LaserPain Post-operative pain generally is not as intense as the pain you experience during the actual laser skin procedure. Topical anesthetics may be applied to your skin before a cosmetic laser treatment to minimize as much pain as possible. However, you can still feel discomfort after the procedure. For more invasive laser skin treatments, your doctor may prescribe prescription pain medication. The mental waiting for your skin to heal may be more more painful than the actual procedure. Redness, Swelling, and/or Itching This is a very common side effect of laser skin treatments. Traditional ablative lasers physically vaporize the top layer of your skin, leaving it red and raw for months until it healed on its own. Non-ablative lasers while less intensive claim to have no downtime, but facial redness (erythema), swelling, and even itching are common post-laser side effects. These symptoms will usually subside after a few days, though pink, sensitive skin may linger for many weeks or months later. Sensitivity to the Sun, Heat, and substances - as well as Increased Risk of Photodamage In a rudimentary sense, cosmetic lasers heat up and damage your skin to encourage it to heal. It is no wonder that laser skin treatments will make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Post-laser treatment, it is extremely important to stay out of the sun during peak hours and use sunscreens. You don't want to induce more photodamage when your skin is already sensitive. Changes in skin pigmentation Not every skin type can safely have laser treatments. In general, cosmetic lasers work better on people with lighter skin tones than on people with darker skin tones. All variations of skin tones have a risk of hypo-pigmentation (lightening of the skin) or hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin). Asian skin is particularly prone to hyperpigmentation, especially with high strength or deeply penetrating cosmetic lasers. In some cases, the laser treated hyperpigmentation spots will DARKEN before they get lighter. Bruising Bruising can be one of the side-effects. More commonly found in areas treated with pulsed dye lasers. The treated areas can develop purpura, or purple spots in the skin where blood vessels leak under the skin. The bruising usually fades on its own; however, the resolution may possibly be sped up with the use of KTP lasers. Demarcation line Lasers may cause a line of demarcation between the laser treated area and your untreated skin. The most common areas where this occurs are around the eyes, lips, and jaw line. This is due to the laser causing dyspigmentation/loss of pigment. There are NO corrective measures, or ways to reverse this except for having more laser treatments, or using makeup to cover the affected areas. Risks of Blistering, Swelling, Redness, Scabbing, Crusting, and Infection These side effects can range from moderate to severe. Often seen in light therapies such as IPL, the treated area may swell and feel like a severe sunburn. There is always the risk of scabbing post-laser treatment. If this occurs, there is the added risk of infection. Never pick at scabs and contact your doctor, as he/she may want to prescribe antibiotics if necessary. Scarring It is ironic that lasers are sometimes used to treat scars and pigmentation, and yet, they can cause more scarring and pigmentation (or pigmentation loss). Any kind of treatment that "damages your skin to make it better," may carry a risk of scarring. Persons who have a history of scarring or raised scars called keloids, or those that pigment with anything inflammatory affecting the skin, should very carefully weigh the risks and benefits of laser treatments. Even if you have never had a history of scarring or pigment loss, there is always a risk. Recurrence of the skin issue It usually takes more than one laser skin treatment to get your desired results. Even after multiple treatments, some skin conditions will come recur. This is commonly seen with cosmetic lasers used to treat vascular lesions and remove hair. Lasers can ablate or destroy the blood vessels, but laser treatments will not prevent your skin from growing more new blood vessels. Acne Breakouts, Milia, Congestion, and Clogged Pores Some people experience breakouts and milia, as well as congestion post-treatment. Lasers cause inflammation and this may stimulate or aggravate these problems. In general, you should not get laser treatments if you have active acne or irritated skin. While some cosmetic lasers claim to treat acne, the changes seen are generally in the acne marks and scars, but not in the alleviation of the active acne itself. Milia are little congested 'pearls' under the skin which are not easy to remove at home and may require professional removal.
RadioFrequency/IPL (Pulsed Light)Radiofrequency (RF) works similar to the way your microwave oven reheats food. RF energy acts on your tissue to induce heat. Pulsed light treatments work by converting light to heat in your tissue. The goal is to control the heating to be “just enough” to stimulate “good” tightening of your tissues. Just as there are hot and cool spots in microwave cooking, RF energy can affect tissue differently in different people. Compared to other skin tightening treatments, the major difference for light and RF is that the epidermis or outer skin layer is not usually damaged, but the radiofrequency energy or light energy heats the deeper skin layers during the treatment. Fat loss, especially facial fat loss, is more common with radiofrequency treatments. Due to the risk of permanent tissue damage, the indications for radiofrequency interventions should be made carefully. Potential contraindications should be considered and written informed consent about all possible side effects and risk factors should be obtained. According to current knowledge, the experience of the physician using radiofrequency devices is most important in determining the outcome of this procedure. Therefore the use of radiofrequency therapy requires extensive training. Because radiofrequency 'melts' fat cells, many people have experienced a gaunter looking face post-op. One my also experience divots, or pocketed areas of fat loss. For severe cases, fat-grafting can be performed to help fill those areas.
Fat 'Removal' and Body Slimming Lipo-Cavitation TreatmentsIntense, focused, deep-penetrating ultrasound waves go through the epidermis and the dermis (live tissue) and targets the lowest level: your fat. Similar to a microwave oven, this procedure heats up and 'liquifies' body fat (lipolysis) with the intention of the body recognizing the liquid fat as waste, and slowly removes via the lymph glands. Be aware: any lymph nodes that have been damaged or destroyed, do not regenerate. Low ultrasound frequency between 35-42 KHz, and lower frequencies as 30 KHz could go deeper and damage your abdominal muscle wall or irritation to internal organs. Who is performing the therapy, and is he or she under medical supervision? How much experience has the operator had?
UltherapyBriefly, ultherapy sends sound waves into the live dermis causing a controlled inflammation under the premise that this 'stimulation' will increase collagen production. Sometimes, the benefits take several months to realize. Be aware that Ultherapy may be 'contraindicated if you experience/not for use over/or is not tested in' the following conditions:
- active, severe, or cystic acne
- open wounds or lesions
- metal stents in the treatment area
- implanted medical devices
- pregnancy and lactation
- Bell's palsy
- active local skin diseases
- herpes or cold sores
- easy to bruise
- easy to inflame
- slow to heal
- had recent injections of Botox, Dysport, Juviderm, Sculptra, etc.
- recent facial surgery
- recent Accutane use
- recent chemical peels
- recent dermaplaning
- recent microdermabrasion/dermafile treatments
- are taking some medications
- erythema (redness)
- Direct Quote from an Ultherapy brochure:
A non-invasive Ultherapy treatment is not intended to produce the same results as an invasive surgical procedure. As with any medical procedure, there are possible risks associated with treatment. There is a remote risk of a burn that may or may not lead to scarring, which will respond to medical care, or temporary nerve injury, which will resolve in a matter of weeks.