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Education Library: Cosmetic Laser Treatments

Introduction

Cosmetic laser treatments are non-surgical methods that improve the appearance of skin. A medical laser is a device that delivers a small but precise amount of light energy. The light is delivered in a series of brief pulses where only targeted areas will absorb this energy leaving the "non-targeted" areas untouched. Therefore, the surrounding skin remains unaffected. The procedure promotes the growth of new healthy looking skin. Laser treatments may require only brief office visits and short recovery times. Certain types of laser to remove lines and wrinkles my require 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 weeks to heal. They are a safe and effective alternative to surgery and traditional cosmetic treatment methods.

Cosmetic laser treatments are used for several different types of skin conditions. They are used to improve the appearance of wrinkles, stretch marks, rosacea, port wine stains, acne scarring and skin discoloration from aging and sun damage. The laser’s energy penetrates the skin and promotes the growth of new healthy and tighter skin.

Men and women can have unwanted hair removed with laser treatments. Laser hair removal is effective on most parts of the body. Better results are achieved on darker colored hair. It may not be an option for people with very light hair.

Cosmetic laser treatments can improve the appearance of spider veins. Spider veins are red, blue, and purple capillaries that appear near the surface of the skin. The laser causes the blood vessels to be absorbed by the body and disappear.

Tattoos can be removed by other types of cosmetic lasers. The medical lasers cause the ink to be broken down to extremely small particle which the body can then absorb which will fade or remove the imbedded ink from the skin. Some tattoos are easier to remove than others are. Darker inks are typically easier to remove than light inks. Tattoos are most easily removed from people with medium to fair skin with tattoos that are not deep. Dark but not densely inked tattoos in areas of good blood circulation, such as the arms and chest, obtain the best results with laser treatments.

Treatment

You can receive cosmetic laser treatments in your doctor’s office. Treatment sessions are usually very short. Your doctor will place the medical laser wand near your skin and deliver the light beam treatment. You may feel a slight sting. It may feel like the quick snap of a rubber band against your skin. In some cases, anesthesia can be used.

Depending on the procedure and your skin's requirements, you may need more than one treatment. Hair removal and tattoo removal may require a series of treatments. Most cosmetic facial treatments do not require aftercare.

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