FAQs Smoothbeam® Laser
WHAT TYPES OF LESIONS CAN BE TREATED WITH SMOOTHBEAM?
The Smoothbeam laser has been FDA approved for treating active acne, acne scars and fine lines. Some studies have shown up to 90% improvement after 3-4 treatments for acne with results lasting at least 18 months in most patient. Acne scars, one of the most challenging problems in dermatology, also improve an average of 50-60% with long lasting results after a series of treatments. Flesh colored bumps called sebaceous hyperplasia can also be improved with the Smoothbeam.
HOW DOES THE LASER WORK?
The 1450 nanometer wavelength of the Smoothbeam targets the sebaceous gland, the root of acne. It damages the gland in a safe and long lasting way to stop it from overproducing acne-causing sebum. In this manner, it has similar action to the oral medication Accutane® without the systemic side effects. The laser also targets water in the dermis layer of the skin, stimulating production of new collagen to improve the appearance of acne scars and wrinkles. The surface of the skin is protected by a dynamic cooling device. This allows effectiveness without any disruption of the epidermis, minimizing the risk of peeling, wound or scar formation, pain or downtime.
DOES TREATMENT HURT?
Each pulse of light feels like the snapping of a small rubber band, while a cool spray accompanying the laser pulse (cryogen) minimizes this brief discomfort. A topical numbing cream may further decrease discomfort. Topicaine, a very effective anesthetic gel, may be purchased in our office. Alternatively, LMX 4 or 5% cream (which is slightly more expensive than Topicaine) may be ordered from your pharmacy without a prescription. Apply an even layer of Topicaine or LMX 30 minutes before your appointment and to the area to be treated. (generally the entire face). Never use more than a 30 gram tube per day. Repeat the gel application after you check in for your appointment.
WHAT DOES THE SKIN LOOK LIKE AFTER TREATMENT?
Each pulse of light treats approximately the size of a pencil eraser. These spots may turn pink to slightly red. There may be slight swelling under the eyes after the treatment. Cover makeup can generally be used after 24 hours.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS?
Complications of treatment with the Smoothbeam laser are uncommon in acne treatment. Dark discoloration (hyperpigmentation) of the treated area is unlikely to occur and would fade over months; however, it is important to avoid sun exposure before and after treatment to minimize this risk. Light discoloration (hypopigmentation), bruising and scarring are extremely rare. It is important to follow pre-procedure instructions in order to minimize these risks. Laser light cannot penetrate deeper than the skin and will not harm internal organs, but goggles must be worn to protect the eyes. Improvement requires a series of treatments with some patients responding more quickly than others. As with any laser, there may be some patients who do not improve as expected despite adequate treatment. The risk of dark spots is higher when treating individual sebaceous hyperplasia lesions because of higher energies used. This generally fades over weeks with the addition of a bleaching cream.