Lasers have been around for quite a while, but just exactly how much do we know about them? The word "laser" is actually an acronym for "light amplified stimulated emission of radiation" — a medium is stimulated in a particular way to emit radiation (not the nuclear type) of a wave form of energy, such as light.
Since the 1990s, lasers in dermatology and aesthetics have come of age. These aren't the same carbon dioxide lasers used for cutting in surgery. Laser tattoo removal, birthmark or any discolorations in the skin, spider veins, hair removal, acne treatment and so on are only a few of the current new applications.
Dr. Colin Herd has been using lasers since the early '90s, and he's learned from the pioneers of this method and seen them change and improve over time. He explains that there are certain unique features of laser light: its predictability and accuracy, the intensity of laser light being constant all along the beam and every different type of light having a unique property, such as its color.
Each particular laser predictably and accurately interacts with a target in the skin (a tattoo, hair, brown spot, red vein, etc.), and the light is absorbed into its target but not by the skin. Heat is released when the energy of the laser is absorbed by the target; the patient might feel the heat, but cooling devices are used to temper this. Some fire only 17 nanoseconds (1/17 billionth of a second), which is almost incomprehensible; most fire in the millisecond domain, a very brief release.
Herd uses 10 different lasers, each one having a specific use, and he says it's important to use the right "tool" for the right job. He was the first in Ohio to use lasers for hair removal in 1996. You can contact him at his Cosmetic Laser and Vein Center in Evendale at 513-769-8346.
CONTACT JANET BERG via her Web site, www.janetberg.com