Laser treatments have quickly climbed the ranks as one of the best ways to address your most frustrating flaws, from a receding hairline to wrinkles. Though it seems like lasers can do it all, you may be skeptical about whether it’s right for your skin type if you have a condition such as rosacea.
Dr. Kathleen J. Smith and our team at Dermatology Specialists of Atlanta in Decatur, Georgia, know that information is power when it comes to skin care. You need to know exactly what your skin can and can’t handle before diving into certain treatments, so we’re here with an ultimate guide to give you an idea if laser treatments might be right for you.
You may have heard that laser treatments are the best thing since sliced bread, but until you understand how they work, you won’t know just how powerful and versatile they are.
“Laser” stands for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. Translated from science-speak, that means a laser is a single wavelength (or color) of high-energy light. We focus the energy on a tiny area of your skin to treat underlying skin problems.
The lasers work through a selective photothermolysis process, which means they use the frequency of light (photo) to produce heat (thermo) in the specific treatment area (lysis).
We tune the lasers to emit a wavelength in sync with your flaw’s color, whether they’re brown spots, broken red capillaries, or other skin conditions.
There are two main types of cosmetic lasers: ablative and nonablative. Ablative lasers remove the top layers of your damaged skin, while nonablative lasers go deeper into your skin to address problems below the surface.
Within these two branches of laser treatments are several variations and brand names. The main difference between each treatment is the laser wavelength, and we select the correct laser based on what you want. Sometimes, we recommend getting a combination of laser treatments to address all your concerns.
Some of the most common laser treatments include:
Intense pulsed light (IPL) treatments aren’t lasers per se, but they’re often used to treat the same issues as lasers. They use the power of light energy to repair scarring, sun damage, stretch marks, acne, birthmarks, and hyperpigmentation.
The best part about laser treatments is that they’re an option for most patients. You’re a great candidate if you have:
Conversely, you may not be a candidate if you have:
Some skin tones don’t respond well to laser treatments and can become inflamed or discolored. We carefully consider your unique skin type and match you with treatments that are right for you.
If you have rosacea, you're not out of luck. Laser treatments are safe to use on your ruddy cheeks — in fact; we encourage it. Our treatments, especially our IPL treatments, target the broken blood vessels that make you look like you’re always blushing, reducing redness and evening out your skin tone.
So, not only can you get laser treatments for other concerns, but you can also turn to lasers to tone down your scarlet cheeks.
Preparing for laser treatments is easy. You don’t need to do much to get your skin ready; just make sure you stay out of the sun, and don’t use harsh chemicals that irritate your face a few days beforehand.
Tell us about all your medications because you may need to pause prescriptions that affect your skin and blood vessels.
Depending on the type of treatment you receive, you may need to keep an eye on your skin as it heals. Ablative lasers remove layers of skin, so you should expect some mild tenderness, redness, and possibly some peeling. Nonablative lasers leave the top layers of your skin alone, so you shouldn’t have to worry about any recovery time.
Don’t count yourself out of the best aesthetic treatments before you check with our experts. Call or click to schedule a consultation with us today to see if you’re a candidate.