The Truth About Laser Treatments for Your Skin

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If you’re into skincare, chances are you’ve heard about laser treatments. Dermatologists and folks in the know say lasers can tackle practically any complaint you may have about your skin. We dove into the science of laser treatments to find out what they do and how they work.

Read on for a crash course in laser treatments, from the wow-worthy results to some real talk about the possible side effects.

There are many different types of lasers to target different skin concerns.

Different types of lasers target different skin issues, including everything from brown spots to stretch marks to rosacea. Lasers can also tackle acne scarring, wrinkles, and tattoo removal.

Lasers don’t require much follow-up after treatment.

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You might have a series of sessions spaced over time to complete your treatment, but once they’re done, you won’t need much follow-up with your provider.

Try a resurfacing laser for all-over skin rejuvenation.

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A resurfacing laser like the Fraxel Dual will stimulate the production of collagen and elastin, leaving you with smoother and younger-looking skin. The Fraxel treats brown spots as well as deeper wrinkles, and can also help with acne scarring.

But it’s not cheap.

You can expect to spend around $500 for cheeks, or $1,000 for a full face treatment. It may take three to five sessions to see your desired results.

How does it work?

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A resurfacing laser directs short, concentrated beams of light at the skin. This removes areas of the skin layer by layer. On the next page, learn about a type of laser that helps combat redness.

To target redness, go for a vascular laser.

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Vascular lasers help with redness caused by broken blood vessels, rosacea, and other issues. A KTP laser can also be used on more stubborn spots.

How much will a vascular laser treatment set you back?

This type of treatment should cost $400 to $600. If you have rosacea, it may take two to three sessions to see a difference. Side effects may include pink, “sunburnt” skin and bruising.

Dying to get rid of an embarrassing tattoo?

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There’s a laser for that. The tattoo laser is particularly good at targeting brown areas, but it might have a harder time tackling newer tattoos, as well as colors like green, yellow, and blue. This type of laser can also be used to get rid of age spots.

Start saving your pennies.

Tattoo removal can cost $150 to $400 per session. To remove a large tattoo, you may need up to 25 sessions.

Laser treatment can’t get rid of a scar completely.

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The treatment can make a scar less noticeable, but it won’t erase it completely. Next, the truth about laser hair removal.

Get rid of unwanted body hair.

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Target pesky hair on your underarms, bikini line, or legs with a hair-removal laser. These lasers have traditionally worked best on people with fair skin and dark hair, but technologies are advancing. If you have a medium to dark skin tone, be sure your technician is well versed on the proper laser to use.

Curious about the cost?

Laser hair removal will cost around $200 to $400 per session. You’ll have to do multiple sessions to see results.

Be sure to do your research.

Professionals recommend that you see a medical doctor if you’re getting vascular or resurfacing lasers. For laser hair removal, make sure to vet the facility and technicians.

Stay out of the sun after your treatment.

The pros say you should not get a laser treatment on top of an active tan (this may increase your chances of hyperpigmentation). And once you get it done, you should stay out of the sun as well, so fall and winter are the best times to go for it.

Heads up: it’s going to hurt.

Laser treatments can be painful, especially on the face and neck. Dermatologists can provide a numbing cream beforehand and ice after—and it goes by quicker than you’d think! On the next page, some important things to know before you take the plunge and get a laser treatment.

Make sure to let the technician know about your medical history and medications.

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Certain conditions like diabetes can affect how your skin reacts to laser treatments. Also, certain medications like Accutane can make it more difficult for your skin to heal afterward.

You may need a few weeks to heal.

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If you get an ablative laser treatment (meaning some outer layers of the skin are removed), you may have a two- to three-week healing process. The skin may be raw and red, and you’ll have to avoid certain activities like swimming and working out.

Take care of your skin afterward.

Be sure to wear sunscreen every day and limit your time in the sun. Keep your skin well moisturized as well.

Are there potential side effects?

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There’s a risk of burns or injuries from the heat of the laser, scarring, changes in the skin’s pigmentation, and bacterial infection. It’s important to pick a reputable provider to minimize your risk.

Will my medical insurance cover the treatment?

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You’re most likely on your own for this one. Since laser treatments are considered cosmetic procedures, chances are your insurance won’t pay for them. Be sure to share this article on Facebook with all your skincare-obsessed friends!