The Lowdown On Lasers - Everything You Need To Know

The Lowdown On Lasers - Everything You Need To Know

Jennifer Aniston swears by them, but what can lasers offer for their A-list price tags?

BEST FOR ALL OVER ANTI-AGEING = ERBIUM

What It Does

Laser virgins, be warned - this treatment is hardcore. But if you want to see dramatic changes in the condition, texture and tone of your skin, you need it in your life. 'It's essentially a face peel done with a laser.', says London's go-to facialist and professional laser-wielder Debbie Thomas. 'It's most commonly used fraxelated - this is where small dots of skin are burnt away, triggering the production of collagen (the building blocks to looking younger) in the healing process.'

What It Feels Like

While you're under the light, you'll feel a prickly sensation. Afterwards? It's the same sort of tenderness as bad sunburn.

Ouch Factor?

4.5 out of 5

Downtime?

A serious treatment calls for some serious downtime, so download your favourite box set and be prepared to stay off work for at least three days (ten max). You won't look like Samantha from Sex And The City post-chemical peel, but you will be a mild to medium red and your skin will start to flake.

What To Budget

After four to six one-hour sessions, you'll see smaller pores, fewer fine lines and plumper, healthier skin - promise!  From £550 per treatment.

And while you're building up the courage to get lasered why not try getting matched with a serum? Powder will tell you which one you need to tackle your biggest skin bugbears.

BEST FOR ACNE = ND:YAG

What It Does

'This is the most deeply penetrating of all the lasers,' says Thomas. 'That's why it works wonders for both active acne and red acne scars.'

What It Feels Like

It's a bit like a hot elastic band flicking over your skin. Sound painful? Trust us, you won't be in agony, but it might make you flinch if you're sensitive.

Ouch Factor?

3 out of 5

Downtime?

You'll have some mild redness for a few hours so try to book your session for the end of the day and skip cocktails with friends.

What To Budget

To be spot-free, you'll need between four and six 30 to 60 minute sessions, one to three weeks apart, depending on how bad your acne or scarring is. From £200 per session.

BEST FOR REDNESS = COPPER BROMIDE

What It Does

'This laser is super effective on red colouring, making it great for zapping veins and broken blood vessels,' says Thomas. It kills odd those annoyingly visible veins, which then slowly fade as they're absorbed by your body.

What It Feels Like

A warm tingling sensation as facial veins are banished.

Ouch Factor?

2 out of 5

Downtime?

You might end up with a hint of redness for a few hours post-treatment, but you can apply make-up straight away, so tuck your concealer stick and foundation into your handbag for emergencies.

What To Budget

Banish a ruddy complexion in about four to eight sessions, from 30 to 60 minutes each. From £200-£450 per treatment.

BEST FOR DARK SPOTS = ALEXANDRITE

What It Does

'This laser is very sensitive to colour, so it's ideal for treating sun spots and pigmentation,' says Thomas. Think of it as a large magnet that latches onto those dark patches that cropped up after last summer's trip to Ibiza and shatters them into small pieces.

What It Feels Like

An intense hot flick. 'It feels similar to the copper bromide laser, but it's used as a targeted treatment to zap visible dark spots only, not your entire face, so you won't feel the sting as much.'

Ouch Factor?

1.5 out of 5

Downtime?

Four to ten days. The zapped dark spots get darker, then flake off, leaving you with clear skin in their place.

What To Budget

To get rid of sun spots, you'll need one to two sessions of five to 30 minutes, depending on how much pigmentation you have. From £90-£420 per session.

TOP TIP: Hate your sun spots but have super sensitive skin? Ask for the Q-switched laser instead. It's much kinder to reactive skin, meaning you'll see less redness and inflammation afterwards.

 

 
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