Laser treatment is a non-surgical and safe way to treat a variety of skin problems. It uses laser light to target specific targets inside your body and can cause temporary pain relief or reduce inflammation.
The wavelengths of laser light are absorbed by different cells in your body, and they then produce heat energy that is used to destroy the targeted tissue or cell. This can help treat cancer, certain skin pre-cancers and even abnormalities of the cervix or intestine.
A common type of laser treatment is photodynamic therapy (PDT). This technique combines a drug that makes cells sensitive to a certain type of light with exposure to a specific laser.
Depending on the area being treated, a doctor will use an endoscope to position the laser beam for accurate treatment. This allows them to work inside areas of the body that aren’t accessible by other means. The treatment can also be used to remove tumors or polyps in the colon and rectum.
Other types of laser treatment include CO2 and Nd:YAG lasers that shrink or destroy tumors. These lasers can be used to treat many types of cancers and other abnormalities in the lungs, digestive system, skin, and liver. In addition, these lasers can be used to cut and remove scars caused by previous surgeries or injuries.
Melasma, a pigmentation condition that can look like a ‘pregnancy mask’ and is sometimes associated with inflammation, can be treated by gentle lasers that don’t ‘blast’ or ‘destroy’ the pigment. “We are very careful not to set off inflammation and make it worse,” says Dr. Thomas, who uses yellow lasers at low settings to target inflammatory triggers that can worsen the condition.
BBL (a new type of IPL that has a 590nm wavelength) is another option to target dark spots and hyperpigmentation, but it should be discussed with an experienced dermatologist. These lasers aren’t as gentle as their yellow counterparts and may be less effective in darker skin tones, so they typically require more than one treatment for visible results.
Fractionated lasers are an excellent treatment for melasma and other discolorations because they only target a small fraction of your skin at a time, so you won’t have to worry about any damage to healthy skin. These treatments can take two to five visits and will usually result in some redness.
While laser treatments can be effective at improving your skin’s appearance, they can also be dangerous if they aren’t performed properly or in the right place. In the case of melasma, it’s important to choose an experienced dermatologist who will be able to determine what strength of laser is needed to effectively and safely treat the inflammatory triggers that are causing the problem.
The laser will likely cause itching and stinging that lasts between 12 to 72 hours. It will take 10 to 21 days for your skin to heal completely, and it may be a bit dry after the procedure.