You don’t have to understand the inner complexity of lasers to reap their advantages. A basic understanding is all you need to grasp the workings of laser and light therapy machines that someday may resurface the wrinkles on your face or remove your unsightly veins.
The concept behind the modern-day laser can be traced to Einstein. Unlike a light bulb, a laser is a narrow, highly focused, and extremely intense beam of light with unique qualities. The color of the light (or its wavelength) emitted by a laser is determined by the substance (medium) that lies within the laser’s inner chamber.
Lasers are named after the solid, liquid, or gas substance, which is used to generate the beam of light. For example, if the medium is solid ruby crystal, as in the case of a ruby laser, red light is emitted. And if it’s a gas such as argon, blue-green light is emitted.
Each laser emits light having a single color or wavelength. The color of a laser beam is determined by its wavelength: two lasers that emit the same wavelength of light emit the same color.
There are also lasers used for cosmetic purposes that do not produce colored beams. The wavelengths of these lasers fall in the infrared (wavelength longer than red light, 700 nm) region that the human eye cannot see.
Each laser light, characterized by its wavelength, represents a key designed to open only one lock. In cosmetic surgery, wavelength determines which component of the skin (melanin, hemoglobin, or water) will absorb the radiation and how far into the skin laser light will penetrate.
The ideal laser to affect a given target is the one maximally absorbed by that target. For example, a red substance like hemoglobin, which reflects red light, will maximally absorb green light. Accordingly, a green laser beam will selectively target the hemoglobin found in the skin.
The other physical properties of cosmetic lasers that determine their effectiveness are power and pulse duration. These determine how much laser energy is imparted to the skin.
A cosmetic application of a laser is very demanding. To be useful and obtain the best possible results, the laser must be able to improve the skin texture, remove or destroy the unwanted component without damaging the overall structure of the skin. The three variables, wavelength, power, and pulse duration of a laser machine when strategically selected and combined, will provide a remarkable degree of precision in targeting a certain skin component and therefore give the best result.
IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) is a gentle photo-rejuvenation and skin treatment device that emits powerful bursts of light energy. The light works much like a laser, but instead of having just one wavelength of light, IPL machines produce a spectrum of light made up of a range of wavelengths. Usually the better the machine, the broader the wavelength range.
To improve targeting and specificity, such devices often use special filters to remove unwanted wavelengths and keep only those in the required range. Depending on the filter used, the wavelengths are selected to target a particular skin condition or sign of aging.
Since the same IPL device can be used with different wavelength range, a single machine may be suitable for treating a number of different conditions by using a different filter and intensity settings. This makes IPL devices more versatile and more cost-effective. On the other hand, lasers remain superior when it comes to high specificity and precise targeting of the skin component.
PHOTO-REJUVENATION WITH IPL
Nu Vela offers a number of skin laser treatments using state-of-the-art equipment. New lasers allow more energy to be released into the skin, so the overall treatment is more effective, has fewer side effects and provides the safest and best possible alternative to cosmetic surgery.
All skin laser treatments are performed with little or no sedation or local anesthesia and there is minimal bruising, post-treatment pain or risk or scarring. The following are the lasers that are available at the Center:
ClearScan™ (1064 nm YAG™) by Sciton
This laser is the gold-standard for all skin types. ClearScan™ provides an effective solution for hair removal. Dr. Dishakjian uses the same laser for laser vein removal and the treatment of almost all vascular lesions.
ThermaScan™ (1319 nm Nd:YAG) by Sciton
This laser is suitable for any skin type including tanned skin. The ThermaScan™ is an infrared laser that effectively treats wrinkles, acne, acne scars, and skin blemishes.
Laser Genesis (1064 nm) by Cutera
This laser offers no downtime, multi-purpose, all skin type solution for overall skin health. Cutera’s 1064 nm wavelength protects the epidermis, targets microvasculature and stimulates collagen production. With only minimal discomfort, it Improves wrinkles by gently heating the dermis; corrects diffuse redness, scars, rosacea; smoothes skin texture, shrinks pore size.
CoolGlide (1064 nm Nd:YAG) by Cutera
The CoolGlide is the first laser cleared by FDA for hair reduction that is suitable for all skin types, including tanned skin. Copper cooling provides the most efficient method of cooling for optimal skin protection and comfort, while its large spot size (10 mm) enables maximum speed and optimal penetration at all follicle depths.
Excel (long-pulsed Nd:YAG) by Cutera
This laser is intended for both facial and lower extremity vascular lesions. With an efficient contact copper cooling, Excel effectively and safely treats discrete vessels, high-pressure vessels, and deep veins.
Titan light therapy (1100 nm to 1800 nm) by Cutera
This light system offers a non-surgical solution for skin laxity. It uses light energy to safely tighten the face and other parts of the body by promoting the gradual formation of new collagen while improving skin tone, texture, fine lines, and scars. Best results often require up to three treatments over a period of one year.
SkinTyte light therapy (800 – 1400 nm) by Sciton
This light system acts light Titan light, except that treatment with SkinTyte is faster because it has a larger spot size (15 x 45 mm) and faster repetition rate. Adapters provide added treatment flexibility for smaller areas. Following treatment, a new foundation of collagen is created under the skin leading to its increased firmness.
BBL™ (420 nm to 1400 nm) by Sciton
Is an IPL system equipped with a very efficient cooling system. The broad range of wavelengths and smart filters of the BBL™ allow targeted treatment for many skin conditions including acne, freckles, age spots, cherry angiomas, telangiectasias, rosacea, hair removal, and deeper lesions.
Solar Genesis by Cutera
This is a pulsed light system which emits visible light that pigmented spots on the skin selectively absorb. Solar Genesis is extremely effective at treating undesired pigment discoloration, such as freckles and sun spots. Exceptional results are achieved in one or two treatments without even using topical anesthetic or gels.
Contour TRL™ (2940 nm Erbium:YAG) by Sciton
This is the gold standard for laser skin resurfacing. This laser is extremely efficient in removing not only wrinkles and lines caused by sun damage and facial expressions, but also acne scars, some folds, and creases around the nose and mouth, and even precancerous and benign superficial growths.
Contour TRL™ is the only cosmetic skin laser used at Nu Vela that is ablative in nature. Ablative in the sense that this laser entirely removes the outer skin layers. New skin then grows over the fresh surface created by the laser.
Non-ablative photo rejuvenation systems like Laser Genesis and BBL™, work by bypassing the surface of the skin and treating the layers underneath; they do not remove the outer skin layers.
ProFractional Therapy™ (2940 nm Erbium:YAG) by Sciton
Unlike full field skin resurfacing which removes the entire surface area of a treatment site, this skin laser resurfacing technology causes thousands of microscopic “wounds” in the skin, with the surrounding skin remaining intact.
The zones of untreated skin invigorate the body’s natural healing process and allow your skin to heal in a fraction of the time, while the treated areas stimulate the production of new collagen. This reduces pigmentation, plump up the skin and smooth out wrinkles, lines, scars, and other irregularities.
ProFractional laser skin therapy can be used on all skin types, both on face and body. Most patients describe this laser skin treatment as having a “prickling” sensation and resume their normal activities after a few days following a treatment session.
Application of Lasers and Light System in Cosmetic Surgery
Please go to cosmetic laser surgery to learn more about the applications of laser and light therapy systems in cosmetic surgery.