Learn More About How Lasers Work
Lasers treat the function of skin problems by heating up a certain target. The target being heated depends on the color of the target, and wavelength of the laser. To give an example, the Nd-YAG laser heats up the skin pigment that called melanin. When used to treat unwanted hair, the laser heats up the pigment in the hair follicle, until the hair follicle is destroyed and cannot produce hair. White hair lacks the melanin pigment, and therefore, does not become heated when the laser is used. Therefore, if an area that contains both white and dark hair is treated by the laser, only the dark hair will be destroyed, leaving all the white hair behind. A different laser, called the pulsed dye laser, heats up blood. Vascular lesions (hemangiomas, telangiectasias, redness associated with rosacea) are successfully treated by this laser when the blood is heated up, causing blood vessels to be destroyed.
When using the laser to treat skin problems, the goal is to use the laser to heat up a very specific target and leave other components of the skin unharmed.
The IPL functions similarly to a laser, but instead of using one wavelength, it uses a system of filters to select a spectrum of useful wavelengths. These filters can be changed depending on the desired treatment.
Using Lasers and Light to Achieve Healthier Skin
At Braun Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center, we currently use a Cynosure Cynergy laser and Palomar Intense Pulsed Light system (IPL). The Cynosure Cynergy is a state-of-the-art laser that's actually two lasers in one, containing both a pulsed dye laser and a Nd-YAG laser. These two lasers can be used together or separately depending on the condition being treated. The IPL has various filters (or hand pieces) designed to treat different skin conditions.
Laser Surgery Can Be Utilized for the Following
- Hair removal
- Leg veins
- Acne scars
- Port wine birthmarks
- Stretch marks (if pink)
- Venous lakes
- Sun-damaged/aging skin
- Brown spots (liver spots, sun spots, lentigos)
- Blood vessels (telangiectasias)
- Rosacea/facial redness
- Actinic keratoses (precancers)
Find Answers to Common Questions and Concerns
Q: Should I expect to see improvement after just one treatment?
Answer: While you may see an improvement after the first laser / IPL, it typically takes a series of treatments to achieve the desired effect. The number of treatments required depends on the condition being treated but is typically between three and five treatments.
Q: Does my insurance company ever cover laser procedures?
A: Almost never. If you feel that it should be covered, please take this up with your insurance carrier directly.
Q: Can I shave pluck or wax prior to my laser hair removal appointments?
A: Shaving is fine, but please do not wax or pluck hairs in the area to be treated. The laser only works when the hairs are present below the surface.