Are there different laser strength levels?
You’re welcome. 🙂 When I first started working with lasers years ago, there were literally 3 companies making about 5 lasers. Now there are 30+ companies making at least 150 different lasers. So the answer to this really depends on the laser. To confuse consumers further there are also IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) which are laser “cousins.” There are also light, as opposed to sound based, but the beam contains multiple wavelengths… not just one wavelength. A laser is technically one wavelength of light only.
Why laser results vary so much – 3 main reasons:
- There are MANY different lasers with different power, different settings and different wavelengths.
- Results often depend, NOT on the laser, but on the person operating it. Makes sense right?
- There is a relatively low level of knowledge about lasers in many of the people operating them. In general, doctors and mid level providers (PA-Cs, ARNPs), and RNs know the most. Then come MAs, aestheticians and “technicians.” Just so you know…”technicians” and aestheticians have no medical degree, even if they call themselves medically medical technicians or medical aestheticians. To my knowledge, there is still no certified “degree” program for these categories.
- Each state regulates this differently.
What can I do as a consumer of laser services to stay safe and get good results?
- First, do your homework! Ask your doctor, ask friends, and look at the websites carefully. Yelp is worthless for this, because they penalize and hide positive review for clinics who don’t advertise with them. Google is a bit better, but not always reliable either.
- Look for board certified dermatologists. Be careful because websites will often say “board certified,” but the doctor is board certified in anesthesiology, ER medicine, or something else, and has decided to advertise as a dermatologist. This should be illegal, but isn’t unfortunately.
- Second, make sure you have a consult before scheduling. You can tell a lot by how the office runs and personnel in general. Don’t let yourself be pressured into same day decisions.
- If you have a good office, and you just didn’t get much result, call them and talk to them! Good offices really want their patients to get good results and can help you.
- If you were told you need a series of say… 3 – 5 treatments, before seeing results, believe them! Don’t expect to see much after one treatment.
- When you see results, depends on the laser and goals, and can be anywhere from about a month to 6 months.
- Know which laser you are getting and communicate your goals clearly to your provider.
Hope this helps, Dr. I