When “new” isn’t better when it comes to lasers.

Where I get my botox, my technician was telling me about the laser treatment service they provide. It is called threeforme and although I have done some research I do not know a lot about it. I do know that although this is an Aesthetic Center, they do consult and work with Laser Surgery center in Sacramento. Wondering if you know anything about this particular laser and if you believe it is a good starting point. I am 66 years old and have pretty good skin, but am noticing most aging in my lower face. I talked to my Aesthetician, and she recommended this procedure along with some filler in the wrinkles at the sides of my face. I would appreciate your input on this laser procedure and if it is worth the cost....it is $300 each month for 3 months, one procedure each month. Then maintenance after 6 months from the last procedure. Thank you for your expertise, Jan

Every consumer of skincare services is now subjected to dozens of competing claims by doctors, mid-levels (PA-Cs and ARNPs), aestheticians, social media and print media.  There are now dozens of laser companies making several hundred “lasers” and laser cousins (IPL/BBLs).  Which to choose?  How do you avoid wasting your time and money?   Can they live up to their claims?

I really believe that most providers are trying to do the right thing by their patients.  And I also know that a little knowledge and minimal experience can be very dangerous.  So when you are a consumer, what do you do?

Some guidelines that may help:

  1. New is NOT better. Often these are just inferior or old technologies remarketed under a different name.
  2. Look for laser centers and providers that have been in business and providing treatments for at least 5-10 years.  For example, a PA-C who worked in our office several years ago, but never worked with lasers, recently set herself up and started marketing herself as a laser provider and expert.  Scary!
  3. How can you tell?  Go to your states’ business site to find the date of incorporation, or ask what year the provider was licensed.  Also, be careful to verify that the doctor is a dermatologist or plastic surgeon.  Sometimes ER docs, anesthesiologists, and family medicine docs will do aesthetic medicine.  They will say on their site that they are “board-certified,” but neglect to tell you that it’s ER medicine.
  4. Beware a lot of hype, the pressure to make same-day decisions, or package “deals.”  So many patients have paid for a package and then realized they don’t have confidence in the center. Pay only for one treatment in the beginning.

Bottom line:

Threeforme is just an IPL system made by Cynosure.  In my opinion, the claims she is making are unlikely to prove true. The only laser that is really capable of skin tightening is a CO2.   Several radiofrequency devices are capable of skin tightening.  If you are 66, and your main problem is sagging and wrinkles in your lower face, consider a CO2 laser with filler, or a Profound treatment.  If you live near Sacramento the Laser &  Skin Surgery Center of Northern California is excellent.

Hope this helps,
Dr. Brandith Irwin
Founder, SkinTour
Director, Madison Skin & Laser Center
Follow my skin tips and travels on Instagram!
Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

Ask me your skincare question!

Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

  • All our content is written and researched by myself.
  • My medical office in Seattle has treated thousands of patients for 15+ years.
  • This site is not affiliated or financially tied to any product, treatment or device.
Ask Me Something
SkinTour Skincare
One of the best investments in your skin is your daily skincare. Why? Because you can prevent many problems with blotchy skin color, lack of glow, texture, some types of acne, and fine lines with good skincare products. You can also correct some of these problems with effective skincare products. Great skincare is often more expensive because quality ingredients are expensive. Some companies spend on research/development which benefits all of us and adds to the cost. Are they worth it? In general - yes! I have handpicked some of what I consider to be the best skin care products, and offer them for sale on SkinTour's shop. This is based on my team and I's testing and research at our clinic. Many of the products are in my own regimen. What could be better than using skin care products a dermatologist uses?!