Hi my beauties! Deciding on the best treatment for your skin can be a daunting task. With an abundance of information, and sometimes misinformation, it can be challenging to make an informed decision on what treatment will be worth investing in for your skin. In this blog post, I hope to help you navigate the confusion about different devices and technologies available for your beautiful skin.
First and foremost let’s discuss the fact that there's a gray area in the beauty industry, between esthetics and dermatology. Many people are crossing over into the esthetics space without the proper training, which can pose a significant risk to patients. It's essential to find a provider who is board certified and fully trained in these procedures to reduce risk of adverse reactions or complications. Any doctor can own and operate these lasers and devices, even without the proper training and understanding of the ramifications of performing high-impact procedures. You see and hear about a lot of complications from these treatments, but this shouldn't happen when administered by a trained and qualified provider.
Laser treatments are popular, but many people are confused about the different types available in the market. Laser stands for Light Amplification by the Stimulation of Emission of Radiation. This is basically a device that uses photons in a collimated wavelength that's attracted to a chromophore. This could be melanin for hyperpigmentation, melanin in hair follicles for laser hair removal, hemoglobin for redness, or water for fine lines and wrinkles. Lasers are superficial treatments, meaning they work in the epidermis as opposed to the deeper tissue of the dermis. They're good for redness, pigment, fine lines, dark circles, etc. Two common lasers that you will see often are IPL & BBL. These are super popular and seem to be 'everywhere', but other lasers like Pico and VBeam aren't. This is because IPL and BBL are much easier to use than other lasers. It's like driving a Toyota vs flying a jet, there's a big difference in the skills needed to operate each mode of transportation. IPL and BBL are much less elegant than other more technical lasers, and thus don’t elicit advanced results.
Energy-based devices use energy, not light or photons, to work. It could be radio frequency, microwave, ultrasound, etc., but putting any type of energy into the deeper layers of the skin stimulates collagen. When you keep the upper part of the skin cool and heat the lower part of the skin, it creates a controlled wound healing situation to stimulate collagen synthesis. The mechanism of action is induction of collagen synthesis, which lifts, tightens, and pulls the skin to be tighter and younger-looking. The results last 3-6 years, and using your body's own regenerative processes gives you the most natural and long-lasting results. It works for people all ages from 30 to 60 or 70-year-olds. My favorite energy device is Thermage because in my experience, I’ve seen the best results and the happiest patients with Thermage.
It’s no secret that I’m not a big fan of microneedling, but it’s a procedure you'll see more often in a medi-spa setting than a medical setting. It's not a very technically advanced treatment and I have seen a lot of complications and scarring from microneedling. I would say 95% of patients are unhappy with their results from microneedling. There are just so many better options out there that actually get you results that microneedling promises but doesn't deliver. 6 months to 1 year later, you often see patients look the same, not better, after microneedling which shouldn’t be the case. Your results should amplify with time.
Finally, let's talk about microcoring. This is a relatively new technology that works similarly to microneedling, but instead of simply poking holes in the skin, it uses hollow needles that actually excise skin. This treatment can remove up to 10% of the skin for a non-surgical and scarless facelift. The main risk with microcoring is post-inflammatory erythema or hyperpigmentation, but this can be reversed and treated with lasers and skincare like hydroquinone.
It's essential to understand the differences between these treatments and consult with a qualified provider to determine the best option for your skin type and concerns. Remember, while these treatments can be effective, they should always be performed by a board-certified and fully trained doctor to ensure the best possible results and reduce the risk of complications.
For more details on each technology I mentioned, check out my YouTube video below! Make sure to subscribe so you get notified of my new videos full of derm knowledge every Sunday!