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Do skin laser treatments really work?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Summer is over and it may be time to go below the surface of your skin to see the damage you've done. But from freckles to red spots and everything in between, the imperfections may be reversible.

Those years of sun bathing are catching up with Carla Eriksson.

"When I look in the mirror, most of the time I'll focus on my flaws," she said..

Flaws which used to be below the skin are coming to the surface.

"If I could just get some smoother skin, especially on my face and chest, that would be great," Eriksson said.

Brown and red spots, broken capillaries -- even spider veins. But according to anti-aging expert Dr. Richard LeConey, one machine can treat it all.

"This thing can tighten the skin, it can improve those brown spots and reduce the brown spots. It can eliminate the broken red capillaries," Dr. LeConey said.

It's called the Gemini Dual Frequency Laser, and it's considered the 'Cadillac' of lasers in the industry.

"Some of these things it can do in one treatment," Dr. LeConey said.

Dr. LeConey is targeting Eriksson's face, chest, and veins by her ankles -- all in one session.

But before you attempt any laser procedure, know what you're getting.

"When you go for a consultation, if the place has one or two machines, just make sure that the machine they're using is the right machine for your skin," said Dr. Ramsey Marcus with the Laser Surgery & General Dermatology at Baylor College Of Medicine.

Dr. Markus says research the place and the person operating the laser.

"Everything is available online nowadays. You can look up and see where someone's been educated, you can see what the experience, you can see the machines they have," Dr. Markus said.

Ask specific questions, like: how many procedures have you done? What kind of training have you had? Will there be any pain? How long will my recovery be?

In Eriksson's case, puffiness and redness are expected a couple days after the laser treatment.

Her results? First, the red spots.

"What you see is what you get. They literally blanch and kind of turn white and disappear on impact with the laser," Dr. LeConey said.

The brown spots like freckles get darker at first, before lightening and fading away.

LeConey says it takes approximately 10 days for that to happen.

As for skin tightening, it can take a month and a half, sometimes up to two months, Dr. LeConey said.

"Some of these beneficial effects still require your skin to do the work. We're just proving the trigger with the laser," he said.

Two weeks later, we checked in with Eriksson.

"I've seen marked improvements every area they treated, especially the chest; I can seen the most improvement there," Eriksson said. "The brown spots on my face have faded quite a bit."

And the veins around her ankle? She sees improvement. Now Eriksson says when she wakes up in the morning...

"I look in the mirror now and I'm like 'Wow, look at the improvement.' I am so happy," she said.

Laser treatments can be pricey, so expect to pay anywhere from $550 to $850 per area. The price is based on the type of treatment you choose, and in some cases, you may need to go back for more than one treatment.

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