The word ‘laser’ actually means Light amplification by the stimulated emission of radiation and was originally described as a theoretical concept by Albert Einstein in 1917. Once reserved for techno rave parties and sci-fi movies lasers are now a mainstay of most skin care clinics and spas. They play a significant role in treating various skin conditions, aging skin and hair removal. When lasers first appeared as an option for skin care solutions, many people were put off by the pain factor, the high price tag and the long downtime that came with many treatments. Because of the drawbacks they were mostly used for scar, dark spot and hair removal but very rarely to remove wrinkles, tighten skin and prevent aging. The second wave of laser technology revolutionised the cosmetic surgery industry. Thanks to treatments like IPL and Thermage, patients no longer had to contend with painful procedures, exorbitant costs and extensive periods of downtime.
A patent could visit a clinic in their lunchtime and undergo a laser treatment with no downtime, no surgery, no needles, and no anaesthesia.
Fast forward to today and there is a new generation of lasers like Alma’s ‘Clearlift’, which combines two forms of light therapy, enabling it to penetrate through the outer epidermis of the skin without any injury and go deeper into the dermis to stimulate collagen growth and skin remodelling. This new technology allows the treatment to tighten very sensitive areas of the face and neck that would typically be vulnerable to burns and irritations.
The double-action also stimulates the collagen under the skin offering a controlled dermal shrinking that will tighten the skin of the face and neck producing a laser facelift. The procedure is proving very popular with patients that wish to see improvement in the neck area. Of course the full effect cannot be achieved in one session so a patient will need to repeat it three to five times. Some doctors are also combing laser treatments to maximise positive effects and reduce unwanted side-effects, one popular combo is Fraxel (a fractional laser treatment) with Selphyl, or the “Vampire Facelift”, which was made famous by Kim Kardashian. In layman’s terms, they draw blood from a patient, spin it in a centrifuge and apply the resulting platelet-rich plasma on the face to reduce the redness and burning sensation often experienced after Fraxel.
Looking towards the future, the thrust of current research is directed towards non-ablative laser resurfacing (“laser skin toning”), “no-touch” computerized vision correction, and improved photodynamic therapy for treatment of skin cancer and for hair removal. It looks like lasers are not only to stay but will probably play an even bigger role in our everyday lives. So that’s something to think about while you’re giving the cat some much needed exercise with your mini-handheld laser.