Laser Skin Treatment

Laser cosmetic skin treatments

Skin laser treatments are available to remedy a wide range of dermatological conditions, including lesions, rosacea, wrinkles, spider veins and skin damaged by sun overexposure. A variety of different technologies are used, depending on the condition to be treated, but all laser skin treatment systems are based on the same principle: focused laser beams heat the skin, destroying damaged skin cells to expose the healthy cells in deeper layers of the skin.

The Cost of Laser Treatments for the Skin

While your actual cost will vary depending on the size of the skin area you want treated, you should expect to pay roughly $1,000 to $3,000 for a complete laser skin rejuvenation therapy program.

Patient Evaluation

During your consultation session, your doctor will evaluate your skin condition and let you know what kind of results you can realistically expect to get. While most laser skin treatments are performed on adults aged 40 or older, anyone over the age of 18 can be treated.

If you use Accutane or Retin-A to control preexisting skin conditions, you may have to discontinue their use during the months leading up to laser treatment. Patients with dark skin pigmentations need to be treated with specialized lasers. If you scar easily, your doctor may advise you not to get skin laser treatments, and will recommend alternatives instead.

During your consultation session, your doctor may give you specific directions to follow during the pre-treatment period. Follow these closely, as failure to do so may adversely affect your results.

Laser Skin Treatment Procedures

Most sessions last only a few minutes; laser treatment of skin lesions, for example, are concentrated on a localized area of your skin and don't take long at all. However, procedures such as laser skin treatment for spider veins cover a larger area, and can take an hour or two.

In most cases, you'll be given a local anesthetic so you won't feel the heating action of the laser as it penetrates your skin. Then, the doctor will focus a laser beam on the specified area; most people report only minor discomfort akin to slight pinching during the actual treatment. These sessions are almost always completed on an outpatient basis.

Some problems can be treated in a single session. Others, such as laser treatments for sun-damaged skin, require future touch-ups to ensure you maintain the results.

The Risks of Laser Treatment

While laser skin treatments are considered very reliable and safe, especially given recent technological advancements, there are still some risks that you should be aware of. Changes in pigmentation are the most commonly reported side effect; while these are usually temporary, they are sometimes permanent and not entirely predictable.

Blistering and crusting of treated skin is also reported by a significant minority of patients, and post-treatment infections, while rare, can also occur. The risk of scarring can be controlled by avoiding harsh cleansers and intensive scrubbing of treated skin following your procedure.

Recovery from Skin Laser Treatment

After treatment, you'll experience some redness and swelling around the area where treatment took place. This is normal, and it almost always abates within a few days. Avoid touching treated skin.

Your doctor may apply ointments and bandages to protect affected skin; if this happens to you, make sure you follow your doctor's care instructions to the letter. Do not take it upon yourself to apply topical lotions or creams to treated skin, as they may worsen redness, swelling and discomfort rather than soothe them.

Available Alternatives

If you are deemed not to be a good candidate for laser skin treatment, the alternatives your doctor may recommend include chemical peels, dermabrasion and microdermabrasion. These treatments operate on a similar principle – peeling away layers of damaged skin to reveal the healthy skin underneath – but don't use focused laser beams to achieve results.