Reduce brown spots, wrinkles, scars, and more
Lasers are electronic devices that emit a single wavelength of energy in the light portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. This specific wavelength is primarily the determinant of which substance, color, or structure absorbs that particular wavelength of light. Whatever absorbs a certain wavelength of light causes the light itself to be converted into heat. It is the heat created in the target structure that causes the controlled injury that is desired. Why would we want to cause any type of injury? Because with skin, as with our character, our brains, our bones, and our muscles, improvement only occurs due to sub-lethal stress. Keep in mind that the goal is to create enough trauma to stimulate the skin, but not so much that the skin is obliterated!
Some of the lasers that we have (either at Medical Cosmetics or readily accessible) are listed below, as well as the conditions for which each is used.
Long-pulse Nd:YAG (1064 nm) – This laser is used quite effectively for permanent reduction of dark facial and body hair as well as the elimination of unwanted surface red or blue small blood vessels (e.g. spider veins, red dots, angiomas). Unlike the lasers that use shorter wavelengths, the Nd:YAG can be used safely and effectively on even the darkest skin tones.
KTP (532 nm or “green light”) – This laser is utilized for removal of unwanted benign (non-cancerous) brown areas on the skin. This would include so-called age spots, melasma in lighter-skinned people, freckles, and moles. We also use this wavelength quite effectively for the redness of rosacea and for removing small blood vessels on very delicate areas of skin, such as around the nose or on the upper chest.
Erbium:YAG (2940 nm) – In the “old days” of skin laser treatments (say, around 2003-2005) this laser was used to re-surface faces. It was, and still is, very good for this purpose. It became a victim of progress, and was largely supplanted by the myriad of “fractionated” laser re-surfacing techniques that are now more commonly performed. The fractionated methods generally involve less pain and recovery time, although per treatment, may not be as effective. The Er:YAG laser is now primarily used to remove unwanted growths on the skin. For example: warts, corns, seborrheic keratosies, actinic keratosies, and benign fleshy papules that are cosmetically unappealing.
Fractionated CO2 – Today, this laser is the “go-to” laser to smooth and even pigmentation and to strengthen and tighten the skin itself (as opposed to tightening the support structures underneath the skin). We have performed about 1,000 fractionated CO2 treatments and Dr. Carter has had this laser treatment performed on him annually since about 2005. This treatment is often used to help with age-related skin laxity, wrinkling, and unevenness of skin tone/color. In younger people, this technique is used primarily for smoothing out facial acne scars and treating melasma. Erbium and CO2 lasers are the industry’s only ablative (surface destructive) lasers. This means that most people will want to limit their exposure to other people for 3-7 days while the earliest healing occurs.
This laser is magical and is only available to Dr. Carter one day a week. As of 2015, this laser is the fastest, least painful, and most effective way to eliminate any color from unwanted tattoos. It is an unbelievably expensive piece of equipment, and we are very happy to have access to it.
– W.A. Carter, M.D.