Many people have questions about laser skin treatments and want answers from an expert. Read below to find board-certified dermatologist Dr. Melda Isaac’s answers to the most frequently asked questions about the best laser skin treatments at her Washington, D.C., practice.
Q: What is the best treatment for acne scars?
A: While the best treatment will depend on the extent, type, and location of the scars, some of the most effective treatment options are laser skin resurfacing, chemical peels, and microneedling. Treatment for acne scars can be tricky and often requires a combination approach. It is difficult to completely eliminate acne scars, but significant reduction is definitely possible. An in-person consultation to evaluate your condition and discuss your choices is necessary in order to come up with the best customized treatment plan.
Q: Is IPL safe to use on ethnic or darker skin?
A: Ethnic or darker skin, even suntanned skin, is more challenging to treat. Performing test spots (small areas of skin on which the laser is tested) to determine how your skin will react to the laser is a good way to ensure safety and efficacy with your light based treatment.
Q: How long do I need to wait before having my second CO2 fractional laser?
A: Fractional CO2 lasers such as Active FX and Deep FX stimulate collagen and elastin production in the deep layers of the skin. With this innovative technique, the collagen production doesn’t stop after the treatment. Collagen production continues well after the treatment has finished, so you will continue to see improvement in your skin for months afterward. It generally takes at least 6 months for the full effects of collagen to occur and I have found continued improvement for up to 2 years. I typically recommend waiting 6 months before having a second fractional laser treatment, unless a mild treatment was performed.
Q: How can I tighten sagging skin without surgery?
A: Ultherapy®, INFINI®, and Pelleve® are safe, effective, non-invasive skin tightening treatments. Keep in mind that any non-invasive skin tightening procedure will not be as effective as surgery. Nearly all non-surgical skin tightening procedures require multiple treatments to achieve maximum results.
Q: Can I get microdermabrasion and an IPL photofacial in the same month?
A: Photofacials and microdermabrasion are skin rejuvenation treatment options that improve the appearance of discolored and aging skin. Both procedures are minimally invasive, induce few side effects and can be completed in under an hour. Additionally, the two procedures can be used together to enhance their overall effects. Both procedures increase the production of the structural protein collagen, which helps to slow the development of wrinkles.
Q: I want to get Fraxel® done on my belly because I have stretch marks everywhere. Is this is a good thing to do?
A: Fraxel will not completely remove the stretch marks, but it will lessen their appearance, depending on the number of treatments needed. However, it’s also important to know that though Fraxel will treat the scarring, it will not tighten any loose skin.
Watch Our Fraxel for Stretch Marks Video
Q: I want to have Fraxel to rejuvenate my skin, but I also need injectable fillers for smile lines, and to restore volume to my cheekbones and under my eyes. Which should I do first?
A: It is controversial whether or not the heat from lasers and devices accelerate the breakdown of fillers. From my experience, it is best to have fillers injected after you complete your Fraxel treatment. I typically tell my patients to wait 1 to 2 weeks after fillers are injected before having Fraxel or other treatments that drive heat into the skin. Radiofrequency and ultrasound devices for skin tightening deliver heat more deeply into the skin than Fraxel laser, so I suggest waiting 2 weeks after filler placement before undergoing these treatments. I do not hesitate to treat with Botox on the same day as any laser treatment.
Q: Are laser skin treatments safe?
A: Lasers are very safe and effective treatments for many common skin conditions when performed by a highly trained and experienced laser expert like Dr. Melda Isaac. It takes great skill and expertise to perform laser treatments correctly. Patients should only seek laser treatments from a board-certified dermatologist who has years of successfully treating patients with lasers.
Q: How many laser hair removal treatments will I need to see full results?
A: The number of laser hair removal treatments needed may vary from patient to patient depending on a variety of factors including hair density, treatment area, and color. On average, most patients will need at least five treatment sessions at regular consistent time intervals such as once per month for optimal results. With each session, patients can see an improvement in progress as the hair is prevented from growing. Your dermatologist will be able to give you a realistic idea of how many sessions will be required to see the most ideal results.
Q: What are the side effects from laser hair removal?
A: Possible side effects from laser hair removal include:
- Hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin)
- Hypopigmentation (lightening of the skin)
- Paradoxical hair growth (increased hair growth in treated areas)
These side effects can be significantly minimized if treatment is performed in a medical office that routinely performs laser hair removal.
Q: Which laser is recommended to treat early signs of skin cancer?
A: Sun damage, early signs of skin cancer, and pre-cancerous lesions can all be treated using photodynamic therapy (PDT). These light therapy treatments destroy the pre-cancerous lesions without damaging the surrounding skin. If you detect any signs of skin cancer, it is best to see your dermatologist immediately!
Q: What areas of the body can be treated with an Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) photofacial?
A: IPL photofacials can be used to treat a variety of common skin problems on several areas of the body including the legs, back, arms, hands, chest, neck, and face.
Q: What is the typical downtime after a Fraxel laser treatment?
A: After a Fraxel laser treatment, most patients need only 48-72 hours for their skin to completely heal from the procedure making it one of the most popular treatments in Dr. Isaac’s office.
Q: Is photodynamic therapy for acne safe during pregnancy?
A: Photodynamic therapy (PDT) is not recommended during pregnancy or breast feeding given that the safety profile based upon clinical trials has not yet been clearly established. It is best to wait until after your pregnancy to determine whether PDT is a good treatment for you.
Schedule a Laser Treatment Consultation Today!
Since Dr. Isaac owns numerous lasers and devices to treat all skin types and numerous concerns, schedule a laser treatment consultation at MI Skin Dermatology in Washington, D.C., to find out which laser is best to treat your concerns. For more information on the best laser treatments call Dr. Melda Isaac at (202) 393-7546 today!
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