The word laser stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. In 1960, Theodore H. Maiman built the first working laser based on the work of Charles Townes, Arthur Schawlow, Gordon Gould, and of course, Albert Einstein. Since then, lasers have been used to create fiber-optics, Cd’s, DVD’s, bar code readers, cancer treatments, navigation for aircraft, as well used to other innovations in science and medicine. It is no wonder that the laser is recognized in the top ten technological achievements of the last century. While its advances in entertainment and the medical field are fascinating, it is interesting to note that you can use lasers cosmetically. Read on to learn about the top cosmetic uses for lasers.
Laser Hair Removal
One of the most well known use of lasers is laser hair removal. Laser hair removal can get rid of 70-90% of body hair over the course of 8-12 treatments. Most people use laser hair removal to minimize hair on the back, bikini line, legs, chest, underarms, upper lip and neck. However, not everyone is a good candidate for hair removal, as it does not work as well on blonde, red, or grey hair.
Lasik is also a very popular laser treatment with nearly 600,000 procedures a year. Lasik eye surgery can permanently correct vision problems, making many parts of life much easier. A laser is shone into the eye, cutting a small flap. The doctor then uses a second laser to remodel the corneal stroma, fixing the vision problems. The flap is then carefully re-positioned. Not everyone is a candidate for lasik, as those with a severe astigmatism or those who have a changing prescription should not get the procedure.
Laser Teeth Whitening
A fairly new tooth whitening procedure is laser tooth whitening. A paste of hydrogen peroxide and other active ingredients is painted on the teeth, and then the mouth is exposed to a strong laser that speeds up the whitening process. Patients can see results up to eight shades lighter in one visit. This is the fastest but most expensive form of tooth whitening.
Laser Skin Resurfacing
Laser skin resurfacing is a common cosmetic treatment used to remove wrinkles, stretch marks, scarring, etc. Beams of light are shone on the skin, carefully removing damaged skin layer by layer so that new skin can regrow in it’s place. Not everyone is a good candidate, so it is important to talk to your plastic surgeon or dermatologist for a full evaluation.
When most people pair lasers and hair, they immediately think about laser hair removal, but lasers can also be used to regrow hair. Low Level Light Therapy is a treatment method where a patient is exposed to a gentle laser over time, stimulating cell repair and hair growth (if you would like to learn more about hair restoration options check out this blog).
Vascular Lesions Laser Treatment
Lasers are a popular treatment for spider and varicose veins and port-wine birthmarks. The most common treatment is the Pulsed Dye Laser (PDL). A laser is concentrated on the targeted area, destroying the blood vessels causing the lesions but leaving the surrounded skin unaffected.
Some dentists use lasers to drill cavities rather than a traditional drill. It is painless (in most cases), and it doesn’t sound or smell as repulsive as an electrical drill. Lasers are pulsed into the decayed area, heating water molecules in the tooth, that then expand and dislodge tooth decay. Once the area is cleaned and disinfected, the dentist will then put filling material into the tooth to seal it off. A laser drill is much more expensive than a traditional drill, and there has not been much research surrounding laser cavity removal, so not many dentists have made the switch.
Laser Fat Reduction
Procedures such as lip laser and Zerona laser use a low intensity laser to target fat stores in the body. The lasers convert the fat stores into energy, that is then burned off through exercise post-treatment.
Darci Maxwell is a walking contradiction, and she loves it. You are just as likely to find her outside tearing up a mountain as you are to discover her curled up at home with a steamy cup of herbal tea watching Dr. Who. She is terrified of heights, yet she is the first one to run to the edge and marvel at the spellbinding sight. As an introverted extrovert, writing is her favorite way to connect with many people while still enjoying the comforts of her own home. Her favorite quote is “Here’s to the movers, the shakers, and the mischief-makers.”