In the past 5 years, with the rise of urbanization and affluence, many of my friends who were General Practitioners have joined the bandwagon to be Aesthetic Doctors ~ providing procedures from fillers, botox and especially laser facial to help with skin pigmentation treatment.
Let’s take a look at what Laser is and what are some of the benefits and risks involved.
Laser: Laser is an acronym for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation.”
There are two main types of cosmetic lasers: ablative (lasers that vaporize the surface layer of your skin) and non-ablative or fractional CO2 laser (lasers that penetrate deeply without breaking the surface of your skin).
Many non-ablative lasers claim to have “no downtime” and are even advertised as “lunch-time” procedures. In fact, with the rise of competition within that space, some laser facial also promises anti aging skin care benefits with increased fibroblasts activities. However, these are the common side effects we observe
- Sensitivity to heat and sun. It is a misconception that laser treatment can be done on a weekly or monthly basis. Although it is does not cause bleeding, laser peel facial damages the skin to force it to ‘heal’ by creating more collagen. Over treatment will cause sensitive skin ~ skin easily gets warm simply by sitting under the light source, laugh or light exercise.
- Changes in skin pigmentation
Over eager administration of laser peel facial will cause the skin to be too thin. Post laser sun exposure can create more pigments which lead to hyper pigmentation. If treatments continue to be aggressive, it will eventually damage the melanocyte completely leading to hypo-pigmentation.
- Recurrence of the skin issue
It usually takes more than one laser skin treatment to get your desired results. However, even after multiple treatments, some skin conditions will come back. This is more common with cosmetic lasers that treat vascular lesions and remove hair. With broken capillaries, for instance, lasers can destroy the blood vessels, but a laser treatment will not prevent your skin from growing more blood vessels
Some people experience pimple post-op. This could be from the stimulation of your skin by the laser treatment or from the emollient healing creams you apply after the procedure. In general, you should not get laser treatments if you have active acne or irritated skin. While some cosmetic lasers claim to treat acne, it is my belief that lasers best treat acne scars than acne itself.
In summary, if you wish to have a fractional laser (CO2) skin resurfacing treatment once a year, we would suggest that you go to a good dermatologist. During the recovery period, a good post laser skincare routine especially sun protection in the day and brightening skincare in the night (to help control the production of melanin) is essential.
Do not ‘doctor hop’ as it is important to have a good treatment plan with the same administrator. Over-laser treatments can cause melanocyte cells to be completely destroyed and long term effect is hypo-pigmentation where the skin turns white (due to lack of melanin or dark pigments). This is a permanent phenomenon.
Hope you continue to enjoy our skin care in Singapore article series.