Side Effects And Safety Of Laser, Radio-Frequency & Needling Devices
The purpose of this article is to provide balanced information about skin-targeted cosmetic procedures and the associated risks.
RADIO FREQUENCY DEVICES
Radio Frequency devices are used to rejuvenate the skin, improve collagen and reduce fat by targeting fat cells causing them to be absorbed by the body. The applicator is in contact with the skin and requires application of gel during treatment. FACELAB also has contactless devices that target the deeper fat layers.
The treatment area(s) will be exposed to various degrees of heat and you may experience intense heat. Completing a full treatment series involving 2-5 sessions spaced at 7-10 days apart is necessary to maximize treatment efficacy.
Risks and complications specific to Radio Frequency Devices:
The General Risks that are common to all cosmetic procedures described below also apply to Radio Frequency Devices, but there are also some specific risks that include the following: Erythema (redness) and/or Dryness; reduced thermal sensation, hypersensitive skin, or impaired blood flow; heat injury to the tissue surrounding a metal-containing IUD;although unlikely, skin burns or blisters may occur due to excessive exposure; and increased menstrual flow in women receiving treatment to the lower back, pelvic area or thighs;
Reasons why you should NOT use this treatment:
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding;
- Pacemaker or internal defibrillator;
- Any active or non-active metal implants, including dental implants that are inserted into the cheekbones, but excluding standard dental implants;
If any of the above applies to you, you must inform your clinician immediately as the relevant or affected areas must be avoided, or you may not be suitable for the treatment altogether.
LASER & INTENSE PULSED LIGHT (IPL)
A laser is a beam of light with a specific wavelength. Some wavelength can only be absorbed by very specific cells, pigments, hair follicles, vessels, bacteria or structures of the skin, causing them to be either stimulated, heated, denatured, or destroyed. Biomedically engineered parameters of how the laser beam is delivered (width, duration, pulsing, and fractioning) allow the clinician to also control the depth and target very specific structures for a specific effect.
IPL’s are also based on light absorption, but do not offer the same level of control as lasers and are more likely to result in collateral damage. IPL’s may be suited or desired in some situations.
Risks and complications specific to Lasers and IPL’s:
The risks that are common to all cosmetic procedures described below also apply to lasers and IPL’s, but there are also some specific risks that include: redness, peeling, increased or loss of pigmentation of the skin, and dry or sensitive skin. There is also a risk to your eyes so it is critical that you wear and do not remove the fitted eye protection, and try to keep your eyes closed.
Reasons why you should NOT use Lasers or IPL’s:
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding;
- The use of ACCUTANE /Roaccutane or similar medications (often used for Severe Acne) in the last 6 months;
- Recent and planned sun exposure;
- Any laser or IPL in the last 21 days on the same area;
- History of Keloid formation;
- Certain medication which are photosensitive to light (please check with your doctor);
- Autoimmune diseases, Lupus, Vitiligo, Epilepsy, Scleroderma;
- Active Cancer (current receiving Chemotherapy or radiation);
- Heavy smokers (healing times are longer);
- When specifically treating vessels: diabetes or a history of scarring or poor wound healing;
- When specifically targeting deeper tissues (tightening or fat reduction): any implanted foreign body (joint replacement, mesh, clips, orthopaedic repair hardware) underlying the intended treatment area; blood disorder; keloids or scars in the treatment area; hernia, rectus diastasis (separation of muscle in the abdomen), or aneurysm; metabolic disorder;
If any of the above applies to you, you must inform your clinician immediately as the relevant areas must be avoided, or you may not be suitable for the treatment altogether.
Laser Treatment of Acne
Acne occurs when the pores on your skin become blocked with oil, dead skin, and/or bacteria. Each pore on your skin is the opening to a follicle. The follicle is made up of a hair and a sebaceous (oil) gland. The oil gland releases sebum (oil), which travels up the hair, out of the pore, and onto your skin. When the pores become blocked, infection/pus can accumulate causing ‘pusy acne’.
FACELAB offers a laser acne treatment protocol that provides a truly comprehensive solution to the problem of acne. FACELAB’s precisely controlled Nd:YAGlaser light safely penetrates into skin to effectively target overactive sebaceous glands and reduce the risk of developing new acne inflammation. In addition to its thermal penetration effects, the Nd:YAG acne laser treatment also accelerates the healing process and stimulates collagen remodelling, an important step in the long-term treatment of acne.
Laser Hair Reduction
FACELAB utilises revolutionary laser technology to effectively target hair follicles resulting in hair removal treatments considered by many of the top experts in this area as the best among the numerous technologies currently available.
Physiology of Hair:
Hair grows in 3 different stages and the only time the hair follicle can be destroyed is when it is in the Anagen (growing) stage. The duration of the hair cycle and the percentage of hair in the Anagen phase is different for all areas of the body, which affects the number of treatments required.
The depth of hair follicles varies throughout the body. Age, ethnicity, metabolism, medications and changes in hormones affect the location, resilience and thickness of hair. These factors influence the success of laser hair removal and multiple treatments are required to eliminate or reduce the amount of hair in treated area;
Potential Side Effects of Laser Hair Removal:
Studies and experience with this technology have shown these to be some potential complications and side effects.
- 10-20% chance of developing hypo and/or hyperpigmentation;
- Purpura, blistering, crusting;
- Freckles and brown spots may lighten and disappear;
- Pimples, redness and swelling;
- Purple mottling discolouration can occur with hair removal on legs;
- Some reports have documented the incidence of increased growth of facial hair on females especially in the neck area and it may not resolve with further treatments;
Simulated hair growth can happen on other areas of the body; however, it is a very low percentage.
Laser Treatment of Warts
Warts are small, benign growths caused by a viral infection of the skin or mucous membrane. The virus infects the surface layer. The viruses that cause warts are members of the human papilloma virus (HPV) family. Warts are not cancerous but some strains of HPV, usually not associated with warts, have been linked to cancer.
Warts are contagious from person to person and from one area of the body to another on the same person. There is no one recommended method for eliminating warts.
FACELAB’s Nd: YAG laser is a treatment option for the removal of warts and is based on the principle of photomechanical (heat induced) destruction of the target tissue.
Laser Tattoo Removal
FACELAB’s lasers are engineered to specifically target tattoo ink and cause it to disintegrate to be subsequently absorbed through the body’s lymphatic system and white blood cells.
Dark (blue and black) inks, as well as red, orange and purple inks, will usually be the easiest to remove from the skin. Green and yellow inks are the most difficult to remove and usually require additional treatments to achieve significant fading. Different colour tattoo pigments may respond at different rates so that some coloured areas may require more treatments than others. In general, darker colours can be expected to respond more than lighter colours.
Micro needling involves puncturing the skin with sterile micro-needles to stimulate collagen and improve absorption of active topical medicaments in the scalp or face. It is used to treat scars, hair loss, or simply for skin rejuvenation. Following the procedure you may experience redness which may last a few days.
GENERAL RISKS OF DERMAL, VASCULAR, COSMETIC OR THERAPEAUTIC PROCEDURES
It is important to understand that the results after a series of treatments may not be visible until the skin and collagen have undergone multiple physiological cycles of repair and regeneration (1-2 months). In the case of fat reduction, the denatured fat must be absorbed by the body and the results may take 2-3 months after completion of the last treatment to be visible.
Most patients are pleased with the results of the procedures described above, however, like any treatment, there is no guarantee that you will be completely satisfied. No guarantees are made that wrinkles, folds, fat or blood vessels will disappear completely, or that you will not require additional treatment to achieve the results you seek at an additional cost to you.
The duration of treatment results is also dependent on many factors including but not limited to: age, sex, condition/colour of skin and hair, hormonal changes, medication, your general health, life style conditions, sun exposure and some activities.
There are certain inherent potential risks and side effects in any cosmetic or therapeutic procedure, which include but are not limited to:
- Post treatment discomfort, tenderness, swelling, redness, and/or bruising
- Discoloration or pigment changes, which is usually a temporary reaction, but on rare occasions may be permanent;
- Post treatment bacterial, and/or fungal infection, and a remote risk that this may become blood-born and require hospitalisation;
- Allergic reaction;
- Reactivation of herpes (cold sores);
- Lumpiness, scarring, visible yellow or white patches;
- Uneven appearance of the treated areas;
Downtime: Some skin treatments of the face may result in redness or peeling varying from 1 to 7 days or more. This can be adjusted depending on your desires, needs, tolerance and expectations. Some treatments with a longer downtime lead to a better result in a shorter period of time with less appointments required.
Risk of cancer: Certain lesions of the skin may be unassumingly cancerous or pre-cancerous. The type/nature of a mole may be difficult for the clinician to ascertain without a biopsy. Your recollection of the history of a mole can provide important information. If you have any raised or flat mole in the treatment area, which has changed in appearance/size; or, bleeds from time to time; or, looks like a sore that doesn’t heal, then you must bring this to the attention of your clinician immediately. The desirable effects of laser treatment in removing a pigmentated or raised lesion may also have the consequence of making the type/nature of a skin lesion more difficult to pick because of the visual or physiological changes that may occur to the mole / area.