Only a few decades ago, people had three choices for what they could do to treat their skin: Use topical actives (which admittedly have their limitations), opt for more invasive procedures, or leave skin be. But now, laser technology has provided an alternative, effective option to treat all kinds of different skin concerns—and in the latest episode of Dear Derm, board-certified dermatologist Mona Gohara, MD, is sharing everything you need to know about it.
“Lasers have the tremendous capability to do a lot of things that can really make a big difference for your skin health and your skin appearance,” says Dr. Gohara. Among them? Doing away with sun damage, broken capillaries, acne scarring, and rosacea; stimulating collagen to treat signs of aging; and removing hair.
With all of those different applications, it makes sense that not all lasers are created equally: There are a number of different offerings, each of which work differently to target your specific skin concerns. “Saying ‘lasers’ is like saying ‘ice cream’: There are a lot of different kinds,” says Dr. Gohara. “There’s a wide range of lasers and a wide range of how they work, but they all use light and heat to get the desired result. The most popular are fractionated lasers, which target microscopic zones of your skin, ablative lasers, which affect the top layer of your skin, non-ablative lasers, which get the second layer of skin to stimulate collagen.
What’s great about lasers, Dr. Gohara explains, is that they can provide effective treatments with minimal invasion. “We’re moving away from the scalpel,” she says. “We want less invasive ways to get equally effective results, and lasers make that possible.”
To find out more about what you need to know before trying out a laser treatment of your own (in a derm’s office, of course), press play on the video above.