Laser surgery has been in use for several decades by dermatologists around the world. Lasers have literally transformed the way we think about and treat some skin conditions. But when a quick Google search of “Laser Skin Clinic Melbourne” presents hundreds of options, how do you choose a centre that will deliver results safely? Read on to learn how!
Lasers may be absorbed by various things in the skin like haemoglobin (red blood cells), melanocytes (pigment making cells) and water (a major component of skin). Lasers directed against blood vessels will help treat redness, those targeting melanocytes may help lighten pigmentation and those absorbed by water will result in a ‘burning’ off of the epidermis (top layer) of the skin which rejuvenates.
So why is it that we keep seeing the devastating effects of misadventures with everything from laser hair removal to pigment laser?
The three keys to successful laser treatment are:
1. Get the right diagnosis first. The first step toward great results with laser surgery is making the correct diagnosis. It sounds easy but even dermatologists find topics like pigmentation challenging. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that way too many clinics are misdiagnosing patients and risking serious complications.
An incorrect diagnosis, especially for pigment and people with skin of colour sharply increases the risk of adverse effects like scarring and post-treatment hyperpigmentation (brown/black spots). Conditions like melasma, Hori’s neavus and post-inflammatory pigment often look very similar but are treated very differently. For example, certain types of melasma may become irreversibly worse if treated with laser while hori’s neauvs may respond with a series of laser treatments.
There are over 45 causes of pigment on the face! Be sure your medical provider knows the difference between these conditions
2. Ensure your provider is highly-trained and experienced. Lasers are powerful devices, but results are only as good as the team that devise your treatment plan and oversee your treatments. Once an accurate diagnosis is made, the correct settings need to be chosen for your condition and skin type.
Unfortunately there is little regulation surrounding who can operate a laser in some parts of the country including Melbourne. There are hundreds of laser clinics in Melbourne but a quick Google search will reveal that almost anyone can get a certificate or diploma in laser safety in just 1 day or be ‘qualified’ to remove tattoos in just 5 days. Or if 1 day in a room listening to someone talk is too difficult, then jump online for just 14 hours. Scary stuff. So there are many ‘laser clinics’ in Melbourne that may not be all they seem. Check out this article for more information on how to avoid botched procedures.
Make sure you choose your provider wisely
3. Be sure your provider has an in-depth understanding of how different skin types and colours affects the choice and settings of lasers used. The structure of the skin and its reaction to laser treatment is different in different skin types.
People with skin of colour are those with non-Caucasian skin types. Those with skin of colour have more active melanocytes (pigment cells) and are therefore more susceptible to complications like scarring and post-treatment pigmentation.
Using pre-programmed settings that are built into lasers by manufacturers for every patient that walks through the door will not end well. Settings need to be carefully altered in some situations. Manipulating these settings requires an in-depth understanding of laser physics, skin biology and experience.
Make sure your provider has an in-depth understanding of your skin type and adequate experience with laser devices.
The information contained in this blog post is intended as a guide only and should not substitute seeking medical attention. Please see your healthcare provider for more information on suitability of products, treatments or procedures.