Clinics nowadays everywhere advertise for laser treatments to deal with a whole list of skin conditions. While laser procedures have been around for over 40 years, it is important to know how the technology has progressed to ensure you are getting the best and the safest treatments offered by dermatologists in the market.
How Laser Treatment Works On Skin?
A laser is a high-intensity light, which has a very narrow wavelength spectrum. In other words, it is a beam of light which can be focused to extremely focused spots with high energy.
This light energy is converted to heat energy when used on the skin – to target dark areas (containing melanin) without harming the surrounding tissue. As a result, lasers can target unwanted hair, skin blemishes and dark marks, certain types of tattoos, and even fine lines and wrinkles.
Different Laser Skin Treatments Available In India
- Laser Hair Reduction – These treatments help with the removal of unwanted or excessive hair on the body. Several sessions (case dependent) take place where the lasers target the hair follicles and destroy the cells responsible for growth, causing efficient hair reduction.
- Tattoo, Marks, And Scar Removal With Lasers – Being able to target darker pigments of skin, lasers can be used with modified wavelengths to penetrate just the surface layers or even the deeper layers. While some use heat to destroy the cells in the affected areas causing them to lighten, Q-Switched lasers use sonar shock waves to break apart the pigmentation.
- Acne Scars Treatment – The surface of the scarred tissue is destroyed promoting an increase in collagen production in the area. On healing, scars are lightened and become almost invisible.
- Anti-Aging And Skin Tightening Treatments – Due to the principle of controlled tissue damage, when the skin forms and heals, there is a superficial tightening due to the increased collagen level. Lasers can be used to treat fine lines and wrinkles associated with age allowing for a smoother look.
- Uneven Skin Tone And Texture – In cases of dry or damaged skin, especially with pigmentation, laser skin resurfacing can do wonders for skin tone and texture.
- Smokers’ Line – While these articulation lines do exist due the excessive movement of our mouth muscles, smokers tend to have more prominent ones with some pigmentation issues. These lines are treated with simple laser resurfacing.
- Vascular Lesions – These lesions look like red patches on the face or spider veins on the legs and other similar pigmentation issues. Pulsed dye and Nd YAG lasers are recommended choices for this condition.
- Pigmentations And Dark Circles – Solved easily with laser resurfacing, dark circles are lightened with a few sessions of laser treatment. Apart from hyperpigmentation, hyper-vascularity (blood vessels beneath the skin) can also be treated.
- Crow’s Feet – These lines appear on the sides of the eyes due to constant use of the muscles during expressions. Crow’s feet get more pronounced with age. Laser resurfacing these areas can provide a younger look for those seeking it.
- Pucker Marks And Frown Lines – The lines around the mouth are more defined with age due to the wear and tear of the expressive muscles. However, certain individuals can see an early onset of the same due to their skin conditions. Laser resurfacing is the solution!
Laser Skin Treatment Cost In India
The cost of laser treatment in India can vary between Rs. 1,000/- to Rs. 30,000/- per sitting. Generally, you will be given a session cost, or where the treatment is done in a single sitting a total cost. To make it more lucrative, clinics will bundle sessions at competitive costs. The factors that influence the costs are the technology used, the dermatologist’s expertise, and the clinical procedure.
As laser treatments have been present since the late 1960’s, candidates should be wary of extremely cheap treatments or exaggerated result claims. These vendors could be using technology that is out of date when compared to the current standards, subjecting you to high risk and harmful side effects.
Qualified dermatologists are trained under strict protocols which may not be the case with the cheaper variants. Always do a check on the clinic you visit!
Before And After Results
- In cases of sun damaged skin or various types of pigmentation or acne scars, patients will see significant results within the first 2-3 sessions. The total time of treatment is naturally dependant on the severity of the condition.
- Tattoo removal effectiveness is determined by the types of pigment used in the tattoo ink.
- Hair reduction happens over several sessions due to the various stages of hair growth. Results, however, are almost always assured in a drastic way.
Laser Skin Treatment Side-Effects
- Pain – Primarily during the laser treatment, the pain level is attributed to a mild stinging sensation. In the event of any discomfort, a topical anesthetic is applied to the area. Post a procedure, some discomfort is normal but is supplemented with medication to alleviate all issues.
- Redness, Swelling, And/Or Itching – As layers of skin are being cleared to make way for new growth, some inflammation and/or redness is common. These symptoms naturally subside with the help of post care and the body’s healing mechanism.
- Sensitivity To The Sun – Post-treatment care is of utmost importance when it comes to sun exposure. UV rays can be quite harmful to newly formed skin and copious amounts of sunblock before stepping out is recommended. Reapplication after three hours is essential on continued exposure.
- Changes In Skin Pigmentation – Skin types are unique, and each has the potential to react differently to the laser light’s intensity. Darkening or lightening of the skin is a possible side effect. When treating dark spots, they sometimes become worse before they become better.
- Blistering, Scabbing, And/Or Crusting – The principle of target tissue degradation leads to small wounds to be created, making the skin heal itself to give you the renewed look you are after. These symptoms heal on their own with some hygiene care.
- Bruising – A side effect of leaking blood vessels under the skin leads to purple blotching. Typically associated with pulsed dye laser treatments, these will fade on their own, but the process can be sped up with complementary laser treatments.
- Demarcation Lines – As the treatments target specific areas, loss of pigmentation can lead to highlight areas as opposed to the prior pigment color. In these situations, lightening the surrounding to blend with the rest of the skin with makeup is usually the best solution.
- Infection – While not very common, invasive treatment can sometimes lead to infections like any other medical procedure. A prescription for antibiotics will solve the issue.
- Scarring – Treatments that require damage to the skin to make it better will have a certain level of scarring. Rest assured these will heal with the right kind of post-op care. However, be forthcoming with your dermatologist if you are prone to scarring, as laser treatments may not suit your skin type.
- Recurrence Of The Skin Issue – Some treatments require several sessions to improve or disappear. However, some recurrence might happen, especially in treating vascular lesions and hair removal.
- Breakouts – The body might clear out toxins post-op or from the use of creams and lotions after the treatment, leading to acne breakouts. Treatments should not be done in areas of active acne as lasers best treat the scars left behind.
Types Of Lasers Used For Skin Treatments
- Ablative Laser – This type of laser treats mainly the surface layers of the skin by removing the top layer, making the body heal the area by promoting collagen formation.
- Non-Ablative Laser – The wavelength or strength of these lasers allow for deeper penetration of the skin layers for treatment, without damaging the outer layer.
- Carbon Dioxide Laser (CO2) – This is an ablative laser. It is one of the first types of lasers to be used for dermatology procedures. While these are still sometimes used for skin rejuvenation and resurfacing, the side effects and inefficiency on darker skin tones have made these a less popular choice. Most have been replaced by fractional mode lasers.
- Erbium Yttrium-Aluminium-Garnet (Er YAG) – Another type of ablative laser, Er YAG can treat scars, fine lines, and wrinkles with minimal damage to the tissue around the target area. The side effects of this procedure are lesser than a CO2 laser making it a preferable choice in ablative laser treatments.
- IPL – Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is not a laser per se but shares similarities with respect to dermatology treatments. As the name suggests, it uses interval bursts of high-powered light of a wider spectrum (while lasers only have only one spectrum) to target both dark brown spots (melanin) and inflamed blood vessels (red). However, the burn chances are high putting the target area at risk.
- Pulsed Dye Laser – Pulsed dye lasers use yellow light, made through an organic dye with a solvent, to target blood vessels below the outer most layers of skin to tackle pigmentation. Being a targeted laser, it leaves the surrounding tissue unharmed.
- Nd YAG Laser – Neodymium-dipped Yttrium Aluminium Garnet (Nd YAG) is a crystal medium for solid-state lasers. The laser is focused on a target area with heat and destroys diseased cells. It is quite a popular choice for its ability to tackle a wide variety of pigmentation and improving skin tone and texture, with minimal side effects.
- Q-Switched Lasers – These are Nd YAG lasers, which operate in nanosecond pulse durations and work on the principle of shock waves as opposed to light-heat conversions. The procedure breaks up unwanted pigment into smaller particles, which are washed away in the bloodstream or absorbed by the white blood cells.
- Alexandrite Laser – Using light-heat conversion, Alexandrite lasers target very precise tissue with almost no collateral damage. It uses a green crystal to create a spectrum of light that can pass through the skin. It can be used to treat superficial blood vessels, and for tattoo removal and hair removal.
- Soprano Ice – By far the safest and most popular technology in laser treatment currently, the Soprano Ice is multipurpose “in-motion” machine that can accommodate a variety of laser wavelengths. It can accommodate both Nd YAG and the Alexandrite type lasers. The in-motion component ensures that burns and other side effects do not occur. The treatments with this also take lesser time compared to its counterparts.
The market is saturated with a whole range of treatments and wonder results. Keep yourself informed and speak to your dermatologist about the laser treatment that is ideal for you.