Laser Skin Treatment

Laser Skin TreatmentWhy use laser skin treatment?

Many conditions can be treated effectively with laser therapy including:

  • Vascular lesions
  • Pigmented lesions
  • Hair removal
  • Signs of ageing

How laser skin treatment works

We use a vascular laser platform with a number of different hand pieces to allow us to deliver different treatments for different conditions.

The different laser platforms are accessed via the adjustment of various power and duration parameters and also different treatment handpieces, thus allowing the same laser to be used for  ablative, non-ablative, vascular and hair removal procedures.

  • The ablative laser (both ablative and fractionated treatments) is used with an optimised combination of ablation and coagulation qualities.
  • The non-ablative setting is for remodelling, improving aged/sun damaged skin, reducing pore size and also for treating generalised redness.
  • The vascular setting (Nd:Yag 1064nm) is for clearance of capillaries and veins.

Ablative laser skin treatment

The ablative mode can more aggressively treat the signs of photoaging – including age marks, wrinkles, uneven texture, deep dermal imperfections and difficult-to-treat perioral and periorbital areas.

Ablative laser skin treatmentWe also have a 532nm KTP laser specifically to target very superficial capillaries and redness of the face.

Spider veins and superficial ‘broken’ capillaries on the face, neck and trunk can now be treated very effectively with laser therapy. Broken capillaries are very common. They can be hereditary, although most are caused by sun exposure, pregnancy, hormones, rosacea and other less common skin conditions. Freckles can be treated on almost any site of the body. Some birth marks such as port wine stains and other skin blemishes may also respond to laser treatment.

Non-ablative laser skin treatment

Non-ablative therapy is most commonly used to improve the appearance of ageing and sun damaged skin. This includes the ‘mottled’ appearance that can occur on the neck. Skin conditions such as rosacea also respond well to non-ablative therapy. Usually capillaries on the face respond to two or three vascular treatments. Non-ablative therapy generally requires four to six treatments. Sometimes to achieve the desired results, both vascular and non-ablative treatments are required as a combination treatment.

Vascular laser skin treatment

The sensation of a vascular laser treatment is best described as like that of a repeated flicking of a rubber band and/or a burning sensation. The non-ablative therapy has the sensation of gently warming the area. No anaesthetic is required although when having vascular treatments to sensitive areas a local anaesthetic cream can be applied one hour prior to treatment. Treatments last from 10 to 45 minutes depending on the size of the area being treated.

Vascular laser skin treatmentThe vascular lasers have a ‘chilltip’ attachment which cools the skin before and after the vascular treatments. This significantly reduces any discomfort and also minimises side effects. Ice packs may also be used pre- and post-treatment. Side effects with laser treatment are uncommon but may include:

  • Some redness of the treated area – this usually subsides within one hour following non-ablative therapy and within 24 hours after a vascular treatment.
  • Swelling – this usually subsides within 24 hours. Very unlikely following non-ablative therapy.
  • Hypopigmentation (lightening of the treated area) – may be temporary or permanent.
  • Hyperpigmentation (darkening of the treated area) – this is  usually temporary. This is more likely in people with olive or darker skin, or people who have excessive sun exposure within three months of treatment.
  • Fine indentation line over the treated area – this is usually temporary but can be permanent. This is more likely following deep vein treatments.
  • Bruising – this is unusual but may occur and usually subsides within one week. This is more likely to occur in patients with very sun damaged skin and/or patients taking blood thinning medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen or large amounts of vitamin E.
  • Blistering/Crusting – this usually subsides within one week. Crusting may occur after an IPL treatment where the pigmented areas initially darken then flake off gradually. It would be rare for blistering or crusting to occur after a vascular treatment.
  • Infection/Scarring – rare.
  • With ablative laser, your skin will look sunburnt and slightly swollen. There will be some minor bleeding post pearl fractional for about 24-48hrs. See Ablative and Fractional Laser for additional information.

If you follow the ‘before’ and ‘after’ instructions for laser treatment below, you should achieve a good result. Results will be seen within a few weeks and improvement may continue for several months.

Before

  • Avoid excessive sun exposure and tanning beds for two weeks before treatment and also between treatments (particularly 48 hours after each treatment). Inform the Laser Nurse if sunburn has occurred at any time during the course.
  • If possible, do not wear make-up to your appointment. Please inform the Laser Nurse if you are wearing make-up so it can be removed prior to treatment.
  • Depending on your skin type a test patch may be required. Sometimes this needs to be performed a few days/weeks prior to commencing treatment.
  • No anaesthetic is required. For vascular treatments of sensitive areas, a local anaesthetic cream can be applied and the area occluded with plastic film or similar one hour prior to treatment. This is not included in the cost of treatment. Anaesthetic cream can be purchased over the counter from your pharmacist for around $80 for a 30g tube or $24 for a 5g tube.
  • Prior to the ablative laser procedure, a stronger topical anaesthetic cream is applied an hour before treatment or with other medications based on patient need. On occasion the anaesthesia can be supplemented with local nerve block injections.
  • If you have a low pain threshold you should take two Panadol (with or without codeine) 45 minutes to one hour prior to treatment.
  • Avoid the use of fake tan preparations two weeks prior to appointments.

Laser Skin TreatmentAfter laser skin treatment

  • Avoid excessive sun for at least six weeks after your course of treatment. Use a broad spectrum 50+ sunscreen whenever the area is likely to be exposed to the sun. After facial treatments we recommend wearing a hat while in the sun, in addition to sunscreen.
  • There may be some redness and swelling to the treated area. Vaseline or aloe vera gel/after-sun lotion can be applied to the area after treatment for a soothing effect. Applying an ice pack will also soothe the area.
  • Sleeping on several pillows may also help to reduce any persistent swelling.
  • If crusting occurs, an antibiotic ointment or Vaseline should be applied twice daily to keep the area moist. The crust should be allowed to fall off naturally. DO NOT PICK.
  • If there is any indication of infection, please contact our practice.
  • If the area blisters please contact our practice. An antibiotic ointment should be applied twice daily to prevent infection. The area needs to be treated with extreme care.
  • You can bathe as usual after treatment. The treated area should not be rubbed with a face cloth or towel. It should be gently patted dry. Moisturiser may be applied frequently if your skin feels dry or if it is crusting.
  • Do not shave/wax the area for a few days after treatment as your skin may be sensitive. Do not shave/wax at all if crusting is present.
  • Make-up can be applied after treatment if desired. Extreme caution should be used when applying or removing make-up as treated areas are very delicate. Applying and removing make-up roughly can expose the treated area, increasing the chance of infection and scarring.
  • Avoid swimming, sports and strenuous exercise for at least 24 hours after treatment.
  • After ablative laser procedures, special instructions will be given to you on how to care for your skin.

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