Many people of all ages are seeking laser treatments for their beauty needs

There is more to beauty than meets the eye. In this age of nips and tucks, one wonders if that breathtaking woman standing across the room is a ‘natural’ beauty. And while one might think or choose to believe that it’s only the celebrities and glitterati who drink from the ‘surgical fountain of youth’, think again. No longer are people choosing to age gracefully with grandma’s beauty tips or the various cosmetic products available on the shelves. More and more people are seeking the new magic wand in the field of cosmetology – laser. It seems it can solve a range of problems with a wave of its light.

So, what exactly is laser and how does it help? “Laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. There are two basic types of lasers used for skin rejuvenation and scars: ablative and non-ablative. Ablative lasers vapourise the top layers of the damaged skin to lessen cosmetic issues such as wrinkles and scars, while non-ablative lasers use heat to cause the tissues to tighten and stimulate collagen production, which in turn makes the skin smoother and firmer,” says Dr. Sonia Feroz of Serene Skin and Laser Centre.

And although most people believe that one laser can solve all their beauty needs, doctors beg to differ. Says Dr. Sunil Menon, a practitioner at Dr. Yogiraj Centre for Dermatology and Cosmetology: “Each laser has its own purpose.”

Initially, laser treatment was used mainly for hair removal.

“However, as the technology was still new, those with dark skin tones were discouraged from undergoing laser hair removal as the procedure could damage dark skin. Now, with the advancement of technology and technique, things have changed and there is an explosion in the demand for such treatments,” says Dr. Rajesh Nair of Skin Care Med Spa, perhaps one of the first to introduce laser beauty treatments in the city 15 years ago. Laser treatments for pigmentation, scar removal, wrinkle control and the like were soon introduced to the city and its denizens.

“While laser hair removals are still popular, laser pigmentation removal techniques are in demand for facial skin pigmentations such as melasma. There are two basic functions of pigmentation removal lasers: removing the existing pigmentation causing the distinct spot on the skin and stopping the formation of a new melanin in the area. The ultimate goal of laser treatment is to have more even-toned, smoother and youthful-looking skin,” says Dr. Sonia.

However, when once it was the dermatologist or cosmetologist who suggested treatments to patients, nowadays, patients are well read and informed and know what they want. And it’s not just youngsters who avail themselves of these treatments; people of all ages come in, male and female.

While some treatments require only one sitting, others require a couple of sittings which are stretched out over a period of time. “Most of the treatments are office procedures; one can come in, undergo the treatment, and go to work. There is no surgical procedure and it’s relatively pain free. Prices are charged per session although there are package deals,” says Dr. Sunil.

Laser treatments are used for…

* Pigmentation

* Excess hair

* Skin rejuvenation

* Wrinkles and anti-aging

* Tattoo removal

* Birth mark removal

* Fat reduction

Those who can’t undergo laser treatments are…

* Pregnant women

* Those with photosensitivity diseases

* Those with collagen vascular diseases

* Those suffering from cancer or undergoing chemotherapy

* Those with a tendency for keloids

Things to note

* There are pros and cons in undergoing a treatment; discuss with your doctor

* As skin varies from person to person, what treatment is recommended for one may not be recommended for the other

* There are various pre- and post-care procedures that one has to follow for maximum benefit

* Results may and can vary from person to person