The Lowdown on Laser Facials

by Chris McBeath


What they are:
Laser resurfacing is among the most effective (and expensive) non-surgical skin rejuvenating procedures out there. In essence, lasers produce high intensity light emissions that vaporize the skin. Physicians tend to use lasers that remove the skin layer by layer; spa practitioners are more likely to use non-blative lasers (ie: non-wounding) such as the NLite, and Cool Touch.

Laser treatments help wrinkles, especially around the eyes and mouth, shallow scarring, and skin suppleness and elasticity. They are used to eradicate varicose veins.

What to expect:
Although the physics behind each laser is different, they all use heat/light energy to stimulate the body into creating an inflammatory response . This triggers the cells to produce more collagen which, in turn, produces a firmer skin and, therefore, softer lines and scars.

There are pros and cons to various lasers.

The N-Lite and Cool Touch systems deliver a relatively surface treatment that requires no downtime, and no anesthesia during the treatment. They are good for all skin types and colors. Final results are gradual, and usually are at their best after 10 weeks.

The Erbium Laser and CO2 Laser systems deliver a more penetrating treatment with Retin A, glycolic acid and hydroquinone to prevent discoloration and speed up healing time of up to 4 weeks. These lasers require either a topical or more extensive anesthesia which is why they a physician-operated. Final results are seen within one-month of treatment.

Other considerations:
Laser and/or photo facials produce great results but they usually take at least a month to show and in 20% of patients, the extra collagen production doesn’t actually register as an outer skin enhancement. Treatments can cause redness for a few hours, and if used too aggressively, perhaps even very slight bruising.

Prices for laser facials range from $600 for an N-Lite therapy to $1,200 for an Erbium Laser treatment.

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