Category Archives: Aesthetic Skincare

Understanding Laser Acne Therapy

laser acne therapy

American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) data shows that acne affects 50 million Americans every year, making it the most prevalent skin condition. Although the condition usually affects adolescents and young adults (85% of sufferers are between 12 and 24 years), the condition can affect anyone and continue into 30-40 years and beyond. In fact, acne occurrence has increased among adults. Currently, 15% of adult women are affected by acne.

The importance of effective treatment can’t, therefore, be overlooked. Most acne treatments in the past have had significant drawbacks such as bacterial resistance, systemic toxicities, patient compliance, among other factors covered in many studies. Laser therapy is currently the most viable alternative for individuals who don’t desire or aren’t able to use topical/systemic formulations. The treatment has been used effectively on its own and alongside other therapies in the treatment of acne.

What is laser therapy?

Laser therapy uses light (from a laser). The medical treatment uses light tuned to a specific wavelength resulting in a powerful beam. In medicine, laser therapy allows medical practitioners to have high precision levels in small areas resulting in less damage to surrounding tissue.

Laser therapy is an established option in the treatment of acne. The 532nm potassium titanyl phosphate, 585 & 595 pulsed dyer, 1450nm diode, and 1540nm erbium glass lasers have been used to treat acne with variable efficacy.

How does laser acne therapy work?

Laser acne therapy works by scarring. The heat emitted by the laser removes the upper layer of the skin scarred by acne. When this layer peels off, the acne scarring becomes less noticeable. The skin also appears smoother.

While scar tissue breaks down, the light and heat from the laser also encourage the growth of new healthy skin cells. The treatment draws blood flow to the area. At the same time, inflammation decreases as blood vessels in the scar tissue are targeted. All the above make acne scars less raised. They also have little color giving them a less noticeable appearance.

How is laser acne therapy done?

Some of the most common lasers used to treat acne are pulsed-dyer lasers, erbium YAG lasers, and carbon dioxide lasers. Different lasers target acne scaring in unique ways. The treatment procedure can be categorized as follows:

Ablative laser resurfacing: This treatment method uses carbon dioxide or erbium YAG lasers. Ablative laser resurfacing focuses on removing the entire top skin layer of the acne-scared area. The treatment takes 3-10 days before the target area starts recovering (decrease redness) from laser action.

Non-ablative laser resurfacing: This treatment method uses infrared lasers. The heat from the laser works by stimulating collagen production. Infrared laser heat also encourages the growth of new cells to replace scarred tissue.

Fractionated laser treatment: This treatment method utilizes fractional lasers to stimulate tissue below acne scarring to remove dark-pigmented cells under the top skin layer.

Treatment procedure

Preparation

Before receiving laser acne treatment, you need to prepare for the treatment. Preparation includes avoiding certain skincare products, medicines, supplements, and products like cigarettes that may lower skin tolerance to treatment or increase severe side effect risks. You shouldn’t smoke, take blood-thinning supplements, aspirin, or use skin care products for two weeks prior to receiving treatment.

Treatment day

On treatment day, your doctor will begin by applying a topical anesthetic on the treatment area to reduce pain. The topical anesthetic also boosts comfort during the procedure. Pain killers or sedatives can be used if the treatment area is large.

The treatment area is then cleaned to remove dirt and any excess oil. Laser treatment begins around the treatment area slowly. Laser acne therapy ends when the doctor has worked on the entire treatment area and dressed you accordingly to protect the skin.

Pros of laser acne therapy

There are many benefits of laser acne therapy. The most notable include:

  • Anti-inflammation benefits: Laser acne therapy produces an anti-edemic effect by triggering vasodilation. The effect also results from lymphatic drainage system activation, which drains swollen areas.
  • Painless treatment: Laser therapy has beneficial effects on nerve cells responsible for blocking pain. The therapy decreases nerve sensitivity resulting in less pain and swelling.
  • Increased cell growth and tissue repair: Photons of light emitted by lasers penetrate skin tissue accelerating cellular production and growth. The light boosts energy available to target cells making the cells eliminate waste and absorb nutrients faster.
  • Boosts metabolism: Laser therapy is known to boost the output of certain enzymes as well as oxygen and food particle loads to blood cells.
  • Improved vascular activity: Laser light boosts the formation of blood capillaries in tissue scarred by acne, which, in turn, boosts the speed of healing.
  • Safe treatment: Laser acne treatment doesn’t produce heat. As a result, there is no risk of burning or damaging tissue. The treatment is pain-free, non-invasive, drug-free, and non-toxic.
  • Effective: Laser acne therapy generates immediate noticeable results and routinely produces efficacy rates exceeding 90%. Over 5,000 clinical studies back laser therapy in the treatment of many conditions, including acne.

Cons of laser acne therapy: Possible risks and side effects of laser acne therapy

Laser acne therapy is safe. However, the treatment comes with some risk and side effects in some cases i.e., when the treatment procedures aren’t followed. Other factors like skin type, type of laser used, and a number of treatments can also introduce some risks and side effects.

  • Pain: Some patients can feel pain after laser acne therapy. However, the pain doesn’t last for more than 1-2 hours in most instances.
  • Redness: Some redness can occur. However, it should subside in 10 days or less.
  • Hyperpigmentation and infection: When laser therapy is used to reduce acne scarring appearance, there is a risk of infection and hyperpigmentation. However, this is rare and usually preventable. It’s advisable to seek medical advice on possible laser therapy risks prior to receiving treatment.
  • Costly: Laser acne therapy can be costly, mostly due to the fact that most patients need multiple treatments to get the best results. The therapy is also cheaper than other treatments i.e., topical creams.
  • Works for most, but not everyone: A few people may react unfavorably to laser acne therapy. Although most people respond to the treatment positively, your dermatologist may recommend another treatment. In a nutshell, the treatment may not be ideal to you based on factors such as your skin type or preexisting condition.
  • Results can take time: Some people take longer to get results than others. Most research studies have shown that it takes some weeks (at least 4 weeks) to get the best final result.
  • Possible rare side effects: Although it’s very rare, laser acne therapy can cause blisters, lingering pain, burns, scarring and/or changes in skin color. These side effects can be avoided by seeking laser acne treatment from experienced dermatologists only and following your dermatologist’s instruction to the letter.

Important: You should notify your doctor immediately if you suffer from severe side effects such as extensive swelling, fever, or notice pus on the treatment area after receiving laser acne treatment.

Who is it for?

Laser acne therapy is for anyone who needs non-invasive low-risk acne treatment that has been proven to work for many. Given acne affects persons in all age groups, it’s recommendable to seek treatment if you have acne scarring on typically targeted treatment areas like the face, neck, arms, or back. You can always visit a dermatologist to see if laser acne therapy will work for you.

Laser acne therapy vs. other acne treatments: Does it work?

Laser acne therapy works. However, the treatment must be recommended and done by a dermatologist. As discussed above, the treatment works with most people, but not everyone. Seeking professional advice reduces risks and possible side effects associated with the treatment. It’s also advisable to follow post-treatment advice to the letter for the treatment to work properly. Skincare routines are critical after treatment for the best results to be achieved. You must be vigilant about skincare weeks to months after treatment.

It’s also worth noting that the treatment can be supplemented by other treatments to get even better results. For instance, during healing, your skin needs some topical treatment to reduce vulnerability to sun damage. Applying sunscreen or other complementing topical acne treatments is, therefore, a must during the healing process, especially when leaving the house. You should also avoid tanning, makeup, and keep your treatment area moisturized or the results will be compromised. Your treatment areas should also be clean throughout to prevent infection.

Also, laser acne treatment doesn’t promise to eliminate acne scars 100%. The treatment makes acne scarring less noticeable. The importance of having realistic expectations can’t, therefore, be overlooked. Lastly, if you judge the treatment a day after treatment, you may be tempted to say it doesn’t work. Laser acne therapy takes time to deliver results. However, the results of laser acne therapy are permanent. The same can’t be said about other acne treatments.

Infrared Laser Skin Tightening 101

In its simplest form, infrared laser skin tightening is a process by which the skin on the neck, face, or other areas of the body, are tightened utilizing heat therapy. For tightening loose, sagging skin, laser skin tightening is one of the best options to consider. Here we’ll cover how the process works, the pros and cons, and what you can expect in the recovery process.

How Infrared Laser Skin Tightening Works

Once we hit a certain age (around 30), the collagen and elastin production processes tend to slow down in our bodies. These are two proteins that help the skin appear tight, toned, and plump. Laser skin tightening is a process that targets energy in your skin’s outer layers, utilizing laser heat, to stimulate collagen and elastin production process. It’s important to note that not all lasers are created equally. Therefore, you have to go to a reputable doctor or specialist who performs non-surgical infrared laser skin tightening to see the best results.

It’s (Virtually) Pain-Free

The laser procedure does cause minor discomfort during the procedure. This is because of the high levels of heat that are produced; apart from this, you shouldn’t feel any pain during the procedure. There are three methods of laser skin tightening which are

  • Ultrasound
  • Radio frequency
  • Radio frequency micro-needling

Ultrasound

For those looking for a “heavy-duty” lift, ultrasound is the way to go. Utilizing ultrasound energy, the process heats the skin at a deeper depth, meaning it’s lifting from deeper below the skin’s outer layers. A handheld device using ultrasound frequencies is applied to the areas that patients want to be treated. Depending on how loose/saggy the skin is, ultrasound laser skin tightening will improve the appearance of the skin significantly with 1 or 2 treatments.

Your doctor will look at the ultrasound waves to ensure they’re hitting the exact areas patients want to be treated during the procedure. The process takes anywhere between 45 minutes to two hours. Some results are realized immediately. However, the final results aren’t seen until about three months after the process has been completed.

Radio frequency

This process is like ultrasound in that a handheld device is used to heat the layers of the skin being treated. This procedure, however, heats the skin at a more superficial level. It focuses on triggering collagen production in the area. Because this doesn’t go as deep as ultrasound, you might need two to six treatments to see the results. The process is quick and pain-free, typically lasting one-hour or less for each session. Depending on the size/area being treated, you can complete treatments 7 to 10 days apart. The results will also take between three and six months for patients to see the final/best results.

Radio frequency Micro-needling

The third modality for performing laser skin tightening is radio frequency micro-needling. The tool utilized in this procedure is similar to a stamp, not so much a needling pen. It’s a motorized stamper, and it has 37 gold needles that create “micro” tears in the epidermis. It doesn’t destroy the dermis, it just creates microscopic holes with the stamping needles. When the needles are in the skin, they emit radio frequencies. This is how the skin is tightened in this process. With this option, you need three to four sessions, that can be done 4 to 6 weeks apart. It’s advised not to exercise or wear makeup for up to 24 hours after completing the session. Similarly, to the other two methods, results aren’t 100% visible until three to six months after the final session is completed.

Laser Skin Tightening: The Good and the Best

So, why choose infrared laser skin tightening as opposed to other cosmetic procedures? There are many benefits and a few drawbacks worth mentioning for those who are considering this form of cosmetic treatment. So, let’s cover those to help you determine if this is the best approach to help tighten loose or sagging skin.

Pros

There are several benefits you’ll instantly realize after having infrared laser skin tightening procedures completed. Some of these benefits are

  1. It is non-surgical
  2. There’s no/limited downtime (24 hours recovery at most)
  3. You don’t undergo any cutting/suturing, or anesthesia
  4. It’s safe for anyone to complete, as long as it’s cleared by the doctor/specialist performing the procedure
  5. The procedure is pain-free and takes no time to complete
  6.  only takes 45 minutes to a couple of hours per session
  7. It tightens and helps smooth out the skin
  8. It can treat any area of the body (face, neck, back, arms, stomach, etc.)
  9. Long-lasting improvements are seen in the exterior surfaces of the skin
  10. Results are immediate (not the final results, but you do see improvements immediately)
  11. It’s great for treating frown lines, fine lines, wrinkles, crow’s feet, and other signs of aging
  12. The procedure is non-surgical, meaning it’s non-invasive

The immediacy of this procedure is one of the primary reasons why patients choose it when considering ways to improve the aesthetic appearance of sagging or loose skin. The fact that it’s non-surgical also reduces the risks that are associated with facelifts and other surgical procedures. And, the fact that you have three options to choose from, allows you to pick the method that you believe will deliver the best results (with your doctor/specialist’s suggestions), so you’ll see the improvements you want to see after this procedure is done.

Cons

There are a few cons/drawbacks that people should understand before they visit a local surgeon or specialist that offers laser skin tightening in their office. Some of these include

  1. You aren’t going to see 100% improvements (if you expect it to remove all lines, wrinkles, and signs of aging, you’ll be disappointed in the results)
  2. Remember, it may require up to 6 sessions with the different treatments
  3. And, with all three methods, you aren’t going to see the final results for at least three months, so you have to be patient
  4. It is expensive
  5. Although cheaper than plastic surgery, depending on the method chosen, the cost can easily exceed several thousands of dollars
  6. One session of radio frequency or micro-needling is about $600 (depends on where you have it done and the body party), meaning 4 to 6 sessions will cost $2K to $3K.
  7. You still have to talk to your doctor (women who are pregnant or nursing shouldn’t undergo this procedure)
  8. Those who are prone to scarring, keloids, rashes, or skin breakouts, shouldn’t have this procedure completed (or should talk to their doctor before undergoing any of the three treatment methods)

Furthermore, there are no guarantees. In most cases, patients will see the results they want to see. However, a surgeon or specialist is not going to guarantee that they can get rid of every wrinkle on your face or tighten certain areas of the skin/body for some patients. Therefore, people must have realistic expectations if they are thinking about infrared laser skin tightening. Otherwise, it is a waste of money, and you are going to be unhappy with the results.

It’s also important to research before having this procedure completed. Not only do you choose the best specialist in your area, but also to avoid overpaying for the procedure. Today, you can have this done at almost any cosmetic surgery office, and some doctors are licensed to perform skin tightening procedures. Therefore, you’ll want to take your time to compare several offices, patients results, testimonials, and pricing, so that you find the best local specialist where you live, and to ensure you will see the best results possible, regardless of which method you choose for laser skin tightening.

The Recovery Process Post-Laser Skin Tightening Procedure

One of the primary selling points (if not the key selling point) for having this procedure completed, as opposed to cosmetic surgery (or other non-surgical skin tightening solutions), is the fact that there is no downtime. In most cases, you can go back to the office right after lunch when you complete the session. Some people will experience redness, tingling, irritation, or minor pain after they are finished with the treatment session. And, with micro-needling, it is suggested to avoid wearing makeup or doing exercise for up to 24 hours (48 if possible) after the procedure. But most people are back to work the same day and return to their normal routine/skincare regimen the same day.

If you experience pain, irritation, numbing sensation, feel overheated, or are otherwise experiencing discomfort after the procedure, you can call your specialist/doctor to find out if it is normal, or if you should come into the office for a follow-up.

Although it will take up to 3 months to see the results, you won’t experience any downtime or need extra rest after your office visits. You can go back to your normal routine the following day.

***** This post is intended as informational, and should not be used for treating, diagnosing, or as medical advice. Even if you’re healthy and have undergone other cosmetic procedures, it is advisable to seek out the advice of your doctor or a specialist before having laser skin tightening (or other cosmetic procedures) performed.

Botox and Dysport: A Detailed Comparison

Who wants to look old and wrinkly as they age? No one, that’s who. Everyone wants a magic drug that will immediately get rid of all unwanted wrinkles and frown lines. The closest we are to such magic is with treatments such as Botox and Dysport.

Botox has been around a long time, which is why it has far more recognition than Dysport. In this blog, we are going to compare all the aspects of Botox and Dysport.

Basics of Botox and Dysport

Botox, as well as Dysport, is made from a protein Botulinum Toxin, which is produced from a bacteria Clostridium Botulinum. Both treatments involve injecting the skin with highly purified Botulinum protein which paralyzes the muscles and prevents you from making facial expressions that cause the frown lines and wrinkles.

Botox is injected in small areas such as the space between the eyebrows. It relaxes overactive facial muscles by temporarily reducing the muscle activity in the specific area.

On the other hand, although Dysport is very similar to Botox in terms of its constituents, it is more fluid than Botox. Botox is restricted to the area where the protein, Botulinum Toxin, is injected whereas Dysport is far more fluid. It spreads to other sites after application which allows treatment of several areas at once.

Dysport is especially beneficial for patients who want treatment of multiple areas. It is also different from Botox in terms of facial expressions. Where Botox limits muscle activity and hinders facial activity, Dysport does not affect facial expressions at all.

Injection of medication

Botox has been around longer than Dysport, which is why it has more FDA-approved indications. Still, both treatments only have approvals for treating frown lines between your eyebrows even though both are also used to treat other areas of the body, and can be injected intra-dermally to reduce sweating. This treatment doesn’t work as well because the nitrogenous wastes have to come out from somewhere.

The Amount of Medication Required

Botox is stronger than Dysport, which is why it isn’t needed in a large quantity to get the desired effect. On the other hand, Dysport is a smaller protein that is required in a larger volume. This automatically means that the more it is used, the more the chances are that it will travel to another area. This is good if you’re looking to treat a more substantial area but not if the area is small.

What do the procedures involve?

Let’s say the area between your eyebrows is being treated. In Dysport, the protein Botulinum Toxin is injected into five points located between and above the eyebrow. The injection time is not more than a few minutes, and the pain felt is minimal and very brief.

Similarly, in Botox, the medication is injected into the same area and lasts only a few minutes, with the pain being brief and very minute.

Recovery time and what to expect?

Both Botox and Dysport involve the same recovery procedures. A little tenderness and a few red bumps may emerge, but no bandages are required, and the effects subside after 15 minutes. However, the patients are advised to take precautionary measures and are discouraged from pressing or rubbing the area that has been treated.

How long will the treatments last?

Botox lasts 3 to 6 months whereas Dysport lasts about 4 months after which you will need touch-ups.

Cost of Botox and Dysport

Botox is significantly more expensive than Dysport, but this is also because Botox lasts longer than Dysport.

When will the treatments start to work?

Botox generally takes 4 to 7 days for the effect to kick in whereas Dysport takes effect in 2 to 5 days.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Each type of treatment has its advantages and disadvantages.

Botox is applied to a small area and limits the muscle activity there to relax them. However, by no means are your muscles paralyzed, and you can show as many emotions as you want. However, your facial expressions activity also depends on the number of Botox treatments you undergo. The more treatments you get, the more your facial expressions get limited. Botox has fewer side-effects and risks, but it is expensive and only lasts up to 6 months after which you will need another round of treatment.

If you want to find out which treatment is right for you and additional information then contact Louisville Laser Med Spa at (502) 499-6608.

Filler: For Lips that Need a Little Boost

fuller lips with fillers

When I say the word “FILLER” what picture pops into your head? Let me guess, you immediately think of a girl who looks like she has floatation devices for lips. I get it, poor filler has gotten a bad rap thanks to some people who have taken it to the extremes. I totally had the same mindset you guys do, until I took the plunge into the world of filler last year.

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A Little Secret About Botox

botox before-afters

Click to view interactive gallery of Botox before-afters!

I have a secret to tell you.

The celebrities who all of a sudden have lips the size of baseballs and eyebrows that touch their hairline, yet claim they just did Botox – are lying. I assure you they made a secret visit to a plastic surgeon through a back door so that the paparazzi would not expose them. Then, wanted all of us to believe that with just a touch of Botox they were able to have a smaller nose, frozen forehead and lips that looked like they had allergic reaction. Yeah, right?!

As somebody who has used Botox and Dysport for the last 8-10 years, I can assure you I have never walked around and looked like I had a shocked expression all day. I have never had people stare at me and wonder what the heck I had put in my face.

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