Lasers light the way for even more beautiful skin

Cosmeceutical creams can help rejuvenate your skin. But did you know there are anti-aging methods a doctor can employ right in the office, and some you can use at home, that can produce more immediate results?

You’re probably already familiar with chemical peels, dermabrasion, fillers and Botox, but laser technology has offered up a new and unique approach to anti-aging skincare that you can experience in your doctor’s office—or at home—and I’m excited to tell you about it.

First, let’s talk about how lasers are used on the skin and how they work with your skins natural processes to rejuvenate, improve and heal your body’s largest organ.

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Lasers and your skin

You probably know that the word LASER is an acronym which stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.

When amplified light is carefully emitted onto skin, it causes tiny controlled wounds. That might sound bad, but it’s actually a way to prompt a natural and normal reaction in your skin: to repair itself and create new skin cells.

It’s in this way that we can use lasers for skin resurfacing, also known as “fractional photothermolysis” or “photo rejuvenation” to reverse wrinkles, spots and other blemishes.

Laser resurfacing procedures have always been performed by a trained doctor as an outpatient procedure. In order to better understand how home laser devices fit into the spectrum of lasers used for skin healing, let me just cover the basics.

Lasers for skin care 101

Here are the two types of laser techniques used for skincare:

  • Ablative lasers penetrate and damage and slough off entire layers of your skin
  • Non-ablative (fractional) lasers penetrate just a fraction of the skin to tighten it and stimulate collagen growth.

As you might guess, ablative lasers give you a quicker and more profound reversal of dark spots and wrinkles.

There are two types.

There are carbon dioxide (CO2) ablative lasers. The recovery or “down time” after this treatment can last from 1-6 months, and unwanted hypopigmentation occurs in up to 20 percent of CO2 laser cases.

There are also Er:YAG (erbium:yttrium-aluminum-garnet) ablative lasers, but these only require a week recovery time.

Non-ablative, or fractional lasers – the kinder, gentler laser – cause tiny sections of damaged skin next to normal skin. Because of that, healing is quite rapid, with a down-time less than a day. But you’ll need 4 to 6 monthly treatments to tighten skin or substantially reverse scars.

This type of laser was approved by the FDA to treat pigmented lesions, hyperpigmentation, acne scars, surgical scars, and for skin resurfacing.

Not to sound like your high school science teacher, but you should know that non-ablative lasers are those with wavelengths in the near-infrared range of 1320 nanometer, 1440 nanometer, and 1540 nanometer. I’ll show you why you’ll want to know this in a minute.

Home devices for skin rejuvenation

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons claimed that in 2012 the average cost of laser skin resurfacing was $2,222 for ablative laser procedures and $1,113 for non-ablative.

Sounds like quite a lot… but what if these procedures could be done in the privacy of your own home at a fraction of the cost?

They can. The first study [1] of non-ablative lasers for daily home use was completed in 2012. The device clearly improved wrinkles around the eyes in 90% of subjects. The most common side effect was redness, which resolved eventually. Other studies confirm that they are extremely safe, with no long-term adverse effects whatsoever. [2]

Safety, efficacy, and tolerability studies sponsored by Tria, the first home-use laser cleared by the FDA, involved 87 female patients age 32-70 years old who were treated at home for color spots, wrinkles around the eyes, and textural irregularities on the face.

Following full face treatments 5 days a week for 12 weeks, the ladies achieved statistically significant improvements in color spots, wrinkles and texture–even 12 weeks after ending treatment.

Fortunately, all side effects such as redness, prickling pains or warm sensations were mild and self-resolved. Satisfaction ranged from 80%-90%, which is what studies report from people who get similar laser procedures done in the office.

Furthermore, Tria’s marketing states that it “…sends targeted beams of light deep within the skin to support natural collagen production the exact same way that the professional treatments do.” Tria claims that after four weeks of daily treatment, participants reports were as follows:

  • 76% saw a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles
  • 87% saw a more youthful and radiant complexion
  • 95% saw smoother skin
  • 92% said it works better than any cream or serum

Tria’s laser device retails for around $495, plus tax—just to show you how affordable this kind of in-home treatment can be.

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Can lasers deliver nutrients to your skin?

We would all love to be able to afford collagen filler and Botox injections, or have our insurance cover it.

Here’s a little secret I learned at the recent dermatology conference.

One presenter disclosed to the audience of physicians that the best combination of all for those who can’t afford the in-office procedures is to use an approved home-use laser device along with cosmeceuticals.

Laser use, combined with your cosmeceutical, increases ingredient absorbency and effectiveness for maximal anti-aging and skin healing–close to what you’d expect from fillers and Botox injections.

Even more way to get healthy younger-looking skin

If needles don’t make you weak in the knees, you may want to consider micro-needle injections to help your cosmeceutical really work for you.

Don’t worry, it shouldn’t hurt. You really don’t inject anything.  A micro needle roller is a device covered with extremely shallow titanium needles—thinner than a human hair. At just $20 for a roller, your purse will also feel no pain (http://microneedlingreview.com/).

Here’s how it works: When lightly rolled over your facial skin in all directions, it causes microscopic tears in your skin, but without bleeding if you do it correctly. This stimulates new collagen and elastin for smoother and tighter skin.

Depending upon your skin you’ll need 0.5mm, 1.0mm or 1.5mm rollers. Right with these treatments you can apply your favorite cosmeceutical ingredients and expect even better skin healing and cosmetic results.

Access to anti-aging tools and procedures is no longer reserved for the wealthy or Hollywood elite. Home laser skin resurfacing devices are now affordable, available and provide nearly the same effect of non-ablative laser treatments administered in a dermatologist’s office. Using a laser or micro-needle home device for enhanced cosmeceutical ingredient penetration into your skin is safe and expected to be optimally effective.

In my next article I’ll talk about some more way to improve the way you look and feel by giving you some effective and affordable fat-reduction treatments I’ve recently learned about.

To feeling good and looking good too,

Michael Cutler, M.D.
Easy Health Options

[1] Leyden J, Stephens TJ, Herndon JH Jr. Multicenter clinical trial of a home-use nonablative fractional laser device for wrinkle reduction. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2012 Nov;67(5):975-84.
[2] Marmon S, Shek SY, Yeung CK, Chan NP, Chan JC, Chan HH.Evaluating the safety and efficacy of the 1,440-nm laser in the treatment of photodamage in Asian skin. Lasers Surg Med. 2014 Jul;46(5):375-9.

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Dr. Michael Cutler

By Dr. Michael Cutler

Dr. Michael Cutler is a graduate of Tulane University School of Medicine and is a board-certified family physician with more than 20 years of experience. He serves as a medical liaison to alternative and traditional practicing physicians. His practice focuses on an integrative solution to health problems. Dr. Cutler is a sought-after speaker and lecturer on experiencing optimum health through natural medicines and founder of the original Easy Health Options™ newsletter — an advisory on natural healing therapies and nutrients. His current practice is San Diego Integrative Medicine, near San Diego, California.