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How To Determine Which Laser Treatment Is Right For You

Have you recently taken inventory of what’s going on with your skin? Maybe you celebrated summer with reckless abandon, spending most of your days out in the sun and now you see new dark spots and lines that were barely visible in March. Or perhaps you have other skin concerns like acne, hyperpigmentation, or enlarged pores that continue to plague you. Fortunately, laser treatments can be your saving grace when it comes to skin rejuvenation. 

Female model at Coast Dermatology and Laser Center in Laguna Beach, CA

I know there are tons of topical creams available in beauty counters right now. It’s so easy to get caught up with brand names, luxurious packaging, and their striking marketing campaigns on social media. But nothing is as effective for sun damage as laser treatments. When you combine the constantly advancing technology with the expertise, knowledge, and experience of a board-certified dermatologist, then you have the best strategy for achieving your best skin yet. Here at Coast Dermatology & Laser Surgery Center in Laguna Beach, California, led by cosmetic expert Dr. Goldberg, we offer an extensive array of cosmetic and medical dermatology treatments to address your needs. 

So, with this multitude of laser treatments that promise to reduce wrinkles, tighten skin, or fade scars with just a few zaps, how do you know which procedure is right for you? Keep in mind that not all lasers are created equal –each will utilize a specific wavelength to treat different symptoms and skin concerns. Before booking an appointment, take a look at this short laser treatment guide to the common options available.

Ablative Laser Treatment

This laser treatment works by delivering an intense wavelength of light to the skin. It is a wounding laser that removes the layers of the skin and prompts your body to repair itself by producing new, healthy skin. It effectively treats fine-to-moderate wrinkles, age spots, uneven skin tone, sun-damaged skin, and acne scars. The two types of ablative lasers are:

CO2 Lasers – 

Co2 Lasers, like the UltraPulse-Fractional Co2 laser, use carbon dioxide gas to produce light. It deeply penetrates the skin, effectively removing the entire epidermis or outer layer of the skin. It can produce dramatic improvements in pigmentation and skin elasticity. You will need about 2-3 weeks of recovery time for this laser treatment.

Erbium: YAG Lasers – 

Erbium: YAG Lasers use less heat and only penetrates about 20 percent as deeply as CO2 lasers. It can be used to treat less severe wrinkles and scars on the face, neck, chest, and hands, as well as acne scars, sun-damaged skin, and moles. Because the treatments are less painful and will have fewer side effects, the skin will heal faster with about a week of recovery time.

Ablative lasers are great for treating acne scars, sun damage, brown spots, hyperpigmentation, and moles on the face, neck, chest and hands.

Non-Ablative Laser Treatment

Unlike ablative lasers that heat and remove the epidermis, non-ablative lasers target the layers underneath the surface, making them generally non- or minimally invasive. These lasers stimulate collagen growth and tighten the underlying skin, improving skin tone and texture. Treatments can effectively correct fine lines and mild-to-moderate skin damage. Multiple sessions are usually required for optimal results. Examples of non-ablative lasers include:

Nd:YAG Laser – 

Neodymium-doped Yttrium Aluminum Garnet is a crystal that is used to emit infrared light with a 1064 nm wavelength to create heat and destroy diseased cells. This type of laser can treat pigmented lesions, vascular lesions, spider veins, and skin pigmentation. It is also used for tattoo and hair removal. Redness, swelling, and itching may last up to several days after the procedure.

Alexandrite Laser – 

Emitting high energy light beams with a 755 nm wavelength, this laser effectively and precisely causes tissue destruction while leaving the surrounding area undamaged. It is used for laser hair and tattoo removal, as well as to treat brown spots due to sun damage, pigmentation, pigmented lesions, birthmarks, and leg veins. Redness, swelling, and itching may last for a few days. 

IPL – 

Intense Pulse Light may not technically be a type of laser, but its light-based treatment shares similar objectives, procedures, and results. It effectively treats sun-damaged skin, freckles, acne, rosacea, skin pigmentation, and broken capillaries on the face, neck, chest, and hands. It improves the appearance of your skin without any downtime.

Non-ablative lasers can be used to improve sun damage, acne, veins, redness, freckles as well as remove hair or tattoos. 

Sublative Technology

In addition to laser or light therapy, sublative rejuvenation is another effective treatment which uses bi-polar radiofrequency to help erase fine lines, shrink large pores, tighten skin, and heal acne scarring. Even without the use of lasers, they can still effectively resurface the skin and produce similar results as various laser treatments.

I know it can be confusing to learn and understand all these laser treatments and determine which procedure is right for you. But lasers will continue to be an essential treatment for most cosmetic regimens, especially since the projected increase in the implementation of lasers for dermatologic conditions is set to exceed 17 billion in revenue by 2024. Learn more about these advancing laser options at the American Academy of Dermatology Association. It is essential that you first consult with a board-certified dermatologist to help guide you through your laser journey. 

Find Out How You Can Benefit From A Laser Treatment

Our Laguna Beach patients benefit from a customized treatment plan that best fits their skin goals. From laser hair removal to the treatment of fine lines and wrinkles, our team of board-certified dermatologists will be focusing on improving your health and beauty. Contact Coast Dermatology & Laser Surgery Center at 949-499-1389 to schedule an appointment.


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