Acne is one of the most common skin disease affecting millions of people across the globe irrespective of their gender, race or age.
Various kinds of laser treatments were developed to treat these scars.
One of these includes the new laser Er.YAG treatment for complete removal of these scars and this article shall discuss its effectiveness.
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What is Laser Er.YAG treatment?
It has been more than a decade since the laser technology was developed and first used.
However, the kind of laser being used saw gradual improvement in technology. The Er.YAG laser was a development of the carbon dioxide laser technology.
Also otherwise known in its full form as the ‘erbium: yttrium aluminium garnet’ laser, it is the only one lasers approved by the Food and Drug Authority of United States for dental cleaning and bone surgery
Er.YAG lasers are solid-state lasers that emit light with the wavelength of 2940 nm (infrared light).
These lasers are known to generate the least amount of harmful heat , another peculiar quality attributed to Er.YAG laser is that its output is readily absorbed by water which is why it gets excluded from surgeries and other application where water is present.
However, apart from getting absorbed in water, it is also very easily absorbed by hydro apatite which makes it suitable for cutting bones and soft tissues.
Its other applications include the laser resurfacing of human skin in cases of acne scarring, deep rhytides and melasma.
It is widely used for dentistry and implant dentistry as well as for the removal of warts.
How does Er.YAG laser treat acne scars?
The treatment involves passing the laser over the affected area so that the damaged cells are killed through exposure to this laser beam.
This further damage will instigate the growth of new skin and also stimulate collagen formation that will help in the formation of new cells that are damage free, tight and firm.
The Er.YAG laser has relatively fewer side effects and is a safer option. It is also a less time-consuming method.
It takes a few minutes for small areas and maybe an hour and a half for larger areas. These new lasers also facilitate deeper penetration of the skin.
When is Er.YAG laser used?
One knows she/he can undergo the treatment when the following signs are visible:
- Mild photo damaged skin lesions.
- Mild atrophic facial scars.
- Mild to moderate facial wrinkles in the perioral, periocular and cheek area.
In cases of full-face resurfacing, it is usually advised that carbon dioxide laser treatment be combined with this one.
This treatment can also be performed on the neck, arms and hand.
Suitability of the skin type
In order to facilitate the suitability of skin types of patients who can undergo this treatment, with minimal risk factors of having to face the side effects.
For efficiency, Fitzpatrick developed a classification to see on whom the treatment can work best:
- Type 1 includes light eyes, fair skinned North European people.
- Type 2 includes fair-skinned European persons.
- Type 3 includes persons from Mediterranean origins.
- Type 4 includes Hispanic and Asian persons.
- Type 5 includes Hispanic and Asian persons with dark pigmented skin.
- Type 6 includes darkly pigmented African and Southern Indian persons.
According to this type 1 and 2 are shall receive better results from the treatment while in other cases it may cause hyper or hypopigmentation and a prolonged recovery period.
Cost of the treatment
The cost of Er.YAG laser treatment has been estimated at 3000$ to 6000$ per treatment and might require repetition after 6 months.
Benefits of using the Er.YAG laser treatment
The benefits of undergoing this treatment are enumerated below:
- The laser energy has sedative effect which reduces the sensation of pain.
- It improves the texture and tone of facial skin.
- Also facilitates treatment of neck, arms and hands.
- Reduces epidermal blemishes.
- It is a relatively safer and less invasive laser method.
- It has proved more efficient than other ablative lasers.
- It requires minimum recovery time and the patient can return to his/her daily routine within 24 hours.
Issues related to Er.YAG laser treatment
Though the side effects are relatively less and rare when compared to other kinds of laser treatments, they nonetheless need mentioning. The side effects are therefore enumerated below:
- It might cause bacterial or viral infection.
- One might develop inflammation in the affected area.
- Exposure to ultraviolet light might cause subsequent problems, though the probability is really less.
- This exposure might cause immune disorder and collagen vascular disease.
- Development of hyper trophic scars.
- Psoriasis and lichen planus.
The following precautions need to be maintained before and after the treatment in order to avoid any ill effects:
- Avoid taking medications that might reduce clotting, 10 days before the treatment.
- Avoid smoking 2 weeks before and after the treatment.
- After 24 hours of the treatment, you need to wash your face 4 to 5 times daily and keep it moisturized to prevent scabbing.
- Avoid wearing any make up around the time of the procedure.
- It might make your skin sensitive to the sun and you must avoid any exposure and wear a sunscreen or protective cloth while going out.
Customer reviews of Er.YAG Laser Treatment
We did an online analysis of consumers who had undergone this treatment in order to see how their experience had been.
While it proved effective for most, there were cases where the Er.YAG laser treatment was not quite successful. Here is a summary of what they liked and disliked about the treatment:
What they liked about Er.YAG laser
Effective: A lot of consumers found this treatment extremely effective. 80% reduction in scars was noticed by them in just 2 to 3 rounds of treatment. In certain cases, it made such a big improvement like it felt there had been no scars there at all ever.
Skin texture: The treatment had a positive effect on the texture of the skin as a whole. Not only did it fade away the scars but also made their skin smooth, soft, firm and tight. Most consumers were happy with this effect
What they did not like about Er.YAG laser
Expensive: The expensiveness of this treatment has been a pressing issue for the consumers. This becomes more important because insurance companies are not willing to cover the expenses of such treatment as they apparently are a cosmetic treatment. Unless of course it is used to reduce pre-cancerous growth.
Cystic breakouts: Few consumers complained that they experienced cystic breakouts post-treatment. This became important because many of these people had no history of cystic acne before the treatment
Er.YAG laser treatment is a new breakthrough technology that has not only made looking younger easier but also reduced the pitfalls of other laser treatments.
It results effective, time effective and an efficient technology. It has been used for over a decade now for both cosmetic benefits as well as health improvements.
If you want to rejuvenate your skin and lighten the scars, this may be your solution.