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
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.
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!