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Lasers and Lights--A Technological Revolution

By: Jeffrey Dover, MD, and Amy Kamin
Posted: June 6, 2008, from the January 2007 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Lasers produce a powerful beam of a single-color light that can vary in both strength and pulse duration. The basis of virtually all cosmetic skin surgical procedures is spatial confinement of laser energy.

A color of light, or wavelength, is selected that is well-absorbed by the target and the duration of laser exposure, or pulse duration, is selected to allow heating of the target without damage to the surrounding tissue. This affords highly specific tissue damage of only the target leaving all the surrounding tissue unharmed. This is why laser and light skin surgery can be so precise and when done properly, the risks are very low.

Lasers and light sources are highly specialized technological devices. As a result they each have a few specific uses and one such device does not work for all skin problems. As a result several different lasers and light sources are required to be able to treat the various different age-related skin issues. Laser/light treatments are best performed by an experienced and expert physician to get the desired excellent results. See Composition of Lasers.

Intense pulsed light sources

This light appears white but actually is made up of many different colors. It also is called broad-spectrum of light. Like a laser, the intensity and pulse duration can vary. To cause an effect in skin, the light must first be absorbed, just as is the case with laser light, after which the energy is converted to heat. The emitted white light can be adjusted using special filters to eliminate certain wavelengths of light depending on the desired target. See Types of Light.

Common Target Areas explores the latest advances in technology to address the anti-aging market including vascular (broken blood vessels), pigmented (brown sun spots), wrinkles and sagging skin.

Vascular lesions