What Is Laser?

About 30 years ago, lasers first entered the field of dermatology with very high promises of science fiction-like breakthrough. These extremely high expectations led to some disappointment. Doctors and scientists had figured out a mechanism for directing a beam of intense light to essentially burn off the top layer of skin. This allowed for new layers of skin to replace the old. The first laser devices left patients with what looked like months-long sunburns before any results could be seen. Since then, technology and results have immensely improved and have made lasers an extremely valuable dermatological tool when treating skin. Nowadays there is a very wide spectrum of lasers on the market for a variety of individuals with different needs and concerns.

Whether it’s erasing brown spots, fading wrinkles and age lines, smoothing skin, removing unwanted hair, resurfacing or rejuvenating skin – there is a laser treatment for it!

Lasers are a very broad type of dermatological device, not only varying in what they treat, but also in their aggressiveness and downtime. Some treatments (typically non ablative lasers) require absolutely no downtime, while others do have a period of downtime post-procedure.

How Does Laser Work?

Laser is a single-coloured, focussed beam of light, unlike the white light that you would see from a traditional light bulb, which is a blend of all the colours in the rainbow. When the intense rays from a laser target a brown spot, unwanted hair follicle, etc., the laser light has the ability to solely destroy the pigment or tissue without affecting the surrounding skin.

Did You Know?

Laser is an acronym standing for: light amplification by the stimulated emission of radiation.

Am I A Candidate?

You are an ideal candidate for laser treatments if you are worried about issues like:
• Skin resurfacing
• Skin rejuvenation
• Dark spots
• Fine lines and wrinkles
• Hair removal
• Tattoo removal
• Acne scars

Also, it is important for patients to have realistic goals of what the laser treatment results will be like. It is important to remember that lasers have the ability to significantly improve your skin, but cannot change your skin completely to be like someone else’s.

What Are The Different Types Of Laser?

There are two main types of lasers: ablative lasers and non-ablative lasers.

Ablative Lasers Have The Ability To:
• Make significant decreases in the depth and appearance of wrinkles
• Help fade skin discoloration (hyperpigmentation and dark spots)
• Combat existing sun damage

As ablative lasers have dramatic results, there are some risks, including:
• Swelling
• Redness
• Flaking
• Irritation

Non-ablative lasers have none of the side effects that ablative lasers do. However, they do not produce the same dramatic and extensive results. The results from non-ablative lasers are subtle and require multiple treatments for the optimal outcome.

Non-ablative lasers have the ability to:
• Remove some skin discoloration (specifically superficial brown spots)
• Stimulate the production of collagen
• Decrease the depth of minor wrinkles and fine lines

What Results Should I Expect?

The results from laser treatments will vary depending on the technology and treatment used on the patient. Various laser treatments will target the patient’s concerns and, depending on the aggressiveness of the laser and the extent of the skin issue, the results will vary.

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Dr. Cory Torgerson
Dr. Cory Torgerson
Dr. Cory Torgerson is one of Canada’s most talented and prominent facial plastic surgeons, focusing on head & neck facial surgery. Dr. Torgerson has been frequently invited to teach and lecture on these topics across North America. He has hospital privileges at Sunnybrook Hospital, one of the premier hospitals in the University of Toronto Health Network.
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