Sun Damage

The Differences and Similarities Between Laser Treatments and IPL

If you are interested in exploring clinical treatments to reverse wrinkles, sags, and other skin problems, you have probably heard of both IPL and Laser treatments, but you might be thinking that they are the same thing. That isn’t the case at all. It’s important to understand the differences between the two before you decide whether either one is a treatment that you should try.

The Fundamental Similarities Between the Two

There are a few fundamental similarities between the two types of treatments. One is that they both produce a form of light during treatment. However, the term “laser” stands for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation,” which is not the same thing as IPL treatment. IPL uses a non-laser light source.

Another similarity between the two is that versions of the devices are made for at home use and other, stronger versions of them are produced for clinical use. That means that you have the option of using either one to treat yourself at home or going to a clinic to have a professional technician perform the treatment. But you have to understand that you won’t get quick or consistent results at home that are the same as those you would get in a clinic.

Another good example of how they are similar is in the types of conditions they can treat. Both are commonly used for laser hair removal, but they can also be used to treat a wide variety of other issues associated with aging, including wrinkles and sagging skin.

The Major Difference Between the Two

The major difference between the two types of treatments is that IPL is a mild treatment that is usually used on a larger area of skin at a time. On the other hand, most laser devices are precise machines that penetrate the skin with pinpoint accuracy for very specific results. Laser devices also produce a greater degree of results, in general, because they generate more heat than IPL machines. Granted, there are exceptions on both sides. For example, laser skin resurfacing is generally done on a large area of skin.

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Steps for Preventing Skin Cancer

As I was watching  The Big C, the hit Showtime Original Series about living… with cancer-Melanoma, I decided to write this blog.

Melanoma is on the rise, it is the deadliest form of skin cancer if not caught early.  It is a horrible painful disfiguring disease. I know, my dad died from Melanoma which started on his scalp and metastasized though his body. He lost 1/3 of his neck to this horrible disease.

Children and you women are especially at risk.  Research also suggests that  higher income women and families are at greater risk due vanity and lifestyle.   According to the American Cancer Society Melanoma is thought to account for about 9,000 deaths per year in the United States. Many of these melanoma cases are avoidable through common sense measures such as limiting sun exposure.

The American Cancer Society has identified the following risk factors:* Unprotected and/or excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation

* Fair complexion

* Occupational exposures to coal tar, pitch, creosote, arsenic compounds, or radium

* Family history

* Multiple or atypical moles

* Severe sunburns as a child

There are many steps we can take to prevent this deadly cancer.  There is a new FDA approved technology that can aid your physician in an early  diagnosis.  Ask you physician about scanning with MoleMate, the first FDA approved skin cancer screening device.

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After Laser Resourfacing with Cutera’s Pearl Fusion

It has been 18 days since my Cutera Pearl Fusion laser resourfacing treatment of the decollete, neck and vertical lines around my mouth. Plus frown lines.

I’m using a mild facial cleanser, followed by a rich moisturizing cream. I was using a barrier repair lipid formulation which is rich and creamy.  I recently switched and am testing a new skincare cream with stem cells to see if it will speed up the healing process.  I have only begun using it, so I can not comment on this yet.

My chest is slightly pink now it looks like a I  have a mild sunburn. My sun lesions look much better and I think the texture is better. Though I really need to see my before pics to compare. It looks smoother, yet  I still have the vertical lines, which also seem less noticeable.

My peri-oral area and frown lines are  still pink too. I can cover it with light mineral make-up. I purchased Oxygenetix by Ceravitae as a foundation cover-up for $60.00. It was too dark, too thick-  I found it pasty. Not a fan.  I prefer to use my Colorscience corrector kit.  Works great and blends well.

My neck area after the Pearl is not pink.  I was very conservative with the neck because I did not want to have any problems.  The laser nurse, Jeff, used  the lowest setting of the Peral Fractionated system.  The neck skin is so thin that you can run the risk of scarring if you have an aggressive treatment. I would rather opt for another treatment in this area, than be aggressive.  I am not sure that I notice any difference here.  If there is it is only slight improvement in color, no improvement in texture yet.

My opinion at this point:

I am not wowed about Laser resourfacing with  Pearl Fusion yet!  I see slight improvement and know that over time collagen builds. I will have a much better sense by August, whether I think this is worth the money.

If you really want significant improvement Co2 laser is still probably the way to go.. however, there is a lot of downtime associated with this type of Laser resourfacing procedure.

The Pearl Fusion– is milder with quicker recovery time.

Here are my observations.

It has been 2 months since my Pearl Fusion treatment on my chest, neck and peri-oral area.  Is it worth it??

I am not going to give a definitive answer yet, however, these are my observations.

1. My chest area is still slightly bumpy, slightly pink and in the light you can still see the vertical lines from sleeping all these years on my side. It does look a little better and smoother.

2. Hardly any pink around my mouth area. I really do not see much difference  in the vertical lines above my lips.  The laser nurse was agressive in this area using both YAG and Ablative. I will discuss setting and depth in another blog post. I developed a very small hypotropic scar above my lip line, which I hope resolves. I am not sure why this happened- however,  according to one dermatologist, I apparently healed too quickly in this area. I also noticed that my lips looked flatter, consequently I felt like a little Juverderm was in order.

3. My initial reaction is that Co2 Lasers are more effective in building collagen and go deeper.  This seems to be the gold standard. Cutera (http://www.cutera.com) is the manufacturer of the Pearl Fusion and it is not a Co2 Laser.  There is much controversy in the laser resurfacing arena.

So far I am not impressed with Cutera’s Pearl Fusion.

UPDATE:

SIX MONTHS LATER

Chest:

Slight difference in pigmentation, red bumps gone. Texture shows little improvement. No improvement with vertical chest lines.

Neck: No improvement

Peri-oral area (around the mouth):

Persistant bump above the lip area. It is unclear exactly what this bump is. There have been mix-diagnosis from various dermatologists. It coud be a hypertropic scar. However, it is not conclusive. What I do know is that is developed after the laser treatment. The fine lines are around my mouth are slightly better. However, I had Juverderm injected in certain areas that appear deeper or more noticeable than before the treatment. The results of the Pearl Fusion do not appear to be uniform. Some areas are showing deeper vertical lines than other areas.

 My overall opinion is that one treatment of the Pearl Fusion is not enough if you have pigmentation and vertical lip lines. Was it worth the price?  At this time I would say no.