The Power of Light: Demystifying Your Laser Options
Laser devices have found a niche in cosmetic medicine, boasting a wide breadth of indications. In fact, these treatments are so versatile that it might be difficult to decide which one is best for you and the needs of your skin. We can help. Let’s take a look at the 3 main categories of laser devices—laser hair removal, IPL, and laser skin resurfacing—available in The Woodlands.
Laser Hair Removal
This popular type of hair removal boasts a permanent reduction in hair growth, and it can be administered nearly anywhere on the body. Laser hair removal works by delivering laser energy to the hair follicle, effectively destroying it. The laser energy is conducted through the pigment in the hair, so it works best on dark hair. Because hair grows in cycles, laser hair removal typically requires several appointments to target all unwanted hair at the opportune time. Although there is some discomfort during treatment, it’s fairly quick—most patients are in and out of the office within 30 minutes. When compared to the pain and frequency of waxing, there’s no comparison.
Intense Pulsed Light
More commonly known as IPL, intense pulsed light is not quite a laser treatment. But because it uses light, it’s often mentioned in the same category. IPL is great for treating signs of sun damage because it breaks down pigment into very small particles, scattering it and creating a smooth, even glow. IPL can also reduce chronic redness and improve the texture of skin. Because of its wide treatment tip, IPL can treat larger areas of skin at one time. This means a quicker treatment time for our busy patients. The results of IPL tend to last for several months, after which patients can undergo a maintenance treatment to help enhance their outcomes. IPL doesn’t typically require any sort of downtime, although some people experience mild redness and swelling after treatment.
This true laser treatment uses laser energy to resurface the skin. This option is incredibly effective yet quite gentle, especially when compared to ablative laser procedures. During treatment, laser energy travels from the handpiece beneath the skin to stimulate the production of collagen, an important component of healthy, resilient, and youthful skin. Non-ablative resurfacing can be used to treat mild sagginess or laxity as well as fine lines and wrinkles. This form of laser resurfacing is also useful for reducing certain types of scars and general uneven texture.
In my practice, we often pair laser resurfacing with microneedling or chemical peels, other forms of resurfacing, for a deep, lasting improvement in skin quality. Typically, mild inflammation occurs after treatment and may persist for a couple of days as skin heals itself—but symptoms are seldom severe enough to prevent you from engaging in your usual activities.