Facial Laser Treatments: How They Work

You’ve been thinking about getting some sort of facial treatment, whether it’s to get rid of unwanted wrinkles or facial hair, or to just tighten up your skin, but you’re unsure about treatments that use lasers.

While facial laser treatments can help solve a number of problems, feeling concerned about the use of lasers isn’t uncommon. Here’s a quick look at laser facial treatments and how they work.

Laser Skin Resurfacing

Laser skin resurfacing is a treatment that works to reduce facial wrinkles and skin irregularities (blemishes or acne scars) by directing short, concentrated pulsating beams of light at irregular skin, precisely removing skin layer by layer.

The two types of lasers most commonly used in laser skin resurfacing are: carbon dioxide and erbium.

  • Carbon dioxide—uses very short pulsed light energy (ultrapulse) or continuous light beams that are delivered in a scanning pattern to remove thin layers of skin with minimal heat damage
  • Erbium—designed to remove surface level and moderately deep lines and wrinkles, while causing minimal burning to surrounding tissue and less side effects. This type of laser is also more ideal for people with darker skin tones.

Your doctor may treat individual wrinkles around your eyes, mouth, or forehead or treat your entire face. Partial facial treatments can take between 30-45 minutes, while full facial treatments can take up to two hours.

Laser Skin Tightening

Laser skin tightening is a minimally invasive, non-surgical process that uses an infrared laser to tighten skin by heating the collagen under the skin’s surface, causing the skin to contract and tighten.

Facial skin tightening is immediately noticeable after the treatment and your skin will continue to tighten over the next few months. For the best results, you should receive two or three laser skin tightening treatments about a month apart.

During the treatment, your doctor will use a hand piece to apply brief pulses of laser energy to the skin. A continuous burst of cool air from the laser will ensure your comfort. Most laser skin tightening systems require the practitioner to go over the treatment area three times.

Treatment sessions usually last from 30 minutes to one hour, depending on the size of the treatment area. Laser skin tightening treatments require no downtime, which means that you can return to work or play immediately following your treatment session.

Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal is a treatment in which highly concentrated light is beamed into hair follicles. Pigment in the follicles absorb the light, causing the hair to be destroyed. Laser hair removal can be useful for removing unwanted hair from the face, leg, arm, underarm, bikini line, and other areas.

Some of the benefits of laser hair removal include:

  • Precision—lasers can selectively target dark, coarse hairs while leaving the surrounding skin undamaged.
  • Speed—each pulse of the laser takes a fraction of a second and can treat many hairs at the same time, treating an area about the size of a quarter every second.
  • Predictability—most patients have permanent hair loss after an average of three to seven sessions.

If you are planning on undergoing laser hair removal, you should limit plucking, waxing, and electrolysis for six weeks before your treatment. This should be done because the laser targets the hairs’ roots, which are temporarily removed by waxing or plucking. You should also plan to avoid sun exposure for six weeks before and after your treatment. Sun exposure makes laser hair removal less effective and makes complications after treatment more likely.

During your treatment, the hair that will be undergoing laser hair removal will be trimmed to a few millimeters above the skin surface. Then a cold gel or special cooling device will be applied to the outer layers of your skin in order to protect your skin and to help the laser light penetrate the skin. After your treatment, you may be given ice packs, anti-inflammatory creams or lotions, or cold water to ease any discomfort. Your next laser hair removal treatment should be scheduled four to six weeks later.

Facial Laser Treatments with Dr. Binder

If you are thinking about receiving any sort of facial laser treatment, you should first consult with Dr. Binder about which treatment options might work best for you. With years of experience in his field, he has the knowledge and knowhow to help answer any questions or alleviate any concerns that you might have about laser treatments.