Laser skin rejuvenation is a term that covers a range of laser treatments used to help make the skin on your face look younger, smoother, and more radiant.
There are two types of laser treatments - ablative and non-ablative and your consultant will discuss which is the most appropriate for your skin.
This article on laser skin treatment is written by Jackie Griffiths, a freelance journalist who writes health, medical, biological, and pharmaceutical articles for national and international journals, newsletters and web sites.
Ablative laser treatment – sometimes known as skin resurfacing. During the procedure, the consultant directs bursts of light onto precise areas of the surface of the skin, causing moisture and tissue to evaporate. Skin is removed to a pre-determined depth, taking with it sun damage, acne scars, stretch marks, and a range of other problems. The skin heals over a period of time, “resurfacing” itself, until new skin, without the blemishes and sun damage, etc completely replaces the old.
An intense laser skin treatment, ablative laser therapy is a successful treatment to improve the aesthetic appearance of the skin, but you do need some recovery time, and it can be more expensive than non-ablative treatment.
Non-ablative laser treatment – known as skin rejuvenation. This type of laser skin treatment has recently increased in popularity and is a less intense and aggressive form of skin treatment. Requiring little or no healing time, the consultant directs laser light onto precise areas of the skin, without visibly damaging the epidermis. The laser induces the underlying dermis to respond as if it’s healing a wound, regenerating the skin with more collagen and elastin.
Over the course of several treatments, non-ablative lasers will leave your skin feeling fuller, firmer, smoother and with a more even tone. Blemishes, sun damage, age spots, fine lines, and many other problems can be repaired. Advantages of this kind of treatment include minimal or no downtime and recovery, and a less expensive price tag; however you will need to have several sessions over time before the effects can be fully appreciated.
There are five types of non-ablative lasers:
- Visible light lasers – used for improving redness, brown spots, enlarged pores, and wrinkling
- Intense pulsed-light sources (IPL) – predominantly used for hair removal
- Infrared lasers – used for skin tightening and stimulating long-term collagen rebuilding
- Photodynamic therapy (PDT) – used for serious skin complaints including basal cell carcinoma, psoriasis, cancer, and others
- Radio frequency lasers – used to treat sagging skin, cellulite, and to generally rejuvenate skin on the face
What happens during the procedure?
Your consultant will have already discussed which is the best type of treatment for your skin. Often they will do a test patch a week or so before treatment to determine whether your might have any adverse reaction to the procedure. Before you begin full treatment, you’ll be asked to return to the consultant for assessment of the test patch. For light skins, this will normally be a week later, but darker skins may need up to six weeks for any reaction to become apparent.
During laser skin treatment, you will be asked to sit or lie down on a reclining chair or bed, and will have to wear special glasses or goggles to protect your eyes. The consultant will first apply a special gel or some cooling air to your face to prepare the skin, and then use a small rod or want to direct the light of the laser onto the areas to be treated. You may feel a slight stinging or tingling sensation, although many people don’t feel anything at all and only report noticing the bright light of the laser!
The process takes about half and hour, and although there may be some slight swelling or pinkness immediately afterwards, this will have completely disappeared within twenty-four hours. You don’t need any recovery time and can return to your daily activities straight away.
How many laser treatments will I need?
Many people book a course of six-ten laser skin treatments, although after the first treatment you may already notice that your face feels tighter, more hydrated, and smoother. Appointments take place every few weeks, and you should continue to use your regular moisturiser at home. The effects of laser treatment accumulate over the weeks and months, with each subsequent session bringing more subtle changes and greater improvement.
Laser skin rejuvenation cannot stop the ageing process but will make your skin look younger, smoother, and fresher almost straight away. Results are visible for up to eighteen months, after which you may want a top-up treatment.
What conditions can it treat?
The broad range of laser skin rejuvenation techniques can treat many conditions, including:
- Sun damage
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Age spots
- Pigmentation marks
- Broken capillaries
- Sagging skin
- Pucker marks and frown lines
- Smoker’s lines
- Uneven skin colour
- Environmental damage