Laser treatments also known as laser surgery, is using a concentrated laser to cut tissue. Although it can be used to treat different conditions, laser treatments are commonly used to treat damaged skin tissue due to sun damage, acne scarring or any of the other common skin conditions.
Laser resurfacing is a treatment which is designed to reduce facial wrinkles and skin irregularities like blemishes and acne scarring. The technique of resurfacing directs short, concentrated pulsating beams of light at irregular skin and removes it layer by layer. This procedure is pretty popular and goes by the other names lasabrasion, laser peel or laser vaporization. The best candidates for laser resurfacing are ones who have fine lines or wrinkles around their eyes, mouth or forehead, have shallow scars from acne or have non-responsive skin after a facelift. If you have dark skin, then laser resurfacing may not be a treatment that you can use. In laser resurfacing, there are two types of lasers that are most commonly used; the carbon dioxide (CO2) and the erbium. Both of these lasers vaporize skin cells that have been damages to the surface-level.
The CO2 laser resurfacing procedure has been used for years to treat skin issues including wrinkles, scars, warts, enlarged nasal oil glands and other conditions. The latest version of the CO2 laser uses a very short pulsed light energy (known as ultrapulse) or uses continuous light beams that are brought in a scanning patter to remove thin layers of the skin with minimal heat damage. Average recovery time is about two weeks.
Erbium laser resurfacing is designed to remove not only surface-level but also moderately deep lines and wrinkles on the face, hands, neck or chest. A benefit to using this method is that there is minimal burning of the surrounding tissue. The laser also causes fewer side effects such as swelling, bruising and redness which makes recovery time faster. This is also a procedure that you may be able to use if you have a darker skin tone.
Laser resurfacing is an outpatient treatment, which means that you do not stay overnight. Using the treatment, the doctor may individually treat the areas around your eyes, mouth or forehead or he may treat your entire face at once. Most likely, you will be sedated with general anesthesia if your whole face is being treated. If the doctor is only treating certain parts of your face, the whole procedure should take about thirty to forty five minutes. If you are getting a full face treatment, then the procedure can last up to two hours.
After laser resurfacing, it is normal and common to have swelling especially around your eyes. It takes anywhere from ten to twenty one days to heal fully depending on the specific skin condition treated.
The cost for skin resurfacing according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons averages around twenty three hundred dollars. This is just a ball park average; however, the costs can greatly vary depending on where the procedure is being done. Since laser skin resurfacing is considered a cosmetic procedure, it is likely that your insurance company will not cover the treatment. There may be an exception if you are using the procedure to remove any precancerous growths found on your skin.
Fraxel Laser Therapy
The Fraxel laser is a non-invasive laser treatment that is used to treat fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage, blood vessels, acne scars and melasma. It is called a Fraxel laser because it treats a fraction of the skin at one time and leaves normal skin in between the treated areas to promote and speed up healing time. The Fraxel laser works by producing a multitude of tiny microscopic laser columns that penetrate deep into the skin’s layers to stimulate your body’s own natural healing process. Your body will then produce the collagen to replace the damaged skin. The final results leave you with more youthful, smoother and healthier looking skin.
Besides treating acne scars, the Fraxel laser is designed to treat sun damaged skin, wrinkles, fine lines and age spots. It can also restore your skin’s natural texture and surface, reduce the lines and wrinkles around your eyes and also treat discoloration or uneven pigmentation. The Fraxel laser also reduces the appearance of surgical scars and can be used to give you smoother skin on your face, neck, chest and hands. The laser treatment is also safe to be performed on anyone of any age and of any skin tone and skin color because Fraxel laser does not target the skins melanin. Fraxel laser therapy is another treatment that does not come cheap. To get this treatment, people have paid up to two to three thousand dollar range. Although it is expensive, it seems to be one of the acne and skin treatments that is truly worth the money. And most doctors these days have some sort of financing plan where you can get the surgery done and then pay on a per month basis at a price that is not only convenient for you but the doctor as well so you can have your surgery and he can get his pay check.
Photopneumatic therapy is a newer laser treatment for acne that was approved by the FDA in 2006. It seems that this type of treatment has been accompanied by amazing results and has been described as a breakthrough for acne treatments. In Photopneumatic therapy, the skin is suctioned with a vacuum-like tool that brings the pus to the surface of the skin and then the device emits an intense pulsed light. This light supposedly stuns and deactivates hyperactive sebum glands in the skin and kills the bacteria that they cultivate thus eliminating the problem at the source. The entire process takes twenty minutes and has been noted as being virtually painless. It seems the one true downside to this procedure is that is takes more than one session to see any real lasting results. An average session can cost you anywhere from one hundred fifty to five hundred dollars per session. They may recommend that not only do you go to five initial sessions to get the acne problem in check, but they also say to go in once a month for maintenance treatments to keep that acne at bay.
Since this is a fairly new technology, there aren’t many reviews out there from a widespread use, but there do seem to be a few success stories with scientific studies done with the treatment. It is also not recommended for people with darker skin tones as it can cause pigmentation problems.
Pulsed Dye Laser Therapy
Pulsed dye laser therapy is mainly used to treat acne and acne scarring but may also reduce the appearance of wrinkles, lines, scars and burns. The pulsed dye laser emits a high-energy laser light which emits short pulse durations followed by longer intervals between each pulse. During treatment, even though there may be a small stinging sensation, the skin typically does not need to be anesthetized prior to the treatment. The pulsed dye therapy is also effective at treating vascular lesions due to its low-risk nature. The laser also treats large areas of the skin from 5 to 20 millimeters to permit quicker treatment. After the procedure, there may be some temporary bruising or pigment changes, but they should resolve within one to two weeks.
When it comes to the final overall effect of the pulsed dye laser treatment procedure, it seems that the jury is still out. According to the American Association of Dermatology, previous study into the use of the pulsed dye laser treatment resulted in conflicting reports. The UK conducted a study of 41 patients who received the treatment and the results said that 53 percent of the patients saw a decrease in overall acne and lesions. In the study conducted by the United States, 40 patients had received the treatment on one side of their face. After twelve weeks, the researchers had noted that there was no noticeable difference between the treated sides and the untreated sides.
Despite these conflicting reports, one other study done by the Yale University School of Medicine indicated that the pulsed dye laser therapy can be truly effective when used along with a topical 5-aminolevulinic acid, which must be applied to the skin before the laser treatment procedure. Of the 14 patients, 100 percent of them showed a reduction of acne after this treatment. As an added bonus, there was also a noticeable reduction in acne scarring.
As for the cost of getting the pulsed dye laser treatment; if you are getting one small area done, then it be may be as much as one hundred dollars, and the price skyrockets into the thousands for the treatment of the entire face, neck and chest. So if you are willing to pay out of pocket to use the pulsed dye laser treatment then be our guest.