead, they cause deep heating of tissues under the skin and stimulate new collagen growth. Non-ablative lasers require multiple treatments.
Example: Gentle Yag
If you are planning to improve your complexion or look younger, the plastic surgeon will make a thorough evaluation of your skin before recommending therapy. Besides laser therapy, there are other therapies such as Thermage, which uses radiofrequency.