The Ultimate Guide to Lasers and How to Find the Right One For You
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Real talk: just about every skin-care treatment, from at-home exfoliating treatments to in-office facials, pale in comparison to a good laser treatment. Lasers have the ability treat nearly skin concern you can can imagine, like broken capillaries and rosacea, hyperpigmentation and skin texture — even unwanted hair. To put it simply, lasers are going to give you the best results and will be the most effective for long-term solves.
So what exactly is a laser? Lasers are tools that have one wavelength of light. In the skin-care world, there are multiple types of lasers available in an array of wavelengths, each serving a different function. There are two main groups of lasers used for skin rejuvenation: ablative and non-ablative.
An ablative laser vaporizes small columns of skin from the exterior in, meaning all skin layers are affected. Non-ablative lasers and energy-based devices target deeper structures and spare the skin's surface. An ablative laser generally requires more downtime — so prepare to be turning off your camera on Zoom meetings for anywhere from one week to a month.
Lasers are not magic wands: they come with some side effects and recovery time, so make sure you are choosing a laser that is compatible with your skin tone and type.
The first thing you should consider when choosing a laser treatment are your goals. Do you hope to eliminate dark spots, treat wrinkles, or get rid of unwanted hair? Then, do your research and talk to your board-certified dermatologist (you don't want to skimp on the professional when it comes to lasers). Lasers are not magic wands: they come with some side effects and recovery time. Plus, every skin tone and type is different, so make sure you are choosing a laser that is compatible with yours.
To make sense of all of this information, we've rounded up the most popular types of lasers and explain what to know before you go, what it feels like during the treatment, and how to deal with the recovery.
— Additional reporting by Aviel Kanter