Lasers use extremely focused light beams to transmit energy into the skin for the improvement of skin texture, tone, and appearance. They are safe and effective for minimizing problems like fine lines and wrinkles, acne or surgical scars, skin discoloration, and unwanted body or facial hair.
There are two basic types of cosmetic lasers: ablative and non-ablative. Ablative means that the laser removes outer layers of the skin, while non-ablative lasers do not break the skin’s surface.
Cosmetic lasers typically work by penetrating the surface of the skin to stimulate the production of collagen from within. Modern cosmetic lasers are usually fractional, meaning that they touch the skin in tiny dots, separated by large areas of skin that is left untreated. Since less skin is damaged in typical laser treatments, recovery time tends to be quite short.
For many patients, laser treatments do a tremendous job of reducing the appearance of scars, wrinkles, and irregular skin pigmentation. However, those with certain medical conditions, skin tones, and skin types may not make good candidates for a laser procedure.
Who is a Candidate for Laser Treatments?
Cosmetic lasers are highly effective at diminishing lines and wrinkles, superficial facial scars, and uneven pigmentation conditions that are unresponsive to milder forms of treatment. Ideal candidates for laser treatments have non-oily skin that is elastic and not prone to developing scars following an injury.
One characteristic of a good candidate for any cosmetic procedure is a patient who has realistic expectations regarding their outcomes. If you expect to emerge from a treatment looking like a movie star, you will probably be disappointed. However, cosmetic treatments like laser skin resurfacing can significantly enhance your appearance and self-esteem.
Poor Candidates for Laser Procedures
Patients who have extremely minor skin problems often make poor candidates for laser procedures. Although it is extremely safe, laser skin resurfacing is a serious procedure that can require significant downtime. Milder forms of treatment are available and often recommended for those dealing with only minor skin complaints.
People with an extremely dark skin tone often make poor candidates for laser treatments. This is because the procedure works by transmitting focused laser light into pigmented cells, causing their destruction. Since a person with a darker skin tone has more skin pigment in their skin, they can absorb more laser energy than is intended, leading to potential complications.