There was a time when dermatology treatments were highly dependent on topical medication, and surgeries were only used in an emergency or for treating some severe condition. The treatments were effective, but topical treatments took a lot of time to show results, and surgeries were associated with risks. However, things started to change when the new laser technology was introduced in the healthcare industry. With the rise of lasers, we got the chance to explore new methods of treatments which can be done easily, shows result quickly and have near to non-risk involved. Today, a major portion of cosmetic dermatology treatments uses a laser to offer effective and satisfying results. There are different types of lasers and treatments associated with dermatology. To better understand the treatment, it is important to learn about the lasers used in it.
What Is LASER?
Light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation is the full form of LASER, and this technology was first introduced in 1960. The first laser device was developed by an American engineer and physicist Theodore H. Maiman. He developed a laser, based on the theory of Charles Hard Townes and Arthur Leonard Schawlow. The mechanism behind the working of a laser includes a power source and optical mediums. A laser is created when electrons in atoms absorb energy from the source and get energized. It helps the electrons to move from a lower energy field to a higher energy field. When the electrons get back to the ground state, they release photons or light pulse. These photons have the same wavelength, and they pass through an optical medium, their intensity increases, and thus, their power changes. Presently, a laser can be seen in various devices doing different tasks. With the ability to change its power and intensity, we can easily modify the laser and use it for various purposes.
Different Types of Lasers Used in Dermatology
The lasers used in dermatology are well tested and certified, so there is nothing worry about. Nowadays, we have different types of lasers for treating different problems. We can do surgeries with them, can stimulate various components of the skin. Effectively reduce the effects of foreign particles and so on. So, let’s get on and learn about the different types of laser used in dermatology.
A laser has different properties like monochromatic, which means it has the same wavelength, coherent, which means that the light waves are in periodic and collimated, which means the light travel in parallel, these are some properties a laser has.
In dermatology, we use lasers that can be divided into ablative lasers and non-ablative lasers. The ablative lasers are also called invasion lasers and are primarily used for surgical procedures. These lasers have a controlled wavelength that easily removes the skin layer without injury or burn. At first, Argon and CO2 laser were introduced with wavelengths of 488/514 nm and 10600 nm, respectively. Now we have a range of laser with different wavelengths, Erbium- 2940, YSGG- 2790, Fractionated- 10600, 2790, and 2940.
On the other hand, the non-ablative lasers are used for resurfacing and exfoliation. They also are known as non-invasion laser, and unlike ablatives, they are surgical lasers. These lasers work with the help of heat produced by the photon beam. The heat is absorbed by the skin cells and transferred inside. You may know that our skin has different layers, and each layer has different components. The wavelength of the non-ablative lasers is controlled so that they can only reach a certain layer and react with the present components. Some non-ablative lasers and their respective wavelengths, Pulsed Dye- 585-595nm, Q-Switched- 1064, YAG- 1320, Diode- 1450, Erbium- 1540, Intense Pulsed Light Source- 515-1200, Fractional Resurfacing- 1550, 1540, 1320, 1440 and 1927.
There is another way of classifying lasers used in dermatology based on the frequency of the beam they emit.
- Argon and CO2 lasers emit constant and long exposure beams. They are called CW or Continuous Wave lasers.
- Potassium-Titanyl-Phosphate (KTP), Copper Bromide, Argon-Pumped Tunable Dye and Krypton lasers emit constant beams which are interrupted by a shutter. They are called Q-CW or Quasi- Continuous Wave lasers.
- Pulsed Dye Laser (PDL, QS Ruby, QS Alexandrite, QS Neodymium (Nd): Yttrium-Aluminum-Garnet (YAG), Erbium: YAG and CO2 (Pulsed) lasers emit pulses of high energy beams with intervals.
Now that we have learned about different lasers, how they work, and their different types, it is time to see how they work. Let’s see how laser helps in reducing wrinkles and fine lines.
Wrinkle reduction laser treatment uses a non-ablative laser powerful enough to reach deeper into the dermis layer. In that layer, we can find collagen, elastin, connective tissues, and melanin. The heat from the laser reacts with all the triggers stimulation of collagen and elastin. These components help in restoring skin and reduction of wrinkles and fine lines.
For reducing skin oil, it reacts with sebaceous and sweat glands. For reducing pigmentation and tattoo removal, it attacks the destroys melanin content and pigment. When used on the scalp, it can energize the hair follicle to grown and multiply. And further on the heat from the laser reacts with a different component for different results.
LASER is a revolutionary invention that we had done. It is a technology that has wide scope and applications for every field. In the healthcare industry and especially is dermatology laser changes the processes very much, and we will witness continuous innovations it will provide in the future.