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What Is Laser Dermatology?

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  • Written By: Marjorie McAtee
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2016
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Laser dermatology is a branch of dermatology that users lasers to treat skin conditions and cosmetic concerns. Dermatologists specializing in laser therapy use several types of laser lights to the skin, including pulsed dye lasers, carbon dioxide lasers, and long pulsed Nd:Yag lasers. Skin cancers can often be treated using laser therapy and skin diseases including warts, rosacea, and spider veins also can benefit from laser dermatology treatments. Some people seek laser skin resurfacing to remove unwanted hair growth, or to reduce the signs of aging. Laser dermatology is often used to treat acne and acne scarring, one of the most common skin diseases.

A dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in skin care and the treatment of skin diseases. Dermatologists often provide cosmetic skin care, such as laser resurfacing, but they are also capable of administering medical treatments for skin disease. Laser dermatology uses laser light, rather that traditional surgery, because it can benefit many skin conditions and is less invasive. There are two types of laser treatments typically used in laser dermatology, ablative and non-ablative. Non-ablative treatments are less intense, and their results tend to appear more slowly over time. Ablative laser therapy usually wounds the skin more deeply, leading to more side effects, but also more immediate results.

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Acne may be one of the most common skin conditions that can benefit from laser treatments. Pulsed light and heat energy, pulsed dye and diode lasers may be capable of killing the bacteria that cause acne, and may even render permanent damage to the sebaceous glands, lowering skin oil production in the long term. Laser resurfacing techniques can be used to reduce the appearance of scars left by acne.

Treatment with laser lights can also help benefit rosacea and spider veins. It can help minimize hair growth where desired. It can be used to remove birth marks, stretch marks, and scars not left by acne breakouts. Some dermatologists use laser light to remove unwanted tattoos.

Laser skin therapy is believed to be beneficial in the treatment of skin cancers, especially basal cell carcinoma. Skin cancers are believed to be appearing more and more often, and some skin cancers, such as malignant melanoma, are generally considered very serious due to their ability to spread throughout the body.

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