• 2016-4-960

    What is a dermatologic surgeon?

    Part of a progressive medical subspecialty, ASDS member dermatologists perform medically necessary and cosmetic procedures to improve the health, function and beauty of skin through every stage of life.

  • 2016-3-960

    From forehead furrows to frown lines…

    Performing more than 5 million cosmetic procedures each year, ASDS member dermatologists offer many treatments that are less intense, safer and have quicker recovery times than ever before.

  • 2016-2-960

    3 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every year

    Any suspicious new growths or changes should be examined by a dermatologist immediately. ASDS member dermatologists are trained to select the best treatment choice based on the individual patient.

  • 2016-1-960

    From excess fat to wrinkles…

    Offering a range of office-based cosmetic procedures, ASDS member dermatologists can select the appropriate treatment choice to meet your individual goals.

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In This Section

Laser/light Therapy


Uses for Laser/light therapy


Learn more about specific conditions where laser/light therapy can be used


What is laser/light therapy?

Laser/light therapy is a non-invasive procedure that uses light energy to repair and regenerate damaged skin. Benefits of the procedure include:

Elevation of ATP production, resulting in increased energy for cells.Increased endorphin production, resulting in less need for pain medication.Improved immune response.Improved DNA production to promote healing.Promotion of collagen production to reduce wrinkles and scarring.Better lymphatic drainage to reduce swelling.Improved circulation.Reduced inflammation.  

What should first be done before considering laser/light therapy?

Before the procedure, an ASDS doctor will usually review the patient’s medical history and conduct a physical exam. This is the time for the doctor and patient to discuss expectations, potential risks and outcomes of the procedure. Patients also should avoid:

Sunbathing, tanning beds, waxing, chemical peels or collagen injections for two weeks prior to the procedure.Perfumes, deodorants or any potential irritants in the treatment area before and after treatment.Aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements due to increased risk of bleeding. 

D. Wu IPL - photoagingsolar lentigenes_censored 
 Before (left) and after (right) IPL - photoaging - solar lentigenes

Photo courtesy of D. Wu 
B. Fitzgerald patient - after Botox to glabella, IPL to skin, Restylane to tear troughs and outer eye brow_censored (1) 
Before (left) and after (right) Botox to glabella, IPL to skin, Restylane to tear troughs and outer eyebrow

Photo courtesy of B. Fitzgerald 

When is laser/light therapy appropriate?

Laser/light therapy is appropriate for the following conditions:

Who is not a candidate for laser/light therapy?

Patients with any of the following conditions are not good candidates for laser/light therapy:

Goldman_IPL - face solar lentigenesmelasmabrown spots1_censored 
 Before (left) and after (right) - IPL to face solar lentigenes, melasma, and brown spots treatment.  
goldman_IPL  - face - rosacea, solar lentigenes, and photodamage_censored 
Before (left) and after (right) face - rosacea, solar lentigenes, and photodamage treatment.  
  • Are taking or recently taken Accutane.
  • Are subject to keloid scarring.
  • Exhibit severe or unusual scar formations.
  • Are pregnant.
  • Have recently tanned or suffered severe sun burn.
  • Have active acne.
  • Are dark skinned.
  • Are on blood thinners.
  • Have skin resurfacing disorders.

Is laser/light therapy painful?

During the procedure, patients may feel a pinch similar to the snapping of a rubber band. Topical anesthetic or chilled gel may be applied to prevent discomfort.

What are the potential complications of laser/light therapy?

M Lupo MD, patient SCD - after IPL_censored 
 Before (left) and after (right) IPL.  

Photo courtesy of M. Lupo, MD  
S. Manjula Jegasothy - Before- chest - Pulsed Dye Laser 
 Before (left) and after (right) Pulsed Dye Laser on chest

Photo courtesy of S. Manjula Jegasothy  
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Discoloration
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Crusting

What can I expect after having had laser/light therapy?

Patients may not see any significant changes until several weeks after the procedure. Other post-procedure issues include:

  • Treated area may be pink or red for four to eight hours after treatment.
  • A slight stinging sensation, similar to a mild sunburn in the treated area. This sensation usually subsides within four to six hours. Cool packs or moist cloths may be applied to reduce the sensation.
  • Mild swelling in the treatment area that usually dissipates within several days.

In addition, patients should:

  • Avoid applying makeup or lotion to the treated area for either 24 hours or until all signs or redness and stinging have dissipated.
  • Apply a good moisturizing lotion to the treated area twice daily for the duration of the treatments and for at least three months after final treatment.
M Lupo MD, patient SCD - after IPL_censored 
 Before (left) and after (right) IPL to

S. Fabi patient before and after Intense Pulsed LIght to chest 
 Before (left) and after (right) IPL to 

Photo courtesy of S. Fabi  

For more information and referrals

For more information on skin conditions and treatments, along with a list of ASDS members in your state, please visit the find a dermatologic surgeon section of our website.

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