Laser and Light-based Energy Guide
About lasers and light-based therapies
There is considerable marketing to consumers on the potential benefits of laser and light-based therapies. Your aesthetic surgeon can guide you through the various options. The list below, created by Aesthetic Society members, defines some common terms often used by laser and light manufacturers and how you should interpret their meaning:
Indicates the expected time after which a patient can resume his or her normal lifestyle.
Essentially no downtime:
Less than 24 hours
24 to 72 hours
Three to seven days
more than seven days
Ecchymosis (The passage of blood from ruptured blood vessels into subcutaneous tissue, marked by a purple discoloration of the skin) that is visible on the skin without concealer applied.
Essentially no bruising:
No ecchymosis/bruising, but patients may have some immediate change in skin tone
Ecchymosis that resolves in less than one week
Ecchymosis that resolves in one to two weeks
Ecchymosis that takes more than two weeks to resolve
Skin demonstrating increased redness and noticeable without concealer or makeup applied.
Skin returns to normal (pretreatment or improved) coloring in less than 24 hours, but patients may have some immediate change in skin tone
Hyperemia that resolves in one to three days
Hyperemia that resolves in four to seven days
Hyperemia that takes more than seven days to resolve
Obvious swelling in the treated areas and sometimes in surrounding locations.
Swelling that resolves in less than three days
Swelling that resolves in three to seven days
Swelling that resolves in eight to 14 days
Swelling takes more than 14 days to resolve
Any discomfort/pain associated with treatment.
No pretreatment medication, local anesthesia during treatment, or posttreatment pain management is required; over-the-counter medications may be applied
Requires pretreatment oral medications (prescriptions), topical agents and/or skin cooling during treatment, and/or post treatment prescriptions for pain management
Same requirements as “minimal pain” but with pretreatment local anesthesia needed to obtain anticipated results
Same requirements as “minimal pain” but with pretreatment intravenous sedatives or general anesthesia needed to obtain anticipated clinical results