Categories
Laser Technology

All The Latest Laser Technologies

Here at Gentle Revive, in Lindon Utah, we recognize that understanding laser terminology can be just as daunting as deciding which is your favorite laser treatment. We have the most lasers in Utah County, and the latest in each technology. With so many lasers, we have a lot of terms to know, and we are here to help you in every way.

Chromophore, IPL, and Lesions

Let’s start with a term that describes everything we will be lasing. A chromophore is what we call the molecule we are affecting with the laser energy. For one treatment we may be targeting hemoglobin (blood), another may be melanin (gives tissue brown colors), and another target may be water. For instance, if we are targeting age spots through the chromophore melanin, it would target the color and leave the rest of your skin alone. The same idea goes for any of the issues we treat with laser.

One method of targeting chromophores is called IPL. You may have heard it before, and it stands for Intense Pulsed Light. These are only wavelengths of light that are useful for the treatment. Any non-useful wavelengths are filtered out, such as the infamously damaging, ultraviolet light. There are many uses for IPL, such as hair removal, signs of sun damage and aging, acne, and redness. So then, what are those brown or red blotches of chromophores called? They have lots of names, but in the world of lasers, we sometimes refer to them as lesions. Not a wound, tumor, or an abscess, but simply a tissue that has suffered damage. Brown spots are called pigmented lesions, and redness is referred to as a vascular lesion. It’s not as scary as it sounds, and it doesn’t mean you’re terminal.

Photofacial and Radiofrequency

As for treatment names, most of them of them are pretty self explanatory, and others seem to be named by putting random words together. The photofacial is one of those. It doesn’t mean ‘facial that gets you ready for photos’ though it really could be. A photofacial is an IPL treatment that completely gets rid of age spots (sometimes called liver spots), redness, freckles, tiny veins, rosecea, and even birthmarks.

When you have this treatment, you’ll get crystal clear, gorgeous skin. It is one of many treatments we have to get you looking perfect for every photo. Another treatment that has a name that comes out of nowhere is our Radiofrequency treatments for wrinkles, cellulite, skin tightening, and real life air-brushing effects. It gets its name because of the way the energy goes back and forth during the treatments, This method gives very effective, efficient, and immediate results. I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t want the younger, smoother, brighter skin this treatment gives. 

Ablative and Non-ablative

This seems like an easy one, as soon as we discover what ablative means. It’s not quite as cut and dry as ‘elephant or not elephant’ though. Ablation means ‘removal of tissue’ and both ablative and non-ablative laser treatments do that, in different ways. So what differentiates them? What you can see. Ablative treatments remove the top layer of skin, and non-ablative treatments heat the tissue without breaking the skin. Both treatments are very effective for rejuvenating the skin, and going with one over the other is very individualized.

Ablative is the way to go for someone who:

  • Has deep wrinkles and more sever signs of aging
  • Has deep or pitted scars on the face
  • Wants to see huge results quickly
  • Is able to take time off socially while healing

Non-ablative is a better choice for those who:

  • Have mild to moderate signs of aging
  • Need improvement in texture, tone, and collagen production
  • Between ages 25 and 65
  • Is willing to have multiple treatments before seeing results
  • Needs to have no downtime

CO2 

You’ve probably heard of CO2, and you’ve definitely heard it called carbon dioxide. It’s the same thing. It is one of the first gas lasers to be developed, and is one of the highest powered lasers available. This ablative treatment works miracles on wrinkles, scars, sagging skin, age spots, sun damage, warts, and moles. It will clear your skin and give youthful skin. 

Fractional

Last but not least is the math one, that isn’t really about math. When a laser beam is fractional, it means that every time there is a stamp from the laser, thousands of tiny columns go into the skin to attack aged and damaged tissue. It works within both the dermis and epidermis, greatly stimulating collagen production and reformation. In this intensive treatment, the old damaged cells are expelled, and the healthy tissue is left unaffected, resulting in a faster healing process. Several treatments use a fractional laser, and we see excellent results with them.

Now you can walk into your treatment or consult and ask all the questions you can think of, having more knowledge of what you want to have done! We’ll see you then!

Categories
Tattoo Removal

How Laser Tattoo Removal Works

As long as people are getting tattoos, there will be people that want to get them removed. Tattoos are very popular, and are also thought to be very permanent. Until no relationship ever goes bad, tattoo artists are perfect with impeccable spelling, colored ink never fades, and until people tastes, likes and dislikes never change, there will always be people that want to have tattoos removed. Sometimes people run out of real estate on their canvas (skin) and they want to swap out one tattoo for another. Historically it has been difficult to get this ink out of the skin. Many different surgical procedures, abrasive skin treatments, hot needles, sandpaper usage, skin burning techniques and many other treatments for tattoo removal were performed. Safe and effective tattoo removal has not always been used. Many complications have occurred with trying to remove unwanted tattoos. The skin does not always fare so well with some of these methods that are used to remove tattoos.

I am a family medicine physician and a few years ago, I began asking my patients about their tattoos. The answers I got were pretty interesting to me. Initially, I worried that I was invading a patient’s privacy. I soon learned that people love to talk about their tattoos. I found that well over half of the patients with tattoos wanted them removed and tattoo regret is very real, and more common than I thought. But, it’s definitely not universal. A great number of people are very proud of their tattoos as they represent special people or special events in their lives that they cherish and love.

I became interested in tattoo removal with lasers when I read a book that spoke of rehabilitated criminals and drug addicts that can’t get work doing anything because of tattoos that were in places on the body or that say things that make them unemployable. I thought that this is something I could really get behind. I treat former drug addicts in a medication assisted treatment program to help them come off of heroin or other opioid substances. I love to see people’s lives change for the better when they get off drugs. The next hurdle for many was to get a job, and this was prevented many times because of certain tattoos. I learned about laser removal of tattoos and like most guys, I loved the thought of using lasers. I purchased my first laser from China and it showed up on my porch. I read the broken English instructions, took a course in tattoo removal and began to treat patients that I know personally or are my employees. It was as cool as it sounds, and it worked.

As I became more proficient at tattoo removal, I wanted a better laser to more effectively remove tattoos. My first laser was a Nd-YAG laser. I learned of other lasers called Q-switched lasers, nanosecond lasers, different wavelengths of lasers and even lasers that fire in trillionths of seconds called picosecond lasers. Ultimately, I bought the latest and greatest in lasers for tattoo removal called a 755 nanometer, picosecond laser that removes tattoos in fewer treatments and more effectively than any other laser. This laser, called PicoSure, can remove tattoos in 1-2 treatments with some types of ink and it can be used in all different skin types and skin tones in any ethnicity group. This laser also treats any color tattoo ink. It does all of this with low risk of complications such as burns, scars or discoloration of skin.

Modern lasers are safe, effective and very fast. All of this has made tattoo removal available to most, if not all, people that want tattoos removed.

The way that tattoos are removed with lasers is very interesting and very hi-tech. One first needs to understand how the ink interacts with the skin. When a tattoo is placed on the body the ink is injected under the skin and creates a large complex of colors that form an area that the body cannot do anything about because of the large particles under the skin. Too large for the body’s immune system to remove, the tattoo just stays there forever. Think of the ink as a large slab of concrete beneath the top layers of the skin. The laser breaks up the concrete (ink) into small pebble-sized particles of ink. This allows the immune system to come in and remove the smaller particles and treat them as waste. The PicoSure is so powerful that it breaks this “layer of concrete” into dust-sized particles and makes it much easier for the immune system to take away and treat as waste from the body. This translates to shorter treatment sessions and less cost to have tattoos removed.

What about pain?

Truth be told, tattoo removal with lasers is not painless. There are several things that can be used to help decrease the pain and distract the patient from the treatment. Experienced tattoo removal technicians and doctors will use extremely cold air that is directed toward the tattoo and help with the discomfort. Also, nitrous oxide (dental gas) can be used to help with moderate pain that is felt. Typically, the first treatment is felt the most due to the higher amounts of ink in the tattoo. Subsequent treatments are felt much less as the ink disappears.

What about cost?

Tattoos are priced based on the solid square inch of ink. We charge $75 per square inch of ink, per treatment. This is calculated during the consultation and often, one solid square inch of ink is usually 3-4 square inches of a typical tattoo. Once a tattoo gets to a certain size then there is just one flat cost for the whole tattoo for each treatment.

We would love to have you come in to Gentle Revive in Lindon, Utah, and get a tattoo removal consultation. Mention that you read this article and we will give you the first treatment absolutely free of charge. It is rare, but there are certain conditions that could prevent one from having a tattoo removed. We will talk to you about this at the consult and determine if tattoo removal is safe for you.

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