Difference Between Aesthetic Lasers and Cosmetic Lasers
What are aesthetic lasers? What Are aesthetic lasers used for?
An aesthetic laser is a federally regulated medical device, which may only be operated by a certified medical professional or properly trained technician.
Aesthetic lasers are the big guns of the beauty industry; the most robust treatment option short of traditional surgery. In the hands of a properly trained professional, aesthetic lasers are highly effective for treatment of the following:
Dermal resurfacing: photo-damaged skin, scarring, acne, other inflammatory skin diseases
Benign pigmented lesions
Removal of traumatic, decorative and cosmetic tattoos
Vascular abnormalities such as port wine stains, hemangiomas and other lesions
Safety is paramount in the conversation about aesthetic laser systems. Aesthetic laser treatments are safe and effected when performed by a properly trained professional. Anyone trained to operate an aesthetic laser system must demonstrate the following:
Knowledge and understanding of anatomy, physiology and pathology.
Proficiency in wound healing and repair.
Proficiency in understanding basic physics and safety issues relating to the use of lasers.
Familiarity with the various modalities of sedation and anesthesia for cutaneous laser therapy.
An understanding of and the ability to treat/manage possible complications such as infections, pain, pigmentary changes, poor wound healing, excess swelling and scarring.
An understanding of and the ability to identify appropriate clinical indications and contra-indications to laser surgery and other energy based therapies.
Proficient in the evaluation and management of treatment options related to laser medicine.
What are cosmetic lasers? What are cosmetic Lasers used for?
A cosmetic laser refers to any product available in consumer market, advertising to treat a dermatological condition with a light source.
Any “do it yourself” cosmetic laser device is the essentially the beauty industry’s attempt at an “over the counter” option for professional dermatology services. Most products dubbed cosmetic lasers are not actual lasers, but use a type of less-potent, pulsed light technology.
“True laser technology is not available for home use,” Dr. Kathleen Cook Suozzi, a dermatological surgeon and the aesthetic director of Yale Medicine Dermatology, told CNET. “The at-home ‘lasers’ on the market are typically light-based devices that do not have the power of laser devices available for in-office procedures.”
Despite the fact cosmetic laser devices are significantly less powerful than laser systems used professionally, even the most seemingly harmless products can present extreme risk to the lay person. In June 2019, Neutrogena voluntarily recalled an LED light-based acne treatment mask after concerns of eye injury in a small number of people. Even now, a cursory online search will quickly show endless options of so called “at home lasers” claiming to simulate professional results with hair removal, acne reduction, and skin rejuvenation. But these assertions are simply untrue — no matter the subjectivity of treatment results. Often, this can be verified by customer reviews of the product.
Further, laser deceives designed for personal use are manufactured just like any other consumer product, and do not have to adhere to any medical device regulations. This means DIY lasers are less accurate but, moreover they are less consistent — the power of each pulse can vary significantly, resulting in (literally) spotty results, or in extreme cases permanent injury. Consumers are often attracted to at-home treatments for the apparent cost savings, easy of use, and privacy of a familiar space, however there is no convenience worth risking a patients safety.