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Combining Laser Treatments and Esthetics

Terri Wojak June 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

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Cosmetic laser treatments can address various conditions commonly associated with aging and photodamaged skin, such as pigmentation, vascular disorders, fine lines, wrinkles and loose skin.

The growth of nonsurgical procedures continues to rise, despite the recession. According to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, in 2008 alone, Americans spent $4.6 billion on nonsurgical cosmetic procedures, and laser skin resurfacing has grown more than 270% from 1997–2008. This shows that there is room for even more growth in this industry, and estheticians can play a role in making this business a success. One of the biggest concerns for new and seasoned estheticians is that medical skin care treatments are taking the place of esthetic skin care services, such as superficial peels, microdermabrasion and facials. If the esthetician and the practice position it correctly, adding esthetic services to complement medical services can be beneficial to everyone involved, including the patient.

How do lasers work?

In order to offer esthetic services to clients effectively before and after laser treatments, you must have a good understanding of lasers and how they work. Light that is able to be seen is called visible light, and this is a combination of multiple colors that are blended together. Visible light is most evident when you shine light through a prism or when you look at a rainbow. In these instances, the light is broken up and each component of the visible light is seen as an individual color. The primary colors in the spectrum are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet, and each color in the visible light spectrum has a corresponding wavelength measured in nanometers (nm). The wavelength helps determine the characteristics of light. In laser therapy, the longer the wavelength, the deeper the light penetrates the skin. Therefore, red will travel deeper into the skin than violet. Laser therapy manipulates the light so that it is directed specifically at the chromophore (target). When the laser light hits its target, it is absorbed and then heated. The goal in laser therapy is to destroy the target before the heat can spread to, and potentially damage, the surrounding tissues.

VLL and IPL devices

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