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Laser skin lightening (or skin whitening) is a medical procedure that utilizes short pulses of concentrated light to remove undesirable-looking areas of skin. The process encourages the growth of fresh skin cells. This ultimately has a lightening effect on the skin.
This type of skin lightening treatment is good for removing acne scars, liver spots, and other blemishes as well. It can also reduce wrinkles and is effective for alleviating uneven skin tones and other hyperpigmentation problems.
As with most kinds on medical skin lightening procedures, Laser skin lightening as its pros and cons.
History of Laser Skin Lightening
Laser skin lightening treatments became popular in the early 1980s when carbon dioxide lasers first became available. Unfortunately, it was quickly discovered these lasers caused a number of harmful side effects so the system had to be modified.
The original lasers were superseded by updated technology capable of delivering a rapid pulse of light to the skin in a more controlled way.
There are presently four types of skin lightening procedure.
1. Ablative Laser Resurfacing
Ablative laser resurfacing is a procedure that involves the updated lasers that deliver short pulses of light to the skin. To this day, it’s still the most effective laser skin lightening technique.
Ablative laser resurfacing is a one-time treatment that removes the uppermost layers of the skin. Part of the sub-layers beneath are removed as well by vaporizing the tissue.
Although it’s the most effective type of skin whitening surgery, there can still be side effects.
2. Non-Ablative Laser Resurfacing
This procedure works a little differently. Non-ablative lasers are capable of penetrating the skin without harming the top surface.
The lasers curdle the area of skin tissue being treated and, because the surface of the skin is unharmed, the affected tissue heals more quickly than with ablative laser treatments.
Although this type of surgery has a faster recovery rate, several treatments are often necessary.
3. Fractional Skin Resurfacing
Fractional skin resurfacing is a form of hybrid procedure that involves a combination of ablative and non-ablative techniques. It’s a very efficient form of surgery that can deliver good results with a relatively short recovery time.
The laser directs microbeams of energy to the target tissue. The beams work on the surface of the skin and the tissue below.
Although fractional skin resurfacing is not as good as ablative laser resurfacing, it still encourages the body to replace the treated tissue, helping to provide younger, healthier-looking skin.
4. IPL Laser Skin Resurfacing
IPL Laser Skin Resurfacing treats the skin with multiple wavelengths of light. Surgeons performing the procedure can alternate between different wavelengths. This makes it possible to work on different skin types and target the tissue on different layers.
Laser Skin Whitening Advantages
Laser skin whitening treatments offer several advantages that make them an attractive option.
A lot of skin whitening treatments take weeks before there are any noticeable changes to the skin. Laser skin whitening works a lot faster and it’s possible to see visible changes straight away.
Directly after the treatment, the skin looks brighter and more radiant and continues to improve progressively as the skin heals.
There are lots of skin whitening products available. The market is saturated and new products are becoming available all the time. Regardless of how good the best of them are, they are still not as good as laser skin lightening surgery. It’s the most effective way to make lasting improvements to the skin.
Laser treatments also work for many other skin problems such as blemishes, fine lines, and wrinkles. It has a level of versatility many of the other options do not.
The other advantage with laser skin whitening is the entire treatment is supervised by a medical professional from start to finish. Prior to the procedure, the cosmetic surgeon will also offer advice on which treatment is best for you and make sure you understand everything the procedure entails.
The Disadvantages of Laser Skin Lightening
Most things have a flip-side. Laser skin whitening is no exception. One of the main disadvantages is the price. It’s one of the costliest skin lightening treatments there is and can sometimes entail a total spend of up to $3,500.
Even a one-off minor procedure generally costs around $200.
Laser skin lightening can also entail a lot of unpleasant side effects. This is one of the main reasons so many individuals choose to use a good-quality skin-whitening product instead.
The most common skin lightening side effects include:
- Redness and inflammation around the treated area (often for prolonged periods of time)
- Blistering and scarring of the skin
- Scabbing of the skin
- Cold sore reactivation
- Undesirable changes in skin pigmentation
- Turning of the eyelid after aggressive treatment
- Tightness and discomfort around the treated area
- Various types of infection
Because the lasers disrupt the normal cell structure beneath the skin, it’s possible the cells responsible for producing melanin may sustain damage as well. This can entail undesirable consequences.
When there is damage to the cells that produce melanin (skin pigment), they may begin producing more melanin than normal. This will make the skin become darker.
The damaged cells may also stop producing sufficient quantities of the pigment, causing the skin to become unusually white.
Laser skin whitening certainly works. Procedures of this type can be very good for quickly providing the younger, whiter, healthier-looking skin people desire. They are equally good for tackling problems with blemishes and other discolorations of the skin.
However, the cost of the treatments can be prohibitively expensive. The possibility of side effects is also an issue that bears careful consideration before undergoing this type of skin lightening procedure. There are alternatives that are more purse-friendly and do not present the same risk of negative issues.
Granted, even the best skin whitening treatments are likely to be a little slower than being zapped by a laser but they can still help you get your skin looking the way you want it to be.