Lasers are a Girl’s Best Friend

Forget the diamonds—lasers are the new “it.”

Why? How about a facelift-like effect without surgery, architectural changes, or downtime? Lasers now treat whatever screams at you from the mirror in the morning: Age spots like Grandma? Acne? Wrinkles?  Sagging jowels? Hair in funky places?  (Where did all this come from anyway?)

Find the Right Laser
Lasers have come a long way since the CO2 sandblasters that virtually ripped off the top layer of your face. The right laser can return your girlish face to the way it was, or at least closer to that blushing beauty of yesteryear.

But wait! Not all lasers are alike—that’s where the tricky part comes in. Lasers work on the concept of light wavelengths and each wavelength is only absorbed by one specific chromophore in your skin. So if you want your skin to be tightened, infrared light would be in order. If you want to join the other 1.3 million Americans who have hair removed, an IPL, YAG, or diode laser works best. If deep wrinkles are your issue, then try an ablative fractional CO2 laser. Just want smoother skin—try a non-ablative fractional laser. It’s critical that you identify what you want corrected prior to selecting a doctor and a laser.

Find the Right Doctor
Since lasers cost about the same as a new Ferrari, most doctors who have one, want to optimize their lease payments, so they try to steer you toward whatever they have in their garage. But beware! If their Ferrarri only goes to Lake Forest, and you want to go to Barrington, then you might want to look in someone else’s garage.

Often, in large practices that focus on cosmetic procedures, you can find several different wavelength lasers that can probably treat most of what you want. Some of the newer lasers on the market are multi-platform, meaning that one console may contain 4 or 5 different lasers—just like your all-in-one printer, scanner, fax and copier! But just like you can’t use a plain copier to also send a fax, you can’t use a Yag laser to tone down deep wrinkles.

Just remember that not all lasers are alike and no one laser can treat everything. But, like diamonds, they will leave you sparkling (literally).

What you would like treatedSuggested wavelengthSuggested laser
Hair removal755-1064nmYAG,IPL, KTP, Diode
Pigmentation530-1100nmIPL, KTP, pulsed dye, Diode
Tightening1100-1800nmInfrared light
Smoothing1440-1540nmNon-ablative fractional laser
Deep wrinkles, sagging, scars2790-10,600nmAblative fractional CO2, Erbium, YSGG
Acne1450nmDiode, IP

Note: These suggestions pertain to untanned, Caucasian skin.  For tanned, or other complexions, the formulas will vary.  Also, these are guidelines; your doctor may suggest variations that may work better for you.

About the author: Diana Tucker’s “real” job is a freelance analyst/writer for several investor newsletters that serve the medical device industry.  Her “other” job consists of entertaining family and girlfriends with the latest health care gossip; such as which laser Madonna used.