“Be good to your skin. You will wear it every day for the rest of your life”.
The desire to get flawless skin overnight is taking over a lot of women, who don’t mind undergoing even laser treatments and chemical peels, without giving a second thought to what may follow. Though it is true that these intensive procedures have penetrated the market very quickly but as always, there are two sides of the coin. Most of what looks like a breakthrough in facial procedures, is actually a bane. As they say, little knowledge can be dangerous, you must know the risks associated with laser skin treatments and chemical peels before opting for these procedures, some of which we will discuss in this article before moving on to the actual benefits.
Side Effects of Laser Treatment
While a laser treatment can deliver quick results, it’s not the results you think and definitely not for Pigmentation and it has a number of downsides. Some of the side-effects of a laser skin treatment are:
This is the Number 1 possible side effect of Laser treatments. Lasers work by burning the skin through laser. That is done either fractionally (hundreds of small tiny holes made into the skin) also called Fractional Laser or through regular lasers which burn the top layer of the skin and remove it. The idea is that skin will heal and become better. But most people don’t tell you that skin damage is the biggest reason for Pigmentation. Ever gotten an acne or an injury that left a dark mark?
Laser hair removal also works in a similar fashion by burning the dark hair on the skin as they absorb more light compared to the light colored surrounding skin. Laser’s aren’t suitable for all skin types, and usually work better on women with a very light skin tone because the laser beam gets absorbed less. Both the skin types – light and dark – are, however, susceptible to hypo and more so hyper-pigmentation (extra darkening of the skin). Asian skin is more prone to excess pigmentation than any other skin type and Indian skin is the Number 1 most prone to pigmentation because the color of our pigment is dark brown versus the light brown, red and yellow in western skins.
Increased Sensitivity to Sun
Cosmetic lasers heat the skin to encourage healing, which deteriorates its natural defense against the sun, and consequently, it might get more sensitive after the treatment. In short, the skin gets more prone to photodamage after undergoing a laser treatment and this sensitivity can become permanent. Sometimes lasers can cause scarring inside the skin which can cause numbness and loss of feeling
A demarcation line is a change in the skin color tone, which separates the areas where the laser was used from the areas where it wasn’t; loss of pigments during laser is the reason for the appearance of the line. Lips, eyes and jawline are the common areas where the line is visible. Remember, laser works by burning the skin, if its fractional or other types that penetrate deep into the skin, they can kill important melanocyte cells which if removed from that area will result in spotty whitening of the skin, also called Hypo-pigmentation.
Laser treatment can cause scars on the skin. Whether you will get scars or not is largely dependent on your skin type. Those who are prone to Pigmentation, have sensitive skin or getting keloids or scarring, therefore, should not undergo laser skin treatment.
Side Effects of Chemical Peels
A German scientist discovered that an easy-to-make acid was actually effective in peeling off a layer of skin cells, and it was marketed as a skin rejuvenation solution. The compound, Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA) is, nowadays, used by dermatologists to remove damaged skin cells and help patients get a brighter skin. Other Acids such as Glycolic, Lactic, Salicylic, Azelaic acid, are also used. These days a number of enzymatic peels have come in the market also. The revolutionary treatment, however, also have a number of side-effects:
Pigmentation / Discoloration
Similar to laser treatment, hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation are two common side effects of chemical peels. As mentioned before, the chemical peels damage the skin which stimulates the Melanocyte cells to make more pigment consequently making the skin dark. Initially there is a quick brightening of the skin because the top layer has been removed, however pigmentation happens from deep within and in just a few weeks the color comes back often with vengeance – even darker! Repeated peeling can make the Melanocyte cells permanently hyperactive causing permanent excess pigmentation or darkening of the skin.
Flaking and peeling of skin are minor side effects of the procedure, and usually go away after a few days. However, if you pick your skin before it heals completely, it could lead to infection or scarring with can destroy the look of the face.
Scabs and Crusting
Scabs and crusting are two common side-effects of chemical peeling, attributable to the stress on the skin caused by the acid solution. The chances of scabs and crusting are high if you undergo a deep peel session. The recovery period could be 7 days to 2 weeks. Enzyme peels seem to be less harsh but they too make skin thin and susceptible to external skin damage and don’t forget, the Melanocyte cell sitting deep in the skin is always on the lookout… any thinning or damage to the skin makes this cell stand up and start working. So no matter what type of peel it is, it will almost always trigger pigmentation.
Benefits of Laser Treatments & Chemical Peels
Laser treatments and chemical peels are originally for skin resurfacing, that is, making the skin smoother and removing bumps uneven texture. But that can only be done to such an extent, no laser or peel can create perfectly smooth, even textured skin unless you are the lucky one. But are the side effects worth it?
Lasers and Peels can smoothen the skin and give an instant evenness after the skin heals.
Temporary reduction of surface pigmentation
Why does your skin look brighter after laser and peels? That’s because the top layer gets removed. Ever peeled an Onion? The top layer is always dry and darker. It’s made of the same inside stuff but its dry and protects the inside living cells from outside damage. But the moment you peel the onion it looks brighter, smoother and more vibrant. That’s exactly what also happens with skin. But after sometime that fresh sensitive skin becomes dry and dead forming another layer on the skin bringing back skin’s original color and if you’re unlucky, then a darker color!
Achieving that flawless, enchanting skin requires commitment, paired with a little help from the right products that can go deep and help bring abnormal skin cells back to normal in a skin friendly manner, slowly and carefully.