What can lasers do for me?
Lasers can erase brown spots, fade lines and wrinkles, smooth rough skin, remove unwanted hair and remove a tattoo. But it's complicated. One machine does not treat all problems, some treatments hurt more than others and some treatments leave you red for a few hours; others, for a few weeks. Joan Kron, writing for Allure explains how lasers can benefit you.
A laser is a focused light beam that can destroy the pigment or tissue of a brown spot or scar while leaving the skin around it intact.
Here are some of the problems that can be treated with lasers:
- Fractional lasers treat large pores, wrinkles, blotchiness, melasma, acne scars and sagging skin. Recovery can range from four hours of pinkness to weeks of swelling, scabs and peeling skin.
- Lasers for brown spots treat sun damage. Spots turn darker for about a week and then disappear.
- Lasers for red veins and red spots treat facial redness and red blood vessels, including minor leg veins.
- Lasers for hair removal treat unwanted facial and body hair. You will have redness for a few hours to a few days and occasional red bumps. Avoid these lasers if you have blonde or white hair.
- Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) devices treat freckles, sun spots and rosacea on the face, neck and chest. You will have redness the day of treatment. Brown spots will darken before fading within a week.
- If you're having medium or deep skin resurfacing with a fractional laser, stop using glycolic and salicylic acid creams, retinoids and hydroquinone a week before treatment. Do not stop sun protection.
- Lasers can hurt. Your surgeon may use a topical anesthetic or a combination of topical and pain injections plus anti-anxiety drugs.
- Do not have moles removed with a laser. Moles should be examined to rule out cancer.
- Do not get laser treatment if you're tan, even if it's a spray tan. The laser can mistake your face or body for one big brown spot. However, certain lasers can be adjusted for those with dark skin.
- For pigment problems, start with less aggressive treatments, such as a skin care regimen or light chemical peel. If you have extensive sun damage or a big event in a few months, a laser may be your best bet
For best results:
- Find a board-certified plastic surgeon with a large laser practice and multiple laser devices.
- Ask to see the surgeon's (not the laser manufacturers) before and after treatment photos for the procedure you are considering.
- Don't ask for the same laser your friend had. Allow your experienced plastic surgeon to select the best laser for you.