Until someone invents a time machine or discovers the fountain of youth, it may seem like there’s no way to restore your skin’s youth. Fortunately, we already have access to the technology necessary for combating aging skin. Laser therapies have become increasingly common, effective, and affordable tools in dermatology in recent decades. Useful for a wide variety of applications, lasers can help patients achieve the skin tone and texture they’ve always desired. If you’re concerned about outward aging, different types of lasers can do everything from reducing fine lines and wrinkles to undoing years of sun damage (and much more). Let’s explore five of the best laser therapy options for patients who wish to do something about their aging skin.
Ablative lasers are designed to wound the skin in a specific way – when administered, these lasers remove the epidermis (the outermost layer of skin) and heat up the dermis (the skin underneath). As a result, the skin goes into self-healing mode, producing new collagen fibers and eventually forming a firmer, smoother epidermis. Ultimately, ablative lasers are effective at minimizing lines and wrinkles, as well as evening out skin tone and texture. Ablative laser therapies include carbon dioxide (CO2) lasers, erbium lasers, and combination systems.
As you might have guessed, non-ablative lasers are not meant to wound the skin. Though not as powerful as their ablative counterparts, non-ablative lasers are still effective at combating certain signs of aging, including hyperpigmentation and other forms of skin discoloration (those who wish to reduce their freckles can also benefit from these therapies). Indeed, non-ablative lasers stimulate collagen production without damaging the skin. Of course, the less invasive nature of these therapies renders them somewhat less effective than the more intense ablative therapies.
Fractional lasers are named after their ability to target small fractions of skin via microscopic dots. More invasive than non-ablative therapies and less invasive than ablative lasers, fractional laser therapies offer a happy medium between the two, working on both the upper and deeper levels of skin to combat acne scars, deep wrinkles, sun damage, and aging skin more broadly. Popular and effective examples of fractional laser therapies include Fraxel® and SmartXide DOT CO2 Laser treatments.
Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapies are a specific type of non-ablative laser therapy, and they involve the least amount of downtime. Also referred to as “photofacials,” IPL treatments target a specific skin pigment and heat up said areas with flashes (pulses) of varying wavelengths of light. Ideally, IPL therapy will help reduce the appearance of the unwanted pigmentation, revealing a more even skin tone throughout. Those suffering from sun damaged skin, scarring, or other forms of discoloration stand to benefit from IPL therapy.
Though not necessarily linked to aging, rosacea and other conditions that reveal blood vessels can damage one’s self-esteem. Fortunately, pulsed dye laser (PDL) therapies can be highly effective at removing these unwanted vessels without significant downtime. These vascular lasers deploy yellow light to target and heat blood vessels until they have been destroyed. Vbeam Perfecta is one of the best and most commonly used PDL therapies available.
We’re all getting older, and cosmetic dermatology technology is evolving at the same time. Today, there are countless laser therapies out there for a wide range of skin types and conditions – and the list is always growing. At North Pacific Dermatology, we continue to provide our patients with information about (and access to) the latest and greatest laser therapies available. Set up a consultation with our team today.