Lasers have been around for quite some time, and although they’re pinned as the go-to treatment for dark spots, redness and wrinkles, they are a thing of many off-the-radar talents.
“Due to mask wear, our faces are no longer the center of attention and our vision is now drawn to exposed areas like the neck, especially when it’s discolored,” says Miami dermatologist Annie Gonzalez, MD. “IPL—Intense Pulsed Light—is excellent for generalized photorejuvenation of the neck, as it can help diminish the appearance of liver spots, redness and broken capillaries, which are commonly referred to in medicine as ‘poikiloderma of Civatte.’
“ We often treat hairs on the toe and breast areas with a diode laser, as women can be very self-conscious about hairs in these locations.”
“Many post-mastectomy patients want a laser treatment to improve the appearance of their scars,” says Davie, FL dermatologist Marianna Blyumin-Karasik, MD. “For a scar on lighter skin, we can treat it with a Vbeam laser; on darker skin, we can treat scars with the PicoWay laser. I also like to blend the scar in with the surrounding skin by using a fractional CO2 laser.”
“As we all know, it’s important to wear our mask, but the rubbing from the cloth mask combined with the heat of our breath can cause our capillaries to expand, especially on the bridge of the nose where the most irritation occurs,” says Pittsburgh plastic surgeon Leo R. McCafferty, MD and his clinical aesthetician Jennifer Derry. “We use IPL in order to treat this area—you can see results in as little as one treatment, which really makes patients happy.”
According to Nanuet, NY dermatologist Heidi Waldorf, MD, combining lasers with other body-focused treatments can offer life-changing results. “Nowadays, we can maximize the efficacy of lasers by combining simultaneous or sequential treatments with energy-based devices like radio frequency or focused ultrasound for tightening, cryolipolysis for fat reduction, or injectables for adding volume or encouraging biostimulation.
“I treat brown spots on the hands and feet very frequently,” says Prospect, KY dermatologist Tami Buss Cassis, MD, adding that these pesky patches often arise from a lack of applying sunscreen. “We use IPL to treat this, but the most important route of prevention is staying out of the sun and keeping skin hydrated. My favorite hydrating body cream is Avène XeraCalm ($34).”
“When people were stuck at home, they were noticing more imperfections. That’s why we’ve seen a major uptickin people coming in and asking for a laser treatment.”
“The diode laser, which can be accompanied with pain-reducing methods, works very well for hair reduction,” says Eugene, OR plastic surgeon Mark Jewell, MD. “The advances in this specific laser technology enable it to be performed comfortably and quickly compared to treatments of the past. A session used to be long and uncomfortable because the size of the laser head was small, and now, a man, for example, can come in to get his full back lasered without much pain or discomfort.”
“After a cancer patient gets radiation therapy, their skin tends to look really thin and almost translucent, which means their blood vessels and veins are much more visible on the skin,” says Dr. Blyumin-Karasik. “We can address this with a series of Vbeam laser treatments, which help remove the prominent discoloration from the radiation and leave the patient with more attractive-looking, even skin.
While the FDA stresses “improved evidence is needed regarding the safety and effectiveness of health technologies in clinical areas that are unique to women,” using CO2 lasers inside the vaginal walls may help boost collagen, which New York gynecologist Carolyn Delucia, MD says improves urinary incontinence. “This also tightens and constricts the vagina, potentially increasing sexual pleasure,” adds Johns Creek, GA plastic surgeon Myla Bennett, MD.
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