How is laser used to treat skin disorders?
Laser is a very pure and intense light source. When the laser light shines onto the skin, a certain target in the skin absorbs the laser light. Different targets in the skin will absorb laser light of different characteristics. After absorption of the laser light, the target may be physically altered or destroyed. Therefore, laser is used to selectively destroy unwanted targets in the skin, for example, unwanted pigments and blood vessels. Specific laser systems are needed to treat specific skin conditions.
What are the skin disorders that can be treated by lasers?
1. Unwanted skin growths
Carbon dioxide laser is selectively absorbed by water content within the cells of these growths, resulting in excessive heat generation within the growths and subsequent destruction of the growth. Some of the skin growths that can be treated with laser include viral warts, reborhoeic warts, sebaceous hyperplasia and syringomas.
2. Unwanted wrinkles and scars
Carbon dioxide laser can be used to remove the superficial layers of skin to allow re-growth of healthier, firmer and better looking skin.
3. Pigmentary disorders
Pigment laser light is selectively absorbed by the pigment target within the skin and results in selective destruction of the pigment target. Some of the pigmented disorders that can be treated with the pigment lasers include unwanted tattoos, solar lentigines (sunspots, liver spots) and black birth marks. Often multiple laser treatments are required.
4. Blood vessel disorders
Vascular laser light is selectively absorbed by red blood cells within the blood vessels, resulting in heating within the vessels and subsequent sealing up of the vessels. Vascular lasers can be used to treat blood vessel birthmarks (such as hemangiomas and port-wine stains) and broken veins (such as those on the nose and legs). However, it is important to note that not all skin lesions, whether they are growths, pigmentation or blood vessel disorders can be treated with lasers. Your doctors will be able to advise you on the most appropriate treatment.
DEDICATED TO EXCELLENCE IN DERMATOLOGY
By National Skin Centre (Singapore)
Copyright (C) 1995 - National Skin Centre (Singapore)