Burning Question: What Are The Types of Laser Treatments For My Face?

Laser 101

While to some people, laser treatments sound like they come straight out of science fiction, lasers are commonly used in various procedures. The word “Laser” is an acronym representing “Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.”

Light travels in waves and comes in the range of colors associated with the rainbow. Each color of light has its own wavelength, referring to the distance between each wave’s peaks. When all the colors of the white blend, you see white light. If you haven’t thought about light since your school science class, it may help to think about your LED bulbs if you happen to have the kind that can change colors. So many inexpensive LED bulbs can change to just about any color because the white light requires a mix of colors.

Of course, the light used in medi-spa lasers is more intense and carefully calibrated than your color-changing LED light bulb. Your provider strategically uses lasers to create a controlled injury of the skin or other tissue and encourage healing.

Types of Laser Resurfacing or Treatments

Depending on the goals of your treatment, there are a few types commonly used to resurface the skin.

  • Ablative resurfacing removes the top layer of the skin and is commonly used to address scarring. It uses an erbium YAG or carbon dioxide CO2 laser
  • Non-ablative resurfacing uses the heat from this treatment option to help stimulate collagen by mildly damaging the skin to trigger healing. As a result, it also promotes new cell growth
  • Fractional lasers, or Fraxels, stimulate tissue in deeper layers. It can help with sunspots, pigmented skin, and scarring
  • KTP Laser Treatments use green light to target discolorations, pigmentation issues, and broken blood vessels
  • Diode Laser is another laser treatment option often used for permanent hair removal

This list oversimplifies the options with laser treatment. Some effective treatments, such as Halo® Laser Treatment using a hybrid fractional laser leverages the power of lasers to improve the texture and appearance of the skin just about anywhere on the face or body.

Popular Applications for Laser Treatments

There are many applications for laser resurfacing and other laser skin treatments. Ask your provider to show you before and after examples to help you understand what kind of results other patients experienced.

Reduce or get rid of acne scars

Laser resurfacing treatment reduces the appearance of acne scars. Sadly, you can’t easily cover up acne scars using cosmetics. The laser’s heat helps remove the top layer of the skin where a scar is. Once it peels, the skin looks smoother, and the scar is less noticeable.

For many people, the scars are a painful reminder of the acne of their youth and the feelings of self-consciousness they experienced. Laser resurfacing can help you reclaim your skin and move past that experience.

Fix broken blood vessels

If you have little red splotches or dots, most likely it is from broken blood vessels. Lasers can also remove broken capillaries or broken blood vessels. Removing the broken vessels makes your skin look more even-toned, and you may even find you don’t feel the need to wear a coverup.

Nonsurgical alternative to a facelift

Laser resurfacing stimulates collagen production, which over time helps reveal fresher, younger-looking skin with some recovered elasticity and fewer fine lines. While it may not always replace a facelift, it can be a non-surgical alternative in some cases.

Reverse sun damage

Pigmentation, broken capillaries, and age spots are often caused by sun damage. In fact, the sun is one of the top sources of visible premature skin aging. Laser treatments can help address several of the symptoms of sun damage. However, to maintain your results and prevent more premature damage, be sure to consistently use a broad-spectrum sunscreen.

Improve skin texture

Laser skin resurfacing is so sought after because it helps improve the skin’s texture in a few ways. As the skin heals, it is smoother, and texture imperfections like scars and fine lines are less noticeable. 

Next Steps: Schedule a Consultation

Of course, the science and art of laser skin treatment seem like a cosmetic miracle. In many ways it is, but realistic expectations are essential. Look at before and after images and ask your provider about what to expect.

Keep in mind that the laser damages the skin to promote healing. In other words, you may experience pain, itching, and inflammation afterward as your skin heals. Some even get mild blisters. Some risks include:

  • Redness and swelling; for some, the redness might last for several months
  • Acne or even milia or tiny white bumps
  • Occasionally bacterial, viral, or fungal infection or even a herpes flare-up may be a symptom
  • Skin discoloration, even though laser often effectively treats pigment issues, can also change skin color by making part of the skin either lighter or darker
  • Ablative laser resurfacing also poses a small scarring risk

After about a week, the outer layer of the skin will peel, revealing smoother skin. Some results from collagen production may take longer to emerge.

Talk to one of our providers at The Skin Center by CPS about the types of laser treatments for the face, along with the risks, benefits, and process. Also, ask for recommendations to ensure a smooth recovery.

The Skin Center by CPS proudly serves Charlotte-area residents. As part of the Charlotte Plastic Surgery family, we have been a trusted presence in the community for decades. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with a skilled provider.