22 Apr 6 Factors When Choosing a Laser
There are so many lasers available and, to make things even more confusing, some of them aren’t even “lasers” at all! RefinedMD is where you’ll find one of the biggest collections of lasers and light technologies (as well as complementary treatments that use energies like ultrasound and radiofrequency), and we’re also where you’ll get a customized treatment plan just for you and your skin. It can be very overwhelming and confusing to start the search for “your” laser-armed with just Google and random recommendations. When it comes down to it, you need and deserve an individualized plan from an expert. Here are some of the major factors to discuss with a potential provider during a laser skin rejuvenation consultation:
1. Your skin type. Skin colors are medically ranked on what’s call the Fitzpatrick scale. Knowing “your” number can be helpful, but the reason this matters is that some lasers (especially very aggressive ones, like CO2) can cause hypopigmentation in those with darker skin tones. This means unwanted, patchy, and permanent lightening of the skin. But don’t worry. There are PLENTY of lasers that are safe and effective on all skin tones. Still, consider this a warning of why you should exclusively work with a medical facility when it comes to lasers. Once melanin is “gone,” it can’t be returned.
2. Lasers or lights … or both? Today, the term “laser” includes a lot of different technologies, and some of them are actually energy-based devices. Does this distinction make a difference to you, the client? Not necessarily, but it’s good to know that when someone is talking about “laser skin rejuvenation” they might be referring to a myriad of technologies. FYI, both lasers and energy-based devices can give you fantastic results.
3. Are you prone to keloiding? Keloids happen when scar tissue is made in excess after a trauma and appears as a bigger and bumpier scar that spreads beyond the confines of the initial trauma. You might notice this on things like surgical scars. If you are prone to keloiding, which usually occurs in darker skin tones, this is critical to share with your provider. More aggressive lasers can cause keloiding in those prone to this harmless but aesthetically unpleasing condition. Going for a gentler option is probably best for you.
4. What exactly are you trying to treat? There are over 3,000 skin conditions, so most people have a few. Maybe it’s acne, acne scarring, a blend of unwanted hyperpigmentation (brown spots, moles, sun damage), lines and wrinkles, skin laxity, dullness, big pores, or subpar texture. That sounds like a lot, but many people struggle with all of these and more! Unfortunately, it’s rare that a single laser or light device is going to treat all the conditions someone has. Mixing and matching lasers is often the best way to actually get the results you want.
5. Most lasers aren’t a one-and-done. Yes, if you go for a very aggressive laser that requires intensive downtime, maybe “just” one treatment every several months will suffice. However, increasingly clients want minimal to no downtime so that these treatments can fit into their busy lives. How many treatments you’ll need for the results you want depend on your skin and goals. It is not uncommon for gentler lasers to require about four treatments spaced one month apart, followed by maintenance sessions, to get and keep desired results.
6. Pre- and post-laser care matters. Yes, some lasers are super-gentle and don’t require a lot of prep. However, if you want the best results, caring for your skin outside of your appointment makes all the difference. In many cases, you may need to stop some medications (including topicals like retinol) for a certain amount of time before the treatment. Never stop a prescription medication without talking to your doctor first. You will also need to avoid sun before and after any laser or light treatment (so don’t schedule a tropical getaway during this time). Your exact care will be discussed during your consult and is dependent on many factors.
As you can see, “getting” a laser treatment shouldn’t be done without the guidance of a pro. Let’s work together and set up a treatment plan that will get your skin where you want it to be. Schedule a consult with RefinedMD by filling out the online form or just give us a call.