Tips For Getting Good Laser Treatments

Age spots, brown spots, red skin, and blotchiness – laser photorejuvenation has a long track record of treating this kind of aging and sun damage safely and effectively. But when a series of laser photorejuvenation treatments costs about $2,500, you want to make sure you’re getting great treatments. So what can you do before you embark on a series to ensure the best possible results?  Here are my tips on making sure you get good laser treatments:

  • Does the office communicate with you thoroughly, with a focus on your concerns? Or is the communication sales-focused?
  • Is your consultation done by someone who actually performs the treatments?
  • Is the approach comprehensive, or is it focused on spot treatments and smaller areas?
  • Is the office available for pre-treatment questions and follow-up questions?
  • Is the office using a customizable, medical-grade laser, or a “point-and-shoot” model?
  • Is the person doing the actual treatment a nurse, physician assistant, or at least a medical assistant?
  • Will the office help you on all of your skin care goals, not just that treatment?

Now let’s go through these questions in greater detail.

Questions to Ask for Good Laser Treatments

Is the Communication Thorough and Focused on Your Concerns, or Is It Sales-Focused?

A good laser IPL treatment starts with the communication process. A good office:

  • Will not pressure you to book treatments or buy products.
  • Will educate you about the whole process of rejuvenating your skin, including a consultation and review of consent forms.
  • Will inform you about the treatment process, the treatment itself, after laser treatment care instructions, and how to maintain your skin during and after your series of treatments.

Is the Consultation Done by the Person Who Performs the Treatments?

I think the best offices have the consultations done by the people who will be treating you. They know the treatments and do them, so they are the best to consult with you on your goals and possible results.

An average to poor office, by contrast, will be far more eager in booking you as a customer and getting you in and out. Often the consultations are done by well-trained sales people rather than the medical professionals who will be treating you.

Is the Treatment Comprehensive, or Is It Focused on Spot Treatments?

Good laser treatments will usually be comprehensive in that they will treat your whole face, or your whole neck, or your whole chest. Two exceptions to this might be treating the veins around your nose or if you are under 30. Some lower quality offices will want to give you lots of spot treatments.

Some spas also attempt to lure you in with a very low price quote. But that quote is often for one spot treatment only. And one spot treatment won’t get you very far at all.

A good office will also be available for questions both before and after your treatment and will give you good follow-up care. A mediocre office may not be as eager to invest the time in that kind of communication.

Is the Laser Customizable, or Point-And-Shoot?

Good laser treatments use devices that are customizable in order to target the specific issues of a particular patient. A mediocre office, on the other hand, tends to have devices that are more “point and shoot” so that a relatively untrained laser technician can do the same kind of treatment on all the patients.

For example, our medical practice uses a Lumenis One device for its PR laser treatments. The Lumenis One allows us to change settings quite easily so we can target specific issues. Other devices, even ones by the same manufacturer, such as the Quantum device, do not allow for easy settings changes. So the provider cannot customize the treatment easily making it hard to give good laser treatments.

Does the Provider Have Some Medical Education and Training?

Some medi-spas prefer the point-and-shoot as a kind of one-size-fits-all approach. They can then hire someone with no medical education and have them laser away without a lot of supervision. But lasers can cause burns and permanent scars.

So my sixth tip for getting good laser treatments is to get treated by someone with some experience and some medical education and training. Lasers are powerful devices, and you want someone with at least some medical knowledge and experience with skin.

Can the Office Provide a Range of Care for Your Goals?

Last, good laser treatments involve treating the whole patient dermatologically. In the rare event of a complication, your laser office should be able to treat that.

Most patients don’t simply come in for one series of PR treatments. They usually have some goals for their total skin health and beauty. Ideally, your laser office can achieve many or all of your goals.

See Dr. Irwin’s expert answers to other readers’ questions on lasers here:

Are lasers okay for Melasma? IPL or Fraxel?
Lasers to consider avoiding this Summer.
Laser Hair Removal- When is it a good option?
See all of Dr. Irwin’s expert answers on lasers.