Lasers, light and energy devices in demand

An array of laser, light and energy-based devices used by dermatologic surgeons to treat everything from sun-damaged skin to acne scars remains the top cosmetic procedure category for the fourth year in a row, new survey results from the United States show.

Members of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery performed more than 2.7 million procedures using lasers, lights and energy-based devices in 2014, according to the ASDS Survey on Dermatologic Procedures.

Patients continue to recognize that these procedures are effective and convenient, said ASDS President George J. Hruza, MD, MBA.

“Lasers and other energy sources have become very good for many indications with minimal downtime and minimal pain associated with the procedures,” Hruza said. “Hair removal, tattoo removal, sun-damage repair, wrinkle and scar improvement, brown spot and broken blood vessel fading, fat reductions and skin tightening are all indications that can be effectively treated with laser and energy sources.”

The top treatment areas of the more than a dozen cosmetic uses in 2014 were:

  • Hair removal: 633,000.
  • Facial redness: 428,000.
  • Photo rejuvenation: 329,000.
  • Photodynamic therapy: 311,000.
  • Age spots: 224,000.

Laser hair removal utilises beams of highly concentrated light designed to selectively penetrate into the hair follicles, be absorbed by the pigment and to destroy the hair within that hair follicle. The procedure was originally recommended for dark hairs on light skin, but Hruza said newer technologies have made it safer and more effective for patients with a range of complexions and hair colours.

Facial redness can be treated with an intense, gentle beam of light. Procedures can counteract rosacea, broken blood vessels from sun damage, seborrhoea and acne.

Photo rejuvenation offers a non-invasive solution for treating benign skin conditions that can be tailored to patients’ specific skin type. Pulses of light convert to heat energy, correcting dark spots and broken veins and capillaries.

Photodynamic therapy utilises a photosensitive drug and light source to treat malignant or benign diseases.

One of the fastest-growing procedures is tattoo removal (109,641 performed in 2014), up 74 percent since 2012. The development of picosecond lasers that are more effective and less painful than previous, nanosecond laser technology has prompted many consumers to give tattoo removal procedures more serious consideration, according to Hruza.

Source: The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery 

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