Which laser skin treatment is right for you? Here are some things you should know

Laser skin- Let derms help you this winter undo the sins that summer brought (and the effects of time on your skin). Many in-office treatments can treat brown spots, wrinkles, and fine lines and leave you with smoother and more even skin. The sun can be particularly sensitive to post-laser skin, so it’s a good time to schedule!

Fractionated Laser Resurfacing

What is it supposed to fix? Ellen Marmur MD, MMSkincare founder and board-certified dermatologist in New York City, says that it reduces wrinkles, firms sagging skin, and fades brown spots and scars. Research has shown that fractionated lasers can protect against skin cancers.

What is the secret to it? Resurfacing lasers produce heat that is deep under the skin. This stimulates collagen production and helps to firm the skin. The lasers penetrate the skin, but their pulses emit light that exfoliates the top layers by creating hundreds of tiny pinholes. These channels, which are technically microthermal, are not like microneedling holes. Non-ablative treatments leave the skin unaffected. The outer layer of the skin is removed by lasers that are more aggressive and less effective. A Nanuet cosmetic dermatologist, Heidi Waldorf MD, says that fractionated treatments leave only “tiny skipped areas of skin, so healing takes less time.” This is how fractionated lasers get their name. They target only a small portion of your skin, almost like latticework. You may require between two to five visits. It’s important to consult your dermatologist about the strength of the laser if you have dark skin or hyperpigmentation. To make the laser safest for your skin, an experienced doctor can adjust the heat level and the extent of treatment to the surface.


Okay, how awful is it? The intensity of the laser determines the level of pain. It can feel like tiny pinpricks or as severe pain. Oh! You can use hot needles. Dr. Marmur states that you will get a generous amount of numbing cream.

What are the side effects? Your skin may appear reddish or swollen depending on how strong and which type of laser treatment you choose. You might want to wait until after major events before you start treatment. Joshua Zeichner, MD, director of cosmetic research and dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, New York City, says that it can take two weeks for flaking and redness to disappear completely.HealthMember of the Advisory Board. Dr. Marmur advises that Aquaphor, a wound-healing cream like Aquaphor, should be used to keep skin moisturized. Avoid sun exposure for at least one week.

When will I start to see results? In general, you’ll notice smoother, brighter skin after seven days. For best results, dermatologists recommend a series.

What are the recommended treatments? Doctors recommend at least three treatments, each spaced out four weeks apart. Dr. Marmur states that a stronger laser-resurfacing procedure could be cheaper than multiple low-intensity treatments. There will be some downtime. Dr. Marmur says that the results “will last forever” as long as people try to avoid the sun and take precautions to protect themselves from future sunburns. Many people use a “booster” treatment to maintain their skin’s health.

What is the cost of this? Clear + Brilliant is a low-intensity laser treatment that can be used on the neck and face. Fraxel Dual and Halo are stronger fractionated lasers that cost about $1,500 each.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL).

What is it supposed to fix?IPL, also known as a photo facial, works differently from a fractionated laser. It is used to reduce sun-induced freckles and reddening from rosacea. Although technically it is not a laser treatment, it uses multispectrum light rather than a single-spectrum. However, you will often hear it called that because they both use light to address specific concerns.


What is the secret to it? The device emits a broad spectrum of light wavelengths to the skin’s surface. It flashes a bright, intense light right next to your face, much like a flash camera. Dr. Zeichner explains that, unlike a laser that emits only one wavelength of light, the device emits a wide spectrum of light to the skin. He also adds that the cooling gel is used to protect the skin from burns. Dr. Marmur states that IPL and BBL [BroadBand Light] work well to treat discoloration. However, because it’s not as aggressive as fractionated, it won’t provide the same anti-aging benefits, such as firming skin. Although many spas offer IPL, it is still highly intense and should be left to professionals. You should ensure that your provider is skilled in treating all skin types.

Okay, how awful is it? It can feel like a rubber band pressing against your skin. Dr. Marmur states that although we offer numbing cream before the procedure, most patients don’t feel it is necessary.

What are the side effects? For a few hours, your skin might be pinker. Over the next week, sunspots will fade and become darker. Redness and swelling can occur for several days after intense treatments.

When will I start to see results? Initial improvement takes around a week. You can expect to see a reduction in redness and fading freckles as you go through more treatments. Your skin will be smoother after the third or fourth treatment.

What are the recommended treatments? The catch is that you will need to do multiple treatments to achieve the best results. This could mean five to twelve weekly sessions.

What is the cost of this? Lumenis M22 and Cynosure Icon treatments can cost anywhere from $250 to $750, depending on the size of your area. Many derms offer a slightly reduced price for prepaid series. Ask!

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