Beginner’s Guide to Lasers

Written On February 23, 2021

Laser treatments are undoubtedly intimidating, yet when you can overcome the uncertainty and turn it into knowledge, you’ve entered a world where science and technology gives us the best skin of our lives. Lasers are one of the most powerful and effective tools for treating many skin issues—everything from pigment, redness and blood vessels—to promoting skin rejuvenation, erasing signs of aging and so much more. You’ll achieve real, noticeable results in short amounts of time!

While lasers are one of the most effective and efficient tools a derm can use, these treatments must be performed by a skilled individual to ensure success and safety. There is quite a lot to consider, so we are hoping to educate you on all things lasers in this journal so you’re aware of the options available to you.

So what exactly can laser treatments do for skin? 

Lasers selectively target skin issues. This includes everything from uneven pigment, redness, blood vessels, loss of collagen, acne scars and even unruly leg veins. In order to treat different conditions, we use the laser to apply a specific wavelength of energy to effectively dial into a specific skin concern. When Dr. Kademian selected the various lasers for Vérité, she wanted an arsenal of tools that could target most to all skin issues. 

For example, if we are aiming to stimulate collagen production in a patient, we dial in the laser to target water in the skin. This increases collagen production which decreases pore size and improves fine lines and evens out the skin’s texture. It’s pretty amazing! 

Here’s a short list of common skin conditions that lasers can treat, but note that there are many more:

Redness, rosacea, acne scars, pitted acne scars, large pores, uneven pigmentation, textural unevenness, sun damage, dullness, acne, broken capillaries, unwanted hair growth, fine lines + wrinkles, loss of collagen + elasticity, and many more.

What types of lasers are available at Vérité?

At Vérité, we use two different types of lasers. The first is a device by Cutera called excelV. This device has a feature called laser genesis, which is an excellent setting for treating redness, rosacea, acne scars, hyperpigmentation and other inflammatory processes of the skin. The excelV has additional settings to target specific skin concerns. There is not much it can’t treat.  The best part? There is zero to little downtime,  so it’s a great option for a lunch hour during work or if you have an event afterwards. Plus, this laser can be used on all skin types, so patients with darker skin can feel good about having these treatments without fear of hyperpigmentation. More aggressive treatments to target stubborn sun spots or vessels can be designed if needed. 

***We can also perform laser hair removal with this machine!

The second laser device we use at Vérité, and the one you’d likely recognize, is the Clear + Brilliant laser. This is a fractionated laser, meaning the laser’s energy is delivered to the skin in thousands of little microscopic zones. This method creates zones of injury to the dermis (the deep, inner layer of the skin), triggering a repair process from below. This repair process stimulates the production of collagen and elastin, and your skin will experience surface changes as it begins to repair post-procedure. The injury comes to the surface over the course of a week and will be exfoliated out. This is a wonderful way to give your skin a fresh start! These treatments do have a bit more downtime—generally, treated areas will look sunburned for about two days, and the skin’s surface will feel rough for about a week. 

For individuals with darker skin tones or those who are prone to hyperpigmentation, we encourage you to come in for a personalized consultation so that we can assess the best, safest options for your skin type. Dr. Kademian can advise you on pre- and post-procedure skin care that will minimize hyperpigmentation, and she will design a specific laser package for your individual skin concerns.

“After all, your skin is dynamic, and your particular skin needs may change as we begin a specific regimen.

What sets Vérité apart from other offices that perform laser treatments?

Dr. Kademian has been operating lasers as a dermatologist for over 10 years. In her prior experience in different dermatology practices, she has been trained to operate countless devices from various brands. These years of experience have provided her with the knowledge to determine which lasers work best for specific indications and which devices she feels are the safest in regards to reducing risks of hyperpigmentation, scarring or other adverse side effects. Ultimately, this is what has led her to offer the excelV by Cutera and the Clear + Brilliant lasers in her own dermatology practice.

She has also had a good number of treatments herself as a patient—so when you ask her how a particular laser will feel or how the recovery will be, she truly knows from experience!

“Lasers are very powerful machines that can do a lot of damage to the skin. With any aesthetic procedure, your results are only as good as the person operating the machine. You can get Clear + Brilliant from one person, and the results won’t be nearly as good as another.”

Dr. Kademian makes it a point to let her patients know that she will never rush a procedure. A full face laser treatment shouldn’t be as quick as 15 minutes. You need more time to really dial into your target and do a good job, and it’s extremely important that a skilled, licensed individual is operating the laser.

“Don’t just look for the cheapest option or the best deal! Lasers are selectively injuring and damaging the skin, and in the wrong hands, a laser could leave permanent damage. I’m the only one doing laser treatments at Vérité! It’s important for people to know that.

How many treatments are typically required to see results?

With any laser in general, the more you do, the better your skin will be, but it really depends on what you’re treating. You’ll likely see improvement with as little as one treatment, but committing to a series of treatments will lead to better results. The images below show improvements after a series of three and four treatments, respectively.

Who is a good candidate for a laser treatment? 

It’s never too early to have a laser treatment, especially if you have a specific skin concern you’d like to improve. The most common age to start lasers is generally in your 30’s, but that tends to be because laser treatments are an investment! Since laser treatments trigger collagen production and help improve fine lines, getting on a regimen earlier rather than later will reduce your need for botox or other more invasive skin treatments later on.  Your 30’s are definitely a good time to come in for a consultation to talk about starting lasers. 

At Vérité, our guidance for anyone who simply wants to improve the overall appearance of skin, not necessarily a specific concern, is to begin a “jump start” series. This is typically 3-4 treatments roughly one month apart, in addition to the implementation of a good daily skin care regimen. After this jump start, you’ll likely only need to come in once per quarter or once every six months for “maintenance.”

The most convenient time for a jump start laser treatment package would definitely be during the winter months—you’re less likely to be exposed to daylight as the days are shorter. But you can have laser treatments any time of year, as long as you’re good about sun protection!

Do laser treatments hurt? What is the down time?

For uncomfortable laser treatments, we will apply a topical numbing cream that will sit on the skin for about 15-30 minutes prior to the treatment. In general, the Clear + Brilliant laser feels like a warm, rough, scratchy sensation—almost like a cat’s tongue or sandpaper—but the numbing cream helps a lot and reduces any true pain that would occur. Laser genesis on the excelV doesn’t hurt at all. It just feels warm on the skin, so it’s great for everyone!

Wherever you decide to have a laser treatment, make sure the person you’re seeing has the knowledge base to know what should NOT be treated with a laser and has experience to help you if you were to have an unexpected issue. 

It’s our priority to give patients the best care possible, to educate, to listen and to make them feel their best from the inside out. I always make sure that I’m very accessible to my patients if they ever have a concern or issue, and I make sure they know that.

If all this laser talk has you feeling excited and looking to learn more, schedule a consultation with us to see how lasers can improve your skin! We can’t wait to help you achieve your best skin yet.