Laser Treatments

A good skin care routine is key to maintaining a flawless, youthful complexion. But when your normal techniques fall short, laser treatments can step in to effectively address common concerns like acne scars, dark spots, wrinkles and broken capillaries, treating deep beneath the skin where topical serums or moisturizers can’t reach.

When it comes to skin care, lasers have revolutionized modern dermatology. Lasers provide cutting-edge treatments that deliver dramatic results without surgery or significant downtime. Today, the abundance of technologies, devices and applications make laser treatments a highly versatile option that can meet your exact needs, whether you want to rejuvenate your appearance or eliminate unwanted pigmentation.

No matter what your aesthetic goals are, at Ridenour Plastic Surgery, we have the best-in-class lasers for every problem.

How Do Lasers Work?

Lasers in dermatology are designed to treat certain conditions by targeting specific molecules in the skin (called chromophores), resulting in desired and beneficial changes. For example, chromophores such as water, melanin and deoxyhemoglobin are precisely targeted by lasers made to address wrinkles, brown spots and unwanted spider veins, respectively. By changing the wavelength of light that a laser uses, along with other factors like beam size, pulse duration and energy level, laser treatments can be customized to a patient’s individual needs.

This had made them a top choice among both patients and providers for a number of common concerns, with lasers commonly being used in popular procedures such as wrinkle reduction, eliminating brown spots, reducing facial redness and getting rid of unwanted hair.

Types of Laser Treatments

Laser treatments are varied, and the specific technique or device used depends upon each patient’s individual needs. Below, you can learn more about the laser treatments offered at Ridenour Plastic Surgery and how they can help improve your complexion.

Lasers for Skin Resurfacing

Laser resurfacing is a nonsurgical in-office procedure that heats up the skin’s upper and/or mid-dermal layers, causing microdamage and triggering the body’s healing response. Resurfacing lasers target the water in the upper layers of the skin to produce a predictable injury that results in new skin cells and the production of collagen and elastin, which naturally decline with age. As the skin heals, its tone and texture improve. This treatment is used to address fine lines and wrinkles, excess pigment, acne scars, and a rough, uneven texture. In some cases, it can also help tighten mild sagging of the skin.

Not all laser resurfacing treatments are the same, and there are two primary categories: ablative and non-ablative.

  • Ablative laser treatments, which include CO2 (carbon dioxide) lasers, remove the damaged surface layer of your skin while heating up the water molecules deep within the dermis to trigger a strong healing response. This leaves treatment areas red and raw, with at least a week of downtime while your skin heals.
  • Non-ablative laser treatments, such as Fraxel and Clear + Brilliant, leave the surface of the skin intact, heating only the deeper dermal layer. There’s typically little to no significant downtime after non-ablative laser resurfacing.

Clear + Brilliant is a non-ablative laser treatment used to treat fine lines, shrink pores, improve skin tone and texture, and can be used to reduce the appearance of melasma. The Clear + Brilliant laser works by making thousands of tiny thermal injuries beneath the skin’s surface to trigger the body’s healing process, replacing damaged skin with new, fresh tissue.

Clear + Brilliant is a fractional laser, meaning the laser energy is broken up into a number of tiny beams that treat only a percentage of the skin at a time, leaving the rest intact. Because it treats 20% of the skin, instead of the 40% that’s treated with the Fraxel laser, it’s often referred to as a “mini” or “baby” Fraxel. With Clear + Brilliant, treating less skin causes less damage, which translates into no downtime.

Fraxel DUAL is a similar non-ablative fractional laser to Clear + Brilliant, but has a greater range of energy and density settings. Treatment with the Fraxel DUAL is a little more aggressive than with the Clear + Brilliant laser, and fewer treatments are required to achieve the same result. Fraxel DUAL has two wavelengths of light in the same laser. Thulium is used to treat the very upper layers of the skin and is a workhorse laser for removing unwanted surface pigment and brown spots. It also has an erbium laser that can treat deeper under the surface of the skin into the dermis. Like the Clear + Brilliant laser, the Fraxel DUAL is used to improve fine lines, pore size, rough skin texture and sun-related pigment.

The Candela CO2RE laser system is a fractional CO2 laser that uses powerful microscopic laser beams. It is an ablative treatment that utilizes a computerized scanning handpiece to deliver thousands of tiny beams into the skin, allowing for increased accuracy and versatility. CO2 lasers create a more intense heat than the other resurfacing lasers, partially disrupting the skin’s surface and reaching down into the deeper dermis. The result is a strong healing response that improves moderate to deep wrinkles in a single and dramatic treatment. The laser features four different modalities and an internal scanner that delivers the settings and flexibility best suited to your needs.

Treatment of Acne Scars

Acne is a frustrating cosmetic concern for many. The unappealing blemishes often arrive around puberty but can persist as an issue well into adulthood. What’s worse is that constant picking at them may lead to scarring, which can remain for a lifetime. Acne and acne scars are unfortunate cosmetic issues, but with advancements in aesthetic technology, it’s possible to restore beautifully smooth, clear skin. Acne and acne scar laser skin resurfacing treatments offered at Ridenour Plastic Surgery include Fraxel DUAL, the Candela CO2RE laser, and Profound RF treatments.

Lasers for Redness, Spider Veins and Rosacea

Vbeam Prima is the most advanced pulsed dye laser (PDL) in the world. It’s most commonly used to treat rosacea, but it can also treat raised and red scars, spider veins, broken capillaries, birthmarks, large pores, newly formed stretch marks, and other forms of red, brown, or purple pigmentation. The Vbeam Prima laser also has a built-in long-pulse Nd:YAG laser that can be used to treat the larger dilated blue veins that develop in the forehead and around the eyes with age.

The VBeam Prima works by treating dilated blood vessels. When the laser energy is introduced to the blood vessels, it targets hemoglobin, a red-colored protein in blood cells, which it heats to cause their destruction. After treatment, unwanted spider veins, red marks, and broken capillaries fade, revealing clear skin once again. PDL treatments are a safe and effective option that’s been used for many decades, but have become even more powerful with the introduction of the new and improved Vbeam Prima technology.

Vbeam Prima for Treatment of Rosacea

Rosacea is a common skin concern that affects nearly three million Americans a year. The condition can be upsetting for those who have it, causing broken and dilated blood vessels to appear on the face and creating red blotches. Although there is no known cure for the condition, it’s possible to manage and maintain it with the help of topical medication and laser technology. At Ridenour Plastic Surgery, we use the Vbeam Prima system to address both diffuse facial redness and visible blood vessels associated with rosacea.

Lasers for Brown Spots and Hyperpigmentation

The cosmetic concern referred to as sun spots, liver spots and solar lentigines can define certain parts of the body, appearing as unwanted tan, brown and black spots. They form because the skin’s melanin clumps or is produced in high concentrations, usually when our pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) are exposed to the sun’s damaging UV rays. While it may feel like brown spots are a necessary and inevitable sign of aging, this is no longer the case. Treatments exist that can significantly reduce or eliminate unwanted and unsightly pigment.

The PicoWay Zoom laser uses short, rapid pulses (trillionths of a second) to shatter pigment deep beneath the skin. It uses two different wavelengths of light (532 nm and 1064 nm) to treat pigment at different depths in the skin, making it effective for a number of common pigmentation issues. PicoWay Zoom delivers concentrated packets of energy over a very short interval and can therefore shatter even large, unwanted pigments in the skin. After treatment, the shattered pigment particles naturally fade away until they’re no longer visible. Healing is rapid and there is little to no downtime. Pico lasers are the state-of-the-art way to reduce unwanted pigment such as age spots, melasma and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation in just one to two treatments.

Laser Hair Removal

At Ridenour Plastic Surgery, we perform laser hair removal with the Diolaze laser system, a device specifically designed for cosmetic hair removal. The treatment works by introducing concentrated energy into the hair follicles, where it is then absorbed. This damages the follicles and inhibits future hair growth. The laser emits intense, energy-filled light pulses that are able to target unwanted hair follicles without damaging the surrounding tissue in a process known as selective photothermolysis. Laser hair removal with the Diolaze laser is extremely fast, versatile and creates exceptional results. As with any laser hair removal, multiple treatments are required to achieve optimal results.

Laser Tattoo Removal

Laser tattoo removal is a process that utilizes the power of high-speed laser technology and your body’s natural healing process to remove unwanted tattoo ink safely and effectively. The treatment works by introducing concentrated laser energy beneath the surface of the skin to break apart the tattoo pigments. The body naturally absorbs the shattered pigments in the days and weeks after treatment. Depending on how dark (dense) the unwanted pigment is and the number of pigment colors, laser tattoo removal can make the appearance of a tattoo fade away until it’s hardly visible to the naked eye. In many cases, the procedure has the potential to erase the tattoo from the skin completely. Several sessions of laser tattoo removal are typically needed for optimal results.

PicoWay lasers are the most powerful and effective lasers when it comes to removing tattoo inks. This laser uses ultra-short laser pulses (trillionths of a second) to destroy unwanted pigments instead of heating them, a method known as the “photoacoustic” effect. The laser shatters the pigment, breaking it up into smaller particles that the body can naturally dispose of. The PicoWay laser utilizes a single, concentrated beam that can rid the skin of most darker-colored ink pigments. Because the laser produces less heat, treatments are more comfortable than in the past. After the pigments are shattered, your body’s scavenger cells (macrophages) gradually absorb and dispose of the treated pigment.

The RevLite laser contains multiple laser wavelengths, making it suitable to treat all colors of tattoo ink. During treatment, a concentrated laser beam of a specific wavelength is selected to target a particular color of tattoo ink. Similar to the PicoWay laser, the RevLite uses ultra-short pulses of energy (billionths of a second) to shatter pigment, which the body naturally absorbs over time.

Both of these lasers are excellent options for anyone seeking tattoo removal. We begin most treatments with the PicoWay laser for fast and efficient removal of the darker ink colors. We then treat any residual colors of ink with the versatile RevLite laser. In some cases, a fractional CO2 laser is used to remove stubborn or persistent ink.

Other Non-Laser Light-Based Treatments

At Ridenour Plastic Surgery, we also provide light-based treatments that are similar to lasers, but use a range of wavelengths to treat common skin concerns. We’re proud to offer Lumecca, a powerful device that uses intense pulsed light (IPL) to improve your complexion.

Lumecca is an advanced cosmetic device that uses IPL technology to treat superficial pigmented skin and vascular lesions. Unlike standard IPL treatments, it delivers three times more energy, making it effective for unwanted red and brown pigments in the skin. During treatment, Lumecca emits bright flashes of light that heat up the skin, breaking up unwanted pigmented skin lesions and “closing off” small capillaries or blood vessels. Afterward, the body naturally absorbs treated blood vessels and pigmented lesions will flake off. Lumecca also stimulates collagen production, an important structural protein that keeps the skin youthful and healthy. Patients with unwanted freckles or hyperpigmentation, rosacea and sun-damaged skin can benefit from Lumecca treatments. Two to three treatments are recommended for best results, spaced about one month apart.

Schedule a Consultation

Aging, acne, rosacea and other skin concerns are aesthetically displeasing problems that affect millions of Americans every year. Despite their commonality, they can damage your self-confidence, preventing you from feeling as beautiful as you truly are.

If you’re a resident of St. Louis, MO, and want a smoother, more youthful and even complexion, please call Ridenour Plastic Surgery at (314) 501-7946 or visit our contact page. You can schedule a consultation with one of our providers to determine which laser treatment will improve your image.

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