Lasers and our skin: illuminating the possibilities

Lasers have gained widespread recognition in various medical disciplines, with ophthalmology standing out prominently for its pioneering laser eye surgery. However, lasers are versatile tools, extending their capabilities to encompass a spectrum of medical applications, including cancer treatment and skin rejuvenation. At Platina, we are privileged to have three foremost laser experts within our team; so, we are delving into their knowledge to give you an open and frank conversation about lasers and the benefits they can offer your skin. 

Why lasers in dermatology?  

Dermatology harnesses the power of lasers to address skin imperfections precisely. The term “Laser” itself stands for “Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation,” a testament to the precision these instruments offer. When skillfully utilized, lasers can selectively target and eliminate unwanted structures within the skin while preserving the integrity of healthy tissue. 

How do lasers work on the skin?  

Each laser possesses a unique wavelength, allowing them to focus on specific targets. Common targets include troublesome blood vessels, such as those found in conditions like rosacea, and pigmentation issues like sunspots. Additionally, lasers are indispensable in achieving permanent hair removal by homing in on the pigment within hair follicles. 

What skin conditions can be treated by lasers? 

Laser therapy finds application in addressing a variety of skin conditions. It effectively treats conditions involving abnormal blood vessel growth, such as childhood angiomas and port wine stains, by targeting the haemoglobin within these vessels. In the realm of aging skin, lasers target water within living skin cells, naturally rejuvenating and revitalising the skin’s appearance. 

Does it hurt? 

Most laser procedures may cause a slight discomfort often likened to being a ‘little spicy’. To ensure a more comfortable experience, our clinics frequently administer topical anaesthetics before treatment to desensitise the targeted area. 

How often do you need treatment? 

The frequency of laser treatments really depends on the specific skin concern. For instance, a series of hair removal sessions often lead to long-term results. For chronic inflammatory conditions like rosacea, maintenance treatments typically occur every six months. In cases involving sunspots and diligent skincare, occasional touch-ups every few years may suffice. It’s important to remember that while lasers initiate the process, maintaining skin health through nourishment and exfoliation is crucial for enduring results. 

Are home laser kits worthwhile?  

Home laser devices can be effective for hair removal but may require ongoing care. However, for addressing concerns such as pigmentation, redness, and collagen production, home lasers are generally less effective due to their lower energy output. 

Post-Laser skincare: can you use your normal skincare regimen?  

Always consult with your laser therapist regarding post-treatment skincare. Certain lasers may necessitate the use of gentle moisturisers until the skin barrier is fully restored. Additionally, the use of retinoids is often postponed for a few days before and after a laser treatment to minimise potential irritation. 

Can you go out in the sun after laser treatment? 

Most lasers used in dermatology are non-ablative, meaning they don’t damage the outer layer of skin. However, laser-treated skin becomes more susceptible to sunlight, requiring careful sun protection. We recommend protective hats and sun avoidance as essential precautions. Furthermore, some lasers should not be used on tanned skin, as the laser energy can be absorbed by the tan, leading to over-treatment or ineffective results. Consider this: a suntan is your body trying to protect its cellular DNA form damage. If you must be bronze, get a spray on tan, do not irradiate your skin!