Lasers are used to treat infected areas of skin, e.g. warts or reduce the signs of ageing, e.g. lines and wrinkles. A beam of light is aimed at the skin which destroys the infected area and leaves minimal scarring. A laser will cauterise, incise or vaporise a spot or remove large, unsightly varicose veins. It is also performed to remove unwanted hair, birthmarks or treat acne scarring.
Another similar type of treatment is intense pulsed light therapy which is discussed as a separate section.
Lasers are used to treat the various skin conditions:
It is also used for cosmetic purposes, for example, tattoo removal.
Laser therapy is carried out by a dermatologist or surgeon with many years of experience in this field. They will discuss the various forms of laser treatment available and the risks and benefits with each. This can be performed under a local anaesthetic but it depends upon your skin condition and overall health.
Is there more than one type of laser?
There are a variety of lasers which have their own individual wavelengths of light that vary according in intensity and pulse extent. Examples of these:
- CO2 (carbon dioxide) laser: a powerful, high intensity laser
- YAG laser: used to treat skin damaged by excess sun exposure.
- Red light laser: very short, high intensity laser which is used to treat café-au-lait spots or freckles.
- Yellow light laser: uses short pulses of light to treat rosacea, birthmarks and enlarged blood vessels.
- Green light laser: used to treat age spots, e.g. café-au-lait spots (coffee coloured spots).
Benefits of laser therapy
There are several advantages of laser therapy which include:
- Little or no bleeding
- Minimal risk of infection
- Quicker recovery
- Precise form of surgery which reduces the risk of trauma
- Effective surgery which can be performed in a single day
Are there any risks?
All procedures come with a small amount of risk. Laser therapy is safe and effective but there are a few side effects which include changes to your skin colour, pain, infection and scarring. But these are common to all procedures.