Laser and IPL (Intense Pulsed Light)

Medical Grade Laser

The term ‘Laser’ is an acronym, it stands for Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Lasers are sources of high intensity light with the following properties:

  • Monochromatic (the light is of a single wavelength)
  • Coherent (the light beam waves are in phase)
  • Collimated (the light beams travel in parallel)

These properties allow Laser devices to deliver powerful pulses of high-energy light to tissue elements being targeted for removal or modification.

Treatment Options Include the Following:

Skin Lesion Removal

  • Seborrhoeic Keratoses (Age Spots, Senile Warts, ‘Liver Spots’)
  • Skin Tags
  • Benign Moles
  • Freckles (Lentigos)
  • Warts
  • A range of small facial blemishes

Vascular Lesions

  • Facial Blood Vessels (Telangiectases and small red facial veins)
  • Rosacea
  • Spider Veins
  • Cherry Angiomas
  • Small Vascular birthmarks

Skin Enhancements and Repair for:

  • Aging Skin
  • Wrinkled Skin
  • Sun-damaged Skin

The aim is to destroy the targeted cells and not harm the surrounding tissue. Short pulses reduce the amount that the damaged cells heat up, thereby reducing thermal injury that could result in scarring.

Skin Doctor SA has 3 Laser machines, each producing different wavelengths, providing a wide range of options for medical and cosmetic treatments.

  • K Laser (Diode technology)
  • Fraxis (CO2)
  • Dual Yellow (Copper Bromide)

Vascular Lesions

The yellow light is used very effectively to treat vascular lesions (red)

  • Rosacea
  • Facial telangiectasia and small red facial veins (spider veins)
  • Spider angiomas
  • Cherry angiomas
  • Small port wine stains

Treated vascular lesions blanch lasered. A laser session maybe brief for a small number of blood vessels or up to 30 minutes for multiple widespread blood vessels or redness. The treated skin appears red for a few hours. The following day there may be localised swelling and on occasions crusting. Eyelid swelling occasionally occurs but rarely lasts more than a few days.

Telangiectasia, Spider Naevi, Spider Veins and Broken Capillaries

Visable surface broken capillaries represent dilated and proliferated surface blood vessels, otherwise known as telangiectasia.  Telangiectasia are usually seen on the face (nose, cheeks and chin) and on the legs and chest. Telangiectasia are usually benign but are for some unsightly and distressing. Telangiectasia generally respond well to laser.

Before     After

Cherry Angiomas

Cherry angiomas are very common small cherry-red lumps usually the size of a pin head which may grow slowly to the size of a match head. In contrast to pyogenic glanulomas they rarely cause discomfort and only require treatment for cosmetic reasons. They respond well to laser treatment.

cherry angiomas
Before     After

Rosacea

Rosacea is a common disorder, causing a red facial rash affecting the cheeks and nose mostly, but also often the chin and lower forehead area.

The cause of rosacea is unknown. It may develop at any age, in either sex but most often begins in women between 30 and 50 years of age. In men, rosacea tends to begin earlier and to be more severe.

Factors which cause flushing in normal people may aggravate rosacea and make it more apparent but there is no evidence that these factors are involved in causing the disorder.

The facial redness is caused by a combination of prominent blood vessels (telangiectasia) and background redness (erythema). In many cases there is also an eruption of acne-like lumps within the area of facial redness.

Rosacea can be treated successfully or greatly improved by Laser and IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) treatments, often in association with oral or topical treatments.

Capillary Rosacea Before & After 3
Before     After

Port Wine Stains

Port wine stains are vascular birthmarks due to patches of capillary vascular malformations. Some may fade over time but most remain unchanged.

Most port wine stains can be improved and sometimes removed by laser treatment, although numerous treatments are usually required.

Pyogenic Granulomas

Pyogenic granulomas, also referred to as a granuloma telangiectaticum, are small vascular malformations. Pyogenic granulomas appear as cherry-red, shiny lumps which may grow very rapidly from the size of a pin-head size to that of a small pea.

Pyogenic granulomas, usually form on the trunk, arms or legs and can cause discomfort and bleeding. They respond well to laser treatment, but caution needs to be exercised to eliminate other conditions, especially skin cancers. Quite often the lesion needs to be biopsied or excised for histology testing to be sure it is benign.

Bulk Lesions

Both K-Laser and Dual Yellow Laser are very effective at removing a large range of solid or bulky surface skin lesions.

  • Seborrhoeic keratoses
  • Solar keratoses
  • Skin tags
  • Warts
  • Benign moles

The lesions are targeted by the fine laser beams which destroy the unwanted lesion without affecting the adjacent surrounding skin tissue.

The obliterated lesion forms a dry scab, which requires no care or dressings, and falls off after a weeks or so.

Are there any side effects?

Side effects are minor but may include:

  • Pain during treatment (reduced by contact cooling)
  • Skin turning pink and a little sore immediately after the procedure.
  • Sensation of a mild sunburn (redness, peeling, swelling) that may last a few days after treatment when areas of skin are treated as with Rosacea.
  • Rarely, skin pigment may absorb too much light energy and blistering can occur.
  • Sometimes the pigment cells (melanocytes) can be damaged leaving darker or paler patches of skin. White patches or scars are rarely permanent.
  • Hair loss may rarely occur in the treated area.
  • As with any wound to the skin, scarring is possible, but this is very uncommon as the laser does not cut into or through the skin – it just removes the surface tissue.
IPL before & after
Before     After
Laser & IPL Before & After 3
Before     After

IPL (Intense Pulsed Light)

Intense pulsed light (IPL) is a non-invasive and non-ablative treatment that uses high intensity pulses of visible light to improve the appearance of vascular lesions, pigmented and sun-damaged or ageing skin.

How does it work?

IPL systems work on the same principles as lasers in that light energy is absorbed into particular target cells with colour (chromophores) in the skin. The light energy is converted to heat energy, which causes damage to the specific target area. IPL systems are different from lasers in that they deliver many wavelengths (or colours) in each pulse of light instead of just one wavelength. Most IPL systems use filters to refine the energy output for the treatment of certain areas. This enhances penetration without using excessive energy levels and enables targeting of specific chromophores (the skin components that absorb light).

There is a range of IPL machines. Individual machines may be specially designed to focus on certain problem areas but may not be equally effective on others. We use the Chromolite IPL system, which emits a dual band of yellow and green light which is particularly effective for both hair removal and skin rejuvenation.

Chromolight

IPL therapy is considered a non-ablative resurfacing technique, which means that it targets the lower layers of skin (dermis) without affecting the top layers of skin (epidermis). The results are not as dramatic as ablative resurfacing where both the dermis and the epidermis are injured to produce a much more noticeable overall outcome. The advantage of IPL therapy is requires minimal downtime – a client can often have the procedure done in their lunch break and return to work immediately afterwards.

IPL therapy has a number of uses such as:

  1. Vascular lesions: For the treatment of areas of erythema (redness) due to vascular proliferation, such as red nose and cheeks in rosacea and sun damaged necks and chests.
  2. Pigmented lesions: For the treatment of age spots, freckles, flat pigmented birthmarks and other skin discolouration problems such as melasma/chloasma, and erythromelanosis of the neck (poikiloderma of Civatte). Light pulses targeted at the melanin in the skin’s surface heat and destroy melanin to remove the discolouration.

IPL and Skin Rejuvenation

The Chromolite IPL used by our team enables us to perform a skin rejuvenation treatment that will help to soften the visible aspects of all factors; softening lines and wrinkles and tightening skin, reducing pigmentation and vascular conditions.

New collagen is formed in response to the body’s perceived injury to ‘heal’ the wound, whether that is by surgical intervention or traumatic injury. The light from Chromolite penetrates deep into the dermal layer of the skin tissue, heating up the dermal microvasulature and triggering off this ‘healing’ response.

Before     After

What does the procedure involve?

Prior to the procedure your Skin Doctor SA practitioner will explain the process to you and clearly define your expectations of the treatment. They should be able to tell you whether or not the results you are looking for will be achievable using this method. It is important that the correct diagnosis has been made prior to the treatment.

Points to note:

  • Avoid sun exposure in the days and weeks before and after treatment
  • A topical anaesthetic may be applied to the area but is usually not necessary.
  • Cold gel is applied to the area being treated.
  • The smooth glass surface of the IPL treatment head is applied to the skin, delivering precise pulses of light top the area being treated.
  • Treatment sessions usually last 5-20 minutes, depending on the area to be treated.
  • A course of 4 -6 sessions may be required to achieve desired results.
  • Most clients can return to work immediately after treatment.

Are there any side effects?

Any potential side effects are minor but can include:

  • Pain during treatment (reduced by contact cooling)
  • Skin turning pink and a little sore immediately after the procedure.
  • Sensation of a mild sunburn (redness, peeling, swelling) that may last a few days after treatment.
  • Rarely, skin pigment may absorb too much light energy and blistering can occur.
  • Sometimes the pigment cells (melanocytes) can be damaged leaving darker or paler patches of skin. White patches or scars are rarely permanent.
  • Hair loss may occur.