Forget extractions and masks: laser treatments are revolutionising the skincare game in the UAE.
The laser revolution is leading the way in hi-tech skincare. Friday looks at how these powerful beams are changing the beauty game
Remember the days when a trip to the facialist meant lying horizontal for an hour of cleansing, squeezing and layers of lotions and potions? Now, booking a beauty treatment means navigating a hi-tech menu with Nasa-worthy lasers to turn back the clock.
These beams are used for everything from rejuvenating the skin and banishing acne scars to zapping rosacea and sun damage.
The first laser was built in 1960 – the term laser originated as an acronym for ‘light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation’. Rapid technical developments have meant that these revolutionary lights have forever changed the face of the beauty game.
More and more people are turning to these as an alternative to more intrusive treatments such as going under the knife, in part due to the limited downtime.
Margaret Lorimer, founder of L’Esprit clinic in Dubai, says lasers are becoming the most popular way to wage war on ageing.
‘These days I find that clients are using lasers as a go-to first and even delaying using the options of Botox and fillers because of the great long-term effects.’
The most common use of lasers when they were introduced was for hair removal, but now everyone is using them as a quick fix for skin rejuvenation.
Dubai-based TV host Hermoine Macura says looking camera-ready at all times is a priority and she regularly uses lasers as part of her monthly beauty regime. ‘I used to love having facials at the salon but now I find laser treatments are convenient, there is little pain involved and they get almost instant results. Depending on what I want to focus on, whether it’s sun damage or fine lines, it’s my go-to beauty treatment.’ While it all sounds hi-tech, the science behind it is simple. Lasers basically direct short, concentrated pulsating beams of light on target areas. Lasers go deep beneath the skin dermis to injure the skin so the body has to heal, which boosts collagen and uncovers more youthful skin. Some remove the skin that has been dulled over time thanks to the environment, lifestyle and poor health choices, and uncover fresh, youthful skin beneath.
It’s important to remember that with laser technology developing at the speed of light, that not all lasers are created equal and there is no one-size-fits-all approach.
When it comes to adding lasers to your skincare regime, there are two types to consider: ablative and non-ablative lasers.
Ablative lasers were among the first to be introduced for skin resurfacing and are fast and effective. The downside is that because of their superpowers, clients can be required to take time off normal activities as the skin starts to heal.
Think of it like peeling an orange – these high-energy beams remove the top of the epidermis layer by layer, forcing the body to repair itself; this in turn boosts collagen and helps erase signs of pigmentation and acne scars.
Sounds painful? Prior to the treatment the dermatologist usually applies an anaesthesia. The most common ablative lasers are the Fraxel RePair and Active Fx. Be warned though, after this treatment looking in the mirror might have you questioning your beauty-game sanity. Following the procedure, usually during the first week, the skin will flake and peel before the results of fresher-looking skin are revealed. Expect to see severely red skin that needs to be handled with extreme care and given time to heal out of direct sunlight – sometimes up to two weeks. It’s best to book when you don’t have to be seen on the party circuit.
Hollywood golden girl Jennifer Aniston describes herself as a ‘laser junkie’. The star admits she became obsessed with lasers after she noticed sun spots on her face thanks to her lifestyle in the Californian sun. She says of her laser experience, ‘It was like a peel that was extremely intense. I looked like a burns victim for a week and then my skin started to fall off for like eight days.”
While ablative lasers are highly effective, the most popular go-to laser today is the non-ablative option – it is less invasive and there is less downtime, which, let’s face, it is an attractive option when working long hours. The laser beams deep into the skin, but leaves the top layer of the skin intact.
Think of it like peeling an orange – high-energy beams remove the top of the epidermis, FORCING the body to REPAIR itself; this in turn BOOSTS COLLAGEN and helps erase pigmentation and acne scars
The most popular fractional nonablative laser on the market is the Fraxel Dual. These lasers work on skin rejuvenation, pigmentation and wrinkles as the heat encourages the skin to tighten to give a more youthful appearance.
Wavelengths of light penetrate deep into the skin and it is a great alternative for those looking to tighten up skin, especially around the chin area, and those who aren’t ready for more invasive procedures.
UK dermatologist Dr Rita Rakus is known for her celebrity list of clients. She says Fraxel facial laser treatments are among the most popular to rejuvenate the skin and are loved by London’s high society, who pop into her swish London bolthole each month for a laser fix.
Oscar winner and Goop guru Gwyneth Paltrow admits that she turns to the popular Thermage treatment, often referred to as ‘face ironing’, to banish wrinkles in her 40s.
“I don’t mind a few wrinkles and freckles. I had this laser treatment recently and it took a couple of years off my face, but I haven’t had any plastic surgery yet,” she says.
The Thermage facial is non-invasive and uses radiofrequency to smooth and tighten skin. The applicator targets energy to stimulate collagen production beneath the skin’s surface.
The best bit about these lasers are that there is limited downtime and little redness or flakiness. It’s also popular for women juggling work as it can be done in their lunch hour and patients can be back at their desk in under 60 minutes. While the treatment yields great results, they are not as powerful as ablative lasers so for optimum results patients require a succession of treatments, sometimes up to six, spaced apart.
One of the latest laser treatments on the market in Dubai is the Aerolase Lightpod. Margaret, of L’esprit clinic, which uses the laser, says it has 32 applications for cosmetic treatments so is among one of the most versatile in the region.
“It stands apart from other lasers due to the innovative technology. It is the size of a briefcase but most importantly it is great for those who want pain-free and
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problem-free treatments as we can treat all skin types without any downtime, risk of burning or, simply, pain. She adds that it is used by many Hollywood doctors.
Medical aesthetician at Dubai Cosmetic Surgery Lola Ali Mohammad says one of the most popular treatments at the clinic is the Carbon Laser Peel.
The treatment incorporates the use of a laser on the surface of the skin after a black carbon layer cream has been applied.
“The carbon layer cream acts as a photo-enhancer, which vaporises when the laser is applied – a thin layer of skin is lifted to reveal younger, glowing skin.
“It’s a lunch-hour procedure that is very popular with A-listers due to its non-invasive, zero pain and zero downtime qualities,” she explains.
After a laser treatment, dermatologists warn the number one key to looking after your skin and to avoid any further damage is to stay out of the sun, as skin can be hypersensitive – always wear at least SPF50 sunscreen.
With lasers at the forefront of anti-ageing it looks like the face of beauty will continue to change. Just consult a dermatologist for the best option to suit your skin needs.