Laser Skin Resurfacing
Sun spots, also called age spots, are brown spots that form on the skin surface. They are caused by over exposure to the sun. Sun spots appear on the face, neck, forearm and other exposed areas of the body. They usually appear with increasing age.
Retin-A, trichloroacetic acid (TCA), and glycolic acids are usually effective in treating a few small lesions. These creams can sometimes cause irritation and redness of the skin.
Seborrheic keratoses and skin tags are difficult to treat. Seborrheic keratoses are waxy brown bumps that occur on the chest, face and back. Skin tags are tiny, annoying, hanging pieces of skin that occur on the neck, back and underarms. These spots are resistant to treatment and are difficult to treat, however, they can be effectively treated with laser therapy. The Nd: YAG laser is a new type of laser for removal of skin spots and marks. It usually works on all types of skin, even on tanned or darker skin.. Nd: YAG Lasers are much more precise and less damaging to the skin than some other types of lasers. There is also less pain and less time required to recover. The Nd: YAG laser is used to treat brown marks and age spots.
EMLA topical cream is applied to numb the area to be treated before the procedure to minimize discomfort. Local injections can be used if necessary. The Q-switched Nd: YAG (neodymium: yttrium-aluminum-garnet) has an affinity for brown discoloration on the skin. The light from the laser passes harmlessly through the top layer of the skin. When the light hits the brown pigment cells energy is released. The released energy causes the melanosomes in the cells to break into many smaller pieces which is then removed by the body’s immune system. Each pulse of laser light feels like the sting of a rubber band snapping on the skin. Some pin point bleeding may be noticed but will usually resolve during the night. The treated spots initially turn grey and within minutes form a superficial brown crust. Over the next few days the crust will slough off and the skin underneath will be pink. Later it fades to the color of the surrounding skin over the course of 2 to 3 weeks.
The common side effects with laser treatment include scarring, blistering or bruising. Scarring is common whereas the other side effects are rare.
Laser treatment is indicated in various conditions including laser hair removal, inflammatory skin conditions, and removal of tattoos.
- Avoid sun exposure before and during treatment.
- Avoid picking and scratching the site of treatment.