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Laser Applications


Beauty Professionals

05/08/2010

Laser Applications

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Written by: Kathryn Danzey
Beauty Series

Lasers:


Most of the time referred to as the “Surgical Laser”. Its wavelength of 10.6 um (10,600 nm far infra red ) is strongly absorbed by water, which is the main constituent of soft tissue ( around 80%) therefore its action on tissue is directly visible as it is used. This is the reason this laser is widely used by surgeons, and is still the most used of all lasers. It can be used in continuous mode (CW) or pulsed mode and the beam can be focused for cutting like a scalpel or defocused to ablate or shave soft tissue.Applications include removal of benign skin lesions such as moles and warts.It is used as well in surgery for snoring, cervical cancer and skin resurfacing.

Er:YAG Laser:


The Erbium – YAG laser, emits a mid-infrared beam at 2940 nm. This wavelength coincides with the absorption peak for water and its main use is in the cosmetic laser resurfacing for wrinkle removal.

Argon Laser:


The Argon (Argon-ion) laser is a gas laser that emits blue-green light (in continuous mode) at 488 nm and 514 nm wavelength. Its light is highly absorbed by haemoglobin and melanin and is used mainly in Ophthalmology and ENT (ear, nose and throat) procedures. This was one of the first lasers used clinically.

Nd-YAG Laser:


The Neodymium – Yttrium-Aluminum-Garnet emits light of 1064 nm wavelength (near-infra red) in continuous, pulsed or Q- Switched mode. Continuous and pulsed delivery is via fiber optic cables whereas Q-Switched delivery is via an articulated arm due to the very high energy peaks. This laser is a true work horse due to its deep penetration and delivery via fibre optic cables. It is used in ophthalmology, renal surgery, ENT, surgical cutting, tattoo removal and has fair results in hair removal.

Ho:YAG laser:


The Holmium – YAG laser emits a mid infrared light at 2070 nm and is new to the medical field. Its main use is in the ablation of bone and cartilage, with many applications in orthopedics for arthroscopy, urology (lithotripsy /removal of kidney stones), ENT( endoscopic sinus surgery), and spinal surgery ( endoscopic disc removal). Ho -YAG lasers have recently been approved for prostate cancer removal.

KTP Laser:


The KTP (potassium – titanyl – phosphate) laser, is basically a Nd-YAG frequency doubled laser, the 1064 nm beam is passed through a potassium – titanyl – phosphate crystal that halves the wavelength to 532 nm. This green light is used in continuous mode to cut tissue and in pulsed mode for vascular lesions including facial and leg veins, and in Q-Switched mode for red/orange tattoo removal. Beam delivery is fiber optic and articulated arm for Q-Switched mode.

Ruby Lasers:


The ruby laser emits light at a wavelength of 694 nm (red) and its lasing medium is a synthetic ruby crystal of aluminum oxide and chromium atoms that is excited by flash lamps ( such Xenon lamps). The ruby laser was the first laser made back in 1960 by T.H.Meiman. The early use of ruby lasers was in retinal surgery until the development of Q-Switching (articulated arm beam delivery) which took them a step further into dermatological work. Ruby laser light is well absorbed by blue, black pigment and by melanin in skin and hair. The other mode of ruby lasers is the Free-running mode where the beam is delivered via fiber optic.

Applications:


– Treatment of tattoos, of pigmented lesions, freckles, liver spots, Nevus of Ota, cafe-au-lait spots (Q-Switched mode)
– Hair Removal (free-running mode)

Pulsed Dye Lasers:


The Pulsed Dye Laser emits light at 585 nm (yellow colour) which coincides with the peak absorption of haemoglobin in blood. Originally this laser was developed in the early 1980’s to replace the Argon laser as it reduced heat damage and scaring due to its short pulses with a relaxation time less than the thermal relaxation time of minute blood vessels. This wavelength is useful for the treatment of vascular lesions, spider veins, strawberry birthmarks and port wine stains. However, the Dye laser short pulse/high absorption ruptures the targeted blood vessels and causes purpura (bruising) which can last up to 2 weeks.
Other recent applications include collagen remodeling.

Alexandrite Lasers:


The Alexandrite laser emits light at 755 nm (deep red colour), its lasing medium is made of a rod of synthetic chrysoberyl, a gemstone discovered in Russia in the1830’s on Czar Alexander II’s 13th birthday. It has properties similar to the ruby laser with a longer wavelength permitting a slightly deeper penetration into skin and less absorption by melanin.
Applications include hair removal in millisecond-range pulsed mode and tattoo removal in Q-Switched mode.

Diode Lasers:


The Diode laser is a solid-state device (similarly constructed to LED’s) and emits light in the range 800nm to 900 nm (near infra red). The well-known laser pointer is a diode laser. The main application is in millisecond-range pulsed mode for laser hair removal and periodontal surgery. Continuous mode is used for leg and facial veins. We can use diode lasers to excite or “pump” more traditional laser media, such as YAG rods. This is very promising as the simplicity and low maintenance needs of diode lasers and diode-pumped solid-state lasers will be more exploited in the future as more wavelengths become available.

Excimer Lasers:


Noble gas Halide or Excimer Lasers, emit invisible ultra-violet (UV) light. The very short wavelength is capable of high resolution and microscopic surgery. The most common medical application is the Argon-Fluorine (Ar-F) laser at 193 nm, used for PRK and LASIK (Laser in-situ Keratomilieusis) vision correction. The laser beam is delivered through an operating microscope integrated with the laser housing and operating table. Excimer laser radiation shows great promise for cardiac revascularization and lithotripsy, but is currently limited by the lack of durable UV-capable fiber optic delivery devices.

Copper Vapor Lasers:


The Copper Vapor Laser (CVL), emits yellow light at 577 nm and green light at 511 nm, vaporised copper bromide is the lasing medium and the beam delivery is via fiber optic cable. Unlike the Pulsed Dye Laser, there is no purpura in treatment of vascular lesions, due to the longer pulse duration. However, a long warm up time and short laser cavity life make the CVL a less popular choice than the Pulsed Dye Laser. New cavity designs may make the CVL the laser of the future.

CO2 Lasers:


Most of the time referred to as the “Surgical Laser”. Its wavelength of 10.6 um (10,600 nm far infra red ) is strongly absorbed by water, which is the main constituent of soft tissue ( around 80%) therefore its action on tissue is directly visible as it is used. This is the reason this laser is widely used by surgeons, and is still the most used of all lasers.

It can be used in continuous mode (CW) or pulsed mode and the beam can be focused for cutting like a scalpel or defocused to ablate or shave soft tissue.Applications include removal of benign skin lesions such as moles and warts.It is used as well in surgery for snoring, cervical cancer and skin resurfacing.



About the Author

Kathryn Danzey
I have a passion to bring to you what really works in the beauty industry, from a moisturiser to the latest advanced treatment for anti ageing. After almost 4 decades in the industry I'm packed with info to share but never tire of looking for new things and would love you to share your experiences with us too. We're here to help you find that treatment or product that will make a change for you. Can't do without Moisturiser with sun protection, microdermabrasion and pedicures





 
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