Product Review: Comparing Lasers, What’s Right For You?

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Product Review: Comparing Lasers, What’s Right For You?
August 15
12:43 2016

With the season for laser here (sun is harmful for freshly lasered skin), you may be considering booking your next appointment with a dermatologist who specializes in laser skin treatments to give your face or body a more youthful appearance. A laser can reduce defects and signs of aging in the skin while also stimulating collagen – a protein that is responsible for skin firmness and constant renewal of skin cells.

However, with so many laser devices out there nowadays, understanding which one is best for you can get confusing. Dr. Martie Gidon, cosmetic dermatologist and director of Gidon Aesthetics & MediSpa in Toronto, gave some insight on just a few of the lasers available in clinics today to help you make an educated decision before undergoing this treatment.

Fraxel® Restore

Fractional (targeting a fraction of the skin at a time) and non-ablative (non-wounding), this laser can be used on both the face and body, according to Dr. Gidon. There are many skin issues the laser could help improve, including scars and acne scars, as well as lines, wrinkles, enlarged pores, melasma and brown spots caused by sun damage.

“Tiny beams of laser light penetrate into the skin to heat and cause the production of new collagen. As the fractional micro thermal zones (treatment spots) are extruded, unwanted pigment also is removed,” said Dr. Gidon, adding that some women may also benefit from using the laser on stretch marks, sometimes improving their appearance. While the laser can be used on all skin types, “darker complexions may develop post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, so pre-treatment with fading creams is recommended,” Dr. Gidon mentioned.

The area to be treated is anesthetised prior to the procedure, and the patient has the option of taking oral pain medication. According to Dr. Gidon, all that patients feel during the treatment is a “mild prickly heat” coming from the laser. Each procedure takes around half an hour. For optimal results, Dr. Gidon recommends five to six treatments, separated four to six weeks apart, which will give “at least a 50 to 70 per cent improvement.”

Some puffiness and redness can be noticed for four to six days.

Clear + Brilliant®

Fractional and non-ablative, just like Fraxel® Restore, this laser is less aggressive than the above. Patients can expect smoother and “more radiant skin with improved pores, tone and texture,” said Dr. Gidon. This laser is recommended for women to start in their 20s or 30s as a preventative measure against lines and sun spots. After more aggressive treatments, such as with Fraxel® Restore, this laser can be used for maintenance of the area. An anesthetic is applied 15 minutes prior, along with a possibility of taking oral pain medication if necessary. Since this is a milder laser, puffiness and pinkness should only last for 24 hours. Dr. Gidon recommends exfoliating the skin five days following the treatment to help the skin become “smooth and glowing.” A 75 per cent improvement can be noticed after several treatments.

Clear + Brilliant® Perméa

This laser is similar to the simply Clear + Brilliant®, however according to Dr. Gidon, is more suitable for women with melasma pigmentation. Instead of anesthetic, cold air is blown onto the skin during treatment. After four to six treatments, two to three weeks apart, the patient can expect fading of the pigmentation and improved pores, tone and texture. The same aftercare is required and same improvement rate can be witnessed as with the Clear + Brilliant®.

SmartXide DOT

Though used for similar skin troubles as Fraxel® Restore, CO2 lasers, such as the SmartXide DOT, are ablative and are considered a more aggressive type of treatment. Because of this, results will be more dramatic, according to Dr. Gidon. The laser can be used on both the face and body.

“Tiny beams of laser light penetrate into the skin to heat and remove tiny dots of damaged skin and cause the production of new collagen resulting in tighter skin,” said Dr. Gidon.

This laser is recommended for those with fair complexions, as there is a

“rare chance of scarring or lighter pigmentation.”

Patients must also be aware that they will experience some swelling and brown sloughing for five to six days, as well as redness, which will fade after two to three weeks. Dr. Gidon recommends washing the area gently and keeping it moist with ointment for around five days. Unlike the above lasers where you can apply make-up right after treatment, with this laser, make-up should only be used after six days.

While all the above lasers require three weeks of no contact with the sun, because this is a more aggressive treatment, Dr. Gidon emphasized delaying sun exposure for at least six weeks.

According to Dr. Gidon, each treatment will take around 45 minutes, based on the concern. Three to four treatments are recommended, eight to 12 weeks apart. After three treatments, the patient can expect a 50 to 70 per cent improvement.

Pulsed Dye/KTP/Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

Dr. Gidon mentioned that although IPL is not a laser, these devices can all have the same effect in reducing spider veins and brown spots. They can also stimulate collagen.

“Light energy at a specific wavelength for either red or brown is absorbed by the red and brown pigments in the skin. The heat closes the blood vessels to diminish the red pigmentation and heats the brown spots, which then flake off,” explained Dr. Gidon.

If veins are treated, the patient may have bruising for four to five days, and brown spots that are treated may become darker but will flake off after around five days. The laser is not recommended for individuals with dark skin since that can cause the skin to burn and result in darker or lighter spots, or scars. Therefore, the skin cannot be tanned before treatment, and sun must be avoided for three weeks.

According to Dr. Gidon, no major pain is felt during treatment. Instead of anesthetic or pain medication, cold air may be blown on the skin to reduce any discomfort. One to four treatments will be required, three weeks apart.

Product Review: Comparing Lasers, What’s Right For You?

Product Review: Comparing Lasers, What’s Right For You?

After all laser treatments, the skin should be washed gently, and antiviral medication must be taken if the patient has experienced cold sores in the past. Avoiding the sun after any laser treatment is compulsory, as this will help prevent any risks of hyperpigmentation. Fall and winter are the best time for the procedure as you’ll be able to cover up and keep your skin hidden from the sun.

Dr. Gidon emphasized receiving treatment only by an experienced technician, and especially one that is supervised by a certified dermatologist who is capable of diagnosing any skin problem and making the best decision on which laser to use. A dermatologist understands laser physics, can tell if a certain skin type is not eligible for laser treatment and will also help you deal with adverse reactions if any occur. Lastly, making sure the laser that is used gets serviced regularly and works properly can help make your experience and outcome from laser treatment a positive one.

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