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Combining Laser Treatments and Esthetics

By: Terri Wojak
Posted: May 26, 2010, from the June 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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The nonablative fractionated Er:YAG laser was developed to capture the same aesthetic results of an ablative technique along with the comfort, short recovery and mild adverse effect profile of a nonablative modality. This laser can be adjusted to fit the desired aggressiveness of the treatment, the patient’s response and the skin’s sensitivity. Rapid epithelization is typically induced within 24 hours. There is considerable skin protection when using this laser, and there is a reduced risk of scarring and heat-related complications. Treatments produce mild to no pain, and anesthesia is not required. Erythema and edema rarely last more than one or two days. Complete healing is achieved quickly, and there is essentially little to no downtime. Several treatments are usually done at intervals of three to four weeks to maximize benefits and a significant improvement can be expected in epidermal and deeper dermal pigmentation, such as melasma. This technology is effective without the downtime common to medium-depth peels and ablative laser treatments.

The esthetician’s role. The esthetician frequently takes care of these patients both before and after the laser procedure. Patients may undergo several chemical peels and microdermabrasion treatments with the esthetician, and then begin requesting treatment that is slightly more aggressive than simple epidermal treatments. However, these treatments can prepare the skin, and patients may see better results if the skin is prepped ahead of time. After a nonablative fractionated Er:YAG treatment, the skin is left with a crusted epidermis. Microdermabrasion or dermaplaning should be recommended to the patient a week after the treatment to remove this crusted skin. This is an important part of the overall result, as is developing an after-care program with the patient.

Closer ties

There are many benefits to having an esthetician play a role with patients receiving laser treatments. Not only can the esthetician improve the results and help prolong the effects of the laser treatments, but they are also an advocate to patients. Patients will have closer ties to the practice and appreciate the fact that there is more than one person available who knows their skin. It should be the responsibility of everyone in the office to make patients aware that estheticians are available to provide these treatments and recommend a tailored skin care regimen.