Thinking about whether to go for that laser treatment, or simply want to know more about what they are? Here’s a guide to help you understand more about laser treatments, and hopefully bring you one step closer to making the right decision!

What are laser treatments?

Laser treatments can be used to treat a wide range of issues, from removing pigmentation, to hair removal, to general skin brightening. The treatments largely involve a strong burst of light from the machine “hitting” the surface of your skin (to most people it feels quite like pulses of sharp and hot sensation). Generally, the post-treatment effects are similar; your skin might appear flushed/swollen, but this usually goes away in 24-48 hours. Read on to find out about some of the different laser treatments available!

1. Acne laser treatment

Acne is caused by bacteria that multiply deep in the hair follicles, which may then lead to inflamed pus-filled spots and cysts that appear on your face. The Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) laser is effective in treating acne (normally require multiple sessions, depending on your skin condition) as the light energy travels through the epidermis and dermis layers of your skin and strikes the bacteria.

2. Laser treatment for removing pigmentation

Pigmentation is not uncommon at all; exposure to sun, environmental factors, and ageing are all possible factors for the production of an excess skin pigment called melanin, which may result in discoloured marks and patches on our skin. Laser treatment can be used to even out your skin tone. The wavelengths of light from the laser machine will be absorbed by the pigmented areas. The light then “breaks down” the pigment, and the spots/patches will gradually disappear after multiple treatments.

3. Laser hair removal

This helps you remove unwanted hair and ingrown hairs on face and/or body. Similar to the acne laser treatment, the light energy from the laser travels through the epidermis and dermis layers of your skin. It then hits the melanin in the hair follicle; as melanin absorbs light and gains heat, the hair-producing cells around the follicle are destroyed. However, the result are not immediate – hair only starts clearing after a few treatments, and treatment have to be done every four to six weeks.

4. Laser tattoo removal

Laser treatment can permanently remove tattoos of all shapes and sizes (note that black coloured tattoos are more responsive and go away more quickly than multi-coloured ones). The laser energy targets the dyes in your skin and selectively destroys the foreign pigments. While damage to the surrounding skin is minimised, the skin may appear red and inflammed, but may be cooled with an ice-pack. Tattoo removal laser treatments can achieve visible lightening effects within a single treatment, though for almost full removal, multiple treatments are needed.

5. Skin brightening laser treatment

Having dull and lifeless skin? Laser treatment might just be the solution! Lasers can be used to brighten up your skin by gently “destroying” the skin on the surface and revealing new and brighter skin from beneath. Read about our editor’s skin brightening laser treatment here!

6. Skin resurfacing laser treatment

This treatment helps to reduce facial wrinkles (especially around your eyes or mouth or on your forehead) and skin irregularities such as those caused by pimple or acne scars. Both short and long laser pulses are used: the short pulse is targeted at the irregular skin, removing the skin layer by layer, allowing new skin to be regenerated. The long pulse stimulates cells under the skin to produce collagen – this lifts the skin to cover the skin irregularities. Do note that if you have acne or very dark skin, this might not be a suitable treatment for you.