Laser Mishaps: When Treatment Goes Wrong

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Lasers can do great things. They can remove hair and reverse the signs of aging. They can also dissolve fat as part of a liposuction procedure. But when placed in the wrong hands, they can lead to severe damage.

You can liken lasers to heat weapons. If too much energy is applied, bad things like skin burns and scarring can happen. If you are going in for any type of laser procedure, you definitely want to be in trained hands. You want a physician, a licensed physician assistant, a nurse practitioner or registered nurse doing your procedure. Also, don't have laser treatments when you are tanned because the laser light is picked up by darker skin pigmentation. Lasers are much less effective on removing unwanted hair or diminishing wrinkles on tanned skin.

During the treatment, if the laser treatment is extremely painful, tell your doctor so he can lower the settings. If after the treatment, your skin is persistently red or there is blistering, be sure to go right back to your doctor to be treated with the proper healing and lubricating agents to minimize the chance of scarring.

You can consult the American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery , the American Academy of Dermatologic Surgery, American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery or the American Society of Plastic Surgeons to find a trained physician who can give you the best results.

Dr. Neil Sadick is one of the most renowned dermatologists and researchers whose multiple discoveries have strongly influenced and transformed the future of dermatology. He is a Professor of Dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College and President of the Cosmetic Surgery Foundation. Dr. Sadick is author, or co-author, of more than 500 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals and has contributed more than 75 chapters of medical books. Read more at