Role of Laser Technology in Cosmetics
Laser technology has currently become an essential part of the lives of people. It stands for Light Amplification through Stimulated Emission of Radiation. For the last few decades, the laser has been applied in various fields among them is in cosmetics. In cosmetic medicine, laser technology was developed alongside other medicinal application of laser that includes different surgeries. For instance, the technology is used in cosmetics to carry out soft tissues and eye surgery. It is also applied in the laser scalpel, laser therapy and different dental applications that include teeth whitening. Ahluwalia (2008) supports that usage of laser technology in cosmetic for treatments purposes has increased tremendously in intrusive and non-intrusive medaesthetic. therefore, it can be being deduced that for a medaesthetic clinic to win a competitive advantage over its rivals in the market it has to update its laser technologies applied on a regular basis. According to Patil and Dhami (2008), removal of the tattoo, hair reduction, acne scars treatments, removing the skin blemishes, for instance, moles and age spots, reduction of wrinkles on the skin and treating vascular lesions are among the primary treatments that are carried out using laser technology in cosmetics.
The present application of the laser technology in cosmetics can broadly be divided into five broad categories that include; unwanted hair, vascular lesions, pigmented lesions and tattoos, skin rejuvenation by ablative and non-ablative laser resurfacing and leg veins and varicose veins (Patil & Dhami 2008).
The procedure of removing unwanted hair using laser technology in cosmetics has proved to be a success over the last decade. The process has been identified by the medical practitioners to be a safe, quick and sure method. The laser technology has indicated that its results in removing unwanted hairs are excellence when compared to physical or electrical therapeutic treatments that were temporal in removing hairs. Patil and Dhami (2008) supports that, for permanent reduction of unwanted hairs in the body, hair root must be destroyed completely. The laser technology, therefore, contributes to a permanent reduction of unwanted hairs by ensuring that it wrecks the hair root. Initially, the laser technology applied shorter wavelengths to reduce hairs because they were realized to have higher affinity to melanin. However, they cannot penetrate to the deeper levels layers of the skin and led to they caused complications like post treatment hyperpigmentation to the darker skin types and epidermal burns. Longer wavelengths are therefore preferred. They are more effective despite the fact that they have a lesser affinity to melanin when compared with shorter wavelength as a result of penetrating deeply to the hair follicles (Ho, Nguyen, Lowe, Griffin, & Lask, 2009).
Vascular lesions, acne, and scars
Laser technology in cosmetics is used in vascular condition to target the vessel walls. The hemoglobin and the water that is contained in the cells of the vessel walls act as the chromophore. The wavelength that ranges from 580 nm and the 590 nm are used in to treat the condition. The new technology that applies pulsed dye laser (PDL) that has a wavelength of 595 nm is currently regarded as the gold standard in cosmetics during the treatment of the vascular lesions condition. Flash lamped pumped dye laser was the first invented technology in the treatment of the port wine stains (PWS). PDL is the most efficient technology used in treating children who suffer from PWS condition. Intense Pulsed Light is also used to treat a range of vascular lesions even the PWS. Laser technology is also employed in cosmetics in the management of acne (Patil & Dhami 2008).
Pigmented lesions and tattoos
Patil and Dhami (2008) explain that melanin absorbs light at a broad range of between 250 nm to 1200 nm. As a result, any laser technology that has the adequate power that can cause thermal denaturation can be applied during the process of removing benign pigmented lesions that are found on the outer layer of the skin. In the deep vascular inner layer of the skin the laser targets the pigmented lesions and the tattoo particles.
The newly introduced picoseconds lasers that are used in dermatologic procedures have been publicly announced as a safe and efficient method of delivering laser energy that is used in various treatments. They provide unique advantages when compared with other laser modalities. The picosecond laser produces almost exclusive photoacoustic results hence it shatters the tissues without heating them. Less energy is required when using the technology. Picosecond lasers technology was developed with the aim of treating pigmented lesions and tattoos. However, with the addition of fractional capabilities, the technology has become versatile (Ho et al., 2009).
Skin rejuvenation by ablative and non-ablative laser resurfacing
According to Patil and Dhami (2008), resurfacing Laser technology was introduced with the aim of using it in tightening the tissues for rhytides and tightening for wrinkles. The technique is also used in performing other cosmetic functions like skin lightening after the effects of superficial sun damages dyschromia, removing the chicken pox scars and actinic keratosis. Ablative surfacing laser with CO2 that had a wavelength of 10,600 nm was used in cosmetic during the mid-1990s in Plastic Surgeon’s armamentarium. The technique had significant side effects when applied inappropriately, and they diluted its effectiveness. Er: YAG (2940 nm) laser was introduced to solve the side effects issues. It is implemented in cosmetic for the lightening of skin and leveling. Application of ablative lasers caused a major downtime of few weeks to months to treat the aging skin. It causes a remarkable improvement in the overall skin quality. Non-ablative lasers resurfacing is the most current technology of treating aging skins and textual irregularities. The technology has played a significant role in removing the downtime for the individuals undergoing treatment (Ahluwalia, 2008).
Leg veins and varicose veins
During the treatment of varicose veins, external lasers cannot be used to deliver adequate energy. However, lasers are used as a source of energy during the endovenous procedures. It is used in absorbing water and blood that could have accumulated in the cells of vein wall causing it to close (Patil & Dhami, 2008).
Laser technology contributes significantly in cosmetics in the current period. The technology is used to address different skin conditions and aging skin that causes irregular appearances in the bodies of the patients. The technology is, therefore, unavoidable in a cosmetic to meet various needs of the patients that concern their skin conditions. It is, however, essential for the users to understand the technology to avoid adverse side effects that could result from mishandling it.
Ahluwalia, G. Cosmetics Applications of Laser & Light-Based Systems. William Andrew, Norwich, NY. 2008. P. 135-147.
Ho, C., Nguyen, Q., Lowe, N. J., Griffin, M. E., & Lask, G. Laser resurfacing in pigmented skin. Dermatologic surgery. 2009; 21(12):1035-1037.
Patil, U. A. & Dhami, L. D. Overview of lasers. Indian journal of plastic surgery: official publication of the Association of Plastic Surgeons of India, 2008; 41(1): 101-113.