Why laser treatments are good for your skin

Skin problem? Chances are there’s a type of light that can fix that. However, it’s easy to get confused over which laser or light based treatment is right for your skincare needs.

Here’s a run down of the most popular procedures and how they can benefit your skin.

Non-ablative laser is good for younger patients (approximately aged between 30 and 50 years) who have early wrinkles or for those who truly can’t take any time off from family or work commitments to have traditional ablative laser. There is minimal or no downtime involved. A series of treatments (three to six) may be necessary to see the desired results.

While not a laser, Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) penetrates deeper into the skin than a non-ablative laser. It does not injure the surface, so there is usually no downtime. It can improve skin texture and colour as well as reduce pore size. IPL can effectively treat some types of hyperpigmentation, including age spots and freckles.

Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is a two-step procedure and is commonly used to treat skin complaints such as acne and acne scarring. First, a solution that makes the skin more sensitive to light is applied to the treatment area and left on for 30 minutes or longer. Next, a light source is beamed onto the treatment area. This process can improve the appearance of redness, age spots and freckles and improves the overall texture and appearance of the skin. It’s important to look after the skin post-treatment, protecting it from the sun and other sources of bright light. Sun exposure after PDT can be painful and may result in sunburn and blistering.

Ablative fractional laser offers deeper rejuvenation. It is best for improving the appearance of age spots, wrinkles and skin discolourations. It can be used on the delicate skin around the eyes and mouth. It is also effective for treating precancerous growths (actinic keratoses). Recovery time is generally between one and three days.

Traditional ablative laser heats the skin to cause a visible wound, which means up to 14 days’ downtime. While invasive and performed only by doctors, with a longer and more uncomfortable recovery process, the results of traditional ‘flat beam’ laser are still regarded by many professionals as the gold standard for improving deeper wrinkles, severe sun damage and crepiness around the eyes and on the neck.

It is best for patients who are in their late 40s to 70s. During the recovery period the treated area will be red and swollen, and may then scab and ooze before healing. There will be a period of between four and six weeks when the skin may appear red or pink.