Did you know some laser treatments are better for different skin concerns and even different skin types? Read on to learn all about popular laser treatments and what they can do for you! See chart below about the comparison of various types of laser and energy-based treatments and what they can do.
We love laser technology for all the things it can do to improve our aesthetics at any age.
From fine lines and sun spots to unwanted hair and spider veins, targeted uses of focused light can change and improve your appearance safely.
The advances in laser technology over the last decade provide a nearly endless variety of aesthetic applications:
Remove unwanted hair
Minimize fine lines
Improve the look of sagging skin
Diminish sun spots
Fade acne scars
Reduce acne breakouts
Diminish spider veins
Improve collagen production
Some laser treatments provide multiple improvements for many concerns at once!
As mentioned above, laser technology has made great strides in recent years, offering safe, effective and significant improvements for a wide variety of skin types and skin issues. But the different technology (wavelengths) of various laser machines are optimized to do different things.
While some laser treatment outcomes overlap, each type offers different benefits. If you’re considering laser treatments and want to compare options, you’ve come to the right place. Read on for a quick laser 101, descriptions of laser treatment types, estimates of how many treatments you may need in a series, and a rundown on what you can expect from these procedures.
How laser treatments work
LASER: An abbreviation for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation”, each laser works by emitting a unique wavelength of light, targeting either a specific cell depth or specific chromophore (an atom or group of a certain color in the skin) such as pigmentation or blood etc. The targeted skin cells are destroyed and metabolized by the body – – leaving other skin cells unharmed and fresh-looking skin and aesthetic improvements in its place.
First used in dermatological aesthetic applications in the 1960s, laser treatments can target specific colors and skin layers, for various results. When it comes to scar and sun spot removal, darkened pigments in the upper dermis (surface skin layer) are targeted – and destroyed. Similarly, laser hair removal targets the darker pigment of hair follicles, destroying them over the course of several treatments. As for sagging or wrinkled skin, lasers can be used to treat the deeper layers of the skin, stimulating collagen and elastin production.
Types of laser treatments
The Lunchtime Laser Facial - Laser Genesis for All!
The Laser GenesisⓇ treatment, from the laser manufacturer Cutera, improves many of the skin’s most problematic issues. A series of 4-6 treatments (spaced 3-4 weeks apart) can improve rosacea, fine lines, acne and its resulting scars, and hyperpigmentation from injury. It can also minimize pore size and stimulate collagen production for an overall improvement in your skin’s appearance. This laser works by warming – and eventually restructuring – the dermis layer under the skin. Laser Genesis lasers work on all skin types and tones! This is unique for laser treatments, since commonly the darkest skin types cannot be treated.
For Laser Genesis, in one clinical trial, more than 75% of participants experienced “very significant improvement” as identified by blinded assessors (meaning they did not know which treatment was given).
You can expect:
A painless procedure, often described as warm and comfortable
Uses heating of the skin to 42 degrees C over sustained period to effect a change
Minimal recovery time; skin may be red or face may be hot for the evening
Need a few of these to see good results, optimal results after a series of 4-6 treatments based on your skin concerns
Here is a short video showing how Laser Genesis, our Lunchtime Laser Facial is done.
VIVACE RF Microneedling - for Face or Body
Not technically a laser, but wanted to be sure you know about this option for improving overall skin texture and tightening. VIVACE RF Microneedling treatment is great for minimizing large pores, improving fine lines and wrinkles, lessening appearance of scars, and firming crepe or loose skin anywhere on face or body. VIVACE RF utilizes tiny needles with a 36 pin insulated needle cartridge. The needle depth and the RF energy (heat) are set per treatment area. The needles go into your skin and then RF energy is passed between the needles under the skin surface. This causes tissue coagulation and restructuring of the skin over time. The downtime for this treatment is minimal and it can be used on all skin types light or dark. We recommend a series of 3 treatments for optimal results. Learn more about VIVACE RF Microneedling treatment.
The LimeLight Broadband Light Treatment - intense pulsed light (IPL) Photofacial:
The workhorse laser of the industry, an intense pulsed light ( IPL) treatment is typically the best option for improving overall tone and texture of your skin if you have sun damage, vascular facial issues and more. However, it's not just for your face. IPL is popular on all parts of the body that have sun spots: shoulders, décolleté, arms, legs, hands-yes! On the face, it's actually great for skin rejuvenation of the treatment area for fine lines and wrinkles too. Technically different than a classic laser procedure (which relies on one wavelength in a focused beam), IPL employs several different wavelengths in a pulsed series of flashes. The variety of wavelengths of IPL (550 nm - 1100 nm) allow it to target a wider range of skin issues at once – as compared with other laser types. The pulsed light targets either blood or melanin pigments, destroying those cells but leaving other cells untouched.
IPL is safest for those with medium-to-light skin tones. Our Limelight IPL can treat acne (and other) scars, sun spots, fine wrinkles, birthmarks, stretch marks, age spots, hormonal-induced darkened areas, rosacea, spider veins, unwanted hair, and more all at once! Medical studies have shown that IPL is effective at preventing sun spots, in fact.
After IPL, you’ll notice existing spots of discoloration becoming tighter clumps of pigmentation (these tend to look like coffee grounds). The “coffee ground” spots will flake off and disappear within about a week’s time, removing the original discoloration from the skin. With IPL treatment, you can expect:
Some discomfort, often described as a rubber band being snapped against the skin
A session lasting between 45 to 60 minutes, based on the size of the treatment area
2-3 IPL sessions may be needed for optimal results
Results from each session start becoming apparent about 2 - 3 weeks after the procedure
The "Vein Zapper" - the Nd:YAG 1064 nm laser treatment
(neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet)
Nd:YAG wavelengths reach deeper skin layers than other laser treatment options and actually target blood vessels. This makes the procedure ideal for minimizing the look of spider veins, feeder veins, red capillary veins and other skin spots. Nd:YAG can be used on the face, legs, chest, or nearly any area affected skin area. A study published by The National Center of Biotechnology Information found this laser treatment to be effective for vein treatment, while posing minimal and short-lived side effect potential.
The types of veins that can be treated:
Telangiectasia or spider veins
• Up to 1 mm in diameter
• Superficial, small veins; pink to purple in color
Reticular veins or “feeder veins”
• 1 – 3 mm in diameter
• Superficial collecting veins that are blue green
Not suitable for Varicose veins
Usually requires surgery, not appropriate for laser therapy
• Large in diameter
• Bulging and twisting veins
What you can expect with laser vein treatments:
Some discomfort, often described as a rubber band being snapped against the skin
A session lasting between 15 - 30 minutes, depending on the size of the treatment area - you can even just "add-on" this treatment while receiving an IPL photofacial or other laser service
2-3 treatments may be needed to resolve the veins
After, may have bruising in the area (for larger feeder type veins)
Skin may be red, and tiny spider veins can disappear immediately!
Results should be visible within a week or two following each treatment
Can also treat a wart blemish in a snap!
The Latest Technology for Laser Hair Removal (LHR):
This unique laser with a wavelength of 810 nm is used for hair removal to specifically target and destroy melanin (pigment in hair follicles) in the treated area. The heat from the targeted light evaporates existing hair and destroys hair follicles, inhibiting future hair growth. A series of 6-7 treatments are often recommended for optimal hair removal and long-lasting results. You can only get a laser hair removal treatment about once each 6 weeks, so it takes awhile to complete the whole series needed. Start now for next summer! You may feel some discomfort during your procedure, which should subside quickly following laser use. LHR can work on all skin types, though those with blonde, completely grey, or red hair may not be good candidates. LHR can be performed on literally all areas of the face and body.
You can expect:
Heating sensation, sometimes described as the feeling of a pinprick
A session lasting between 15 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the treatment area
Continued hair reduction in the weeks following the treatment
6-7 LHR sessions may be needed for optimal results
Comparison of Laser Treatments for Aesthetics
With so many options and technologies available to treat your skin concerns, we thought it might be helpful to create this chart to compare laser treatments and energy-based treatment for your skincare and other needs. This laser comparison chart captures a quick view of 1) Type of Device 2) Benefits of treatment 3) Laser pricing comparison 4) Technology used 5) Pain level relatively speaking and 6) Downtime associated
How to get ready for your laser treatment
For optimal results, it is best to avoid sunbathing and anti-inflammatory medications for at least 2 weeks before your laser treatments. It is also recommended that you refrain from applying perfumes, lotions, and other topical products immediately prior to your sessions. You'll typically need a consult, because not everyone is a candidate for all laser type of treatments.
Following your laser treatments, we suggest avoiding strenuous exercise, saunas, very hot baths/showers, swimming in chlorinated water, and bleaching treated skin for several days following each procedure. This will help speed healing and avoid swelling and/or bruising.
Do you want to benefit from modern laser treatments today, but not sure which laser option is best for you? Schedule your laser treatment or complimentary consultation at Glosshouz with one of our friendly and expert providers and they'll help you decide if a laser treatment is right for you!