Laser-Based Cosmetic Treatments Offered In Aesthetic Clinics
In 2017, more than 25 million aesthetic procedures were performed in different aesthetic clinics globally. Typically, an aesthetic clinic performs different minimally invasive procedures on different clients in order to enhance their physical appearance, resulting in improved self-esteem, confidence and overall quality of life. But to achieve greater success and better customer satisfaction, most aesthetic clinics apply the latest technology in their treatments. One of the most popular technologies applied in cosmetic clinics is laser technology.
Lasers and IPLs (Intense Pulsed Light) have been used in aesthetic clinics for many years. In fact, it is the remarkable popularity of lasers that led to the immense growth of the aesthetic therapy clinics in the late 1990s. As a better alternative to cosmetic surgery, Botox treatments and harsh chemical peels, laser is a quick and convenient non-invasive technique which is ideal for a broad range of cosmetic conditions and which does not leave scars or bruises on the skin. It can also be used on different areas of the body, including cheeks, face, chest, hands, nose and neck. Besides, because of the short recovery period after laser treatment, it is usually the most ideal aesthetic treatment for busy people.
Apart from pure laser applications, IPLs (Intense Pulsed Light) have been implemented in almost every advanced aesthetic clinic. When using IPL, a beam of light comprising of hundreds of different wavelengths of light is directed at the target site. Each of the wavelengths is selectively absorbed by different structures of body tissues, allowing different cosmetic conditions to be treated in the same way. Each pulse of light supplies sufficient light energy to heat up the structure being targeted (such as melanin if excess skin pigmentation is the problem or blood vessels if excess skin redness is the disorder).
The heat generated from light energy breaks down the targeted cells while leaving healthy cells unaffected. The damaged cells are then sloughed off naturally or reabsorbed by the body for natural disposal. This process is called photothermolysis. Application of light energy to the body will also stimulate natural healing processes into action, resulting in the increased production of new tissues, such as collagen and elastin for improving the appearance of the skin after laser therapy.
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So which laser-based cosmetic treatments are offered in aesthetic clinics?
(a) Skin Rejuvenation
Laser resurfacing (also called laser peel and vaporization) is a new and amazingly popular technique for improving the appearance of the skin. It is effective in removing facial wrinkles, acne scars, fine lines, uneven skin tone and other skin blemishes, restoring deteriorated skin back to even tone and color. The efficacy of the laser technique varies from person to person and a practitioner must usually assess a client’s skin before deciding on what type of wavelengths to use and the pre- and post-treatment measures the patient should take to ensure success. Generally, however, a course of 6 sessions is recommended, at 3 week intervals.
(b) Hair Removal
For many years, lasers have been used for hair removal. Today, pulsed lasers are used in almost every advanced aesthetic clinic for hair removal because the technique is cheaper, can be used to treat larger areas quickly and can be used for a broad range of skin types.
(c) Treating Pigmented Lesions
Pulsed lasers give amazing results in the treatment of pigmented lesions. Depending on the condition and skin type, the practitioner may decide to use pulsed dye at 510nm, Copper Vapor at 511 nm, 755nm Alexandrite, or Nd: YAG at 1064 nm (doubled at 532 nm).
(d) Treating Vascular Lesions
Vascular lesions are not usually life-threatening and are often treated just for cosmetic reasons. And while there are several kinds of vascular lesions, they can all be treated using laser-based techniques because of the involvement of blood vessels in all such lesions. The common types of laser treatments you can find in an aesthetic clinic are pulsed dye lasers (range 585-595nm), pulsed doubled (Nd: YAG at 1064 nm and 532 nm) and IPLs.
(e) Tattoo Removal
The heat generated by a laser beam is effective in breaking down ink and removing a tattoo. Once the ink is broken down into smaller particles, the particles are absorbed by the body with the help of the immune system. Today, the most common laser-based applications in tattoo removal are Q-switched technique, Alexandrite at 755nm and Nd:YAG lasers (at 1064 nm).
Finally, for an aesthetic clinic offering invasive lasers (techniques that go deeper than the skin such as CO2 lasers) services, it is necessary to have internal and external energy/power monitoring systems to ensure utmost safety during the procedure. Similarly, before any kind of laser-based procedure, a fully-trained practitioner should assess a patient comprehensively for any contraindications such as tanning, pregnancy, photosensitizing medications, severe dermatitis, eczema and history of seizures.