When To Start Laser Treatments, According to Dermatologists

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Lasers are increasingly being used in the skincare world—so much so that you can now buy even handheld devices to reap some of the benefits at home. And while some of us might worry that we're too young, or too old, to start undergoing laser procedures, experts agree that age doesn't have much to do with lasers, at all.

Instead, when you start using lasers depends on what you're looking to target—fine lines, wrinkles, skin laxity, or discoloration. For more on when to start laser treatments for the skin, and what to keep in mind when you do, we turned to Sue Ann Wee, MD, and Elizabeth Tanzi, MD.

Learn more about what they had about when to start laser treatments, below.

Meet the Expert

When to Start Laser Treatments

Both Dr. Wee and Dr. Tanzi say that starting laser treatments depends less on age and more on what is being treated. "Age is irrelevant," says Dr. Tanzi.

“For example, port wine stains that cause red discoloration can be treated during infancy,” adds Dr. Wee. “Acne scarring can be treated in teens. And superficial wrinkles can be treated as early as the 20s and 30s. In fact, many laser and other devices show greater tissue remodeling response in younger age groups.”

Certain Types of Lasers Are Better for Certain Ages

Certain signs of aging—like fine lines and rough skin—are more noticeable in those who are over age 40, while things like sun damage can be seen even in the 20s. So keep in mind what you want to target when selecting a laser treatment. Intensive laser resurfacing—i.e. anything that requires more than a week to recover—is best suited for those in their 40s and 50s, while gentler treatments like Clear + Brilliant are best for those in their 20s or 30s.

The best route is to ask your skin care specialist if you're a good candidate for a particular treatment and go from there.

Other Things to Keep in Mind

Dr. Tanzi says that the skin type of the person getting the laser treatment, as well as the time of year can also impact when someone should start their laser treatment.

“There are some laser treatments we do not perform in the summer, because having a tan at the time of laser treatment would cause side effects,” she says.

When Not to Get a Laser Treatment

Dr. Wee says your dermatologist can help determine whether or not you’re a good candidate for laser, as there are quite a few considerations. “Some possible issues where an individual may not be a good candidate include any medical condition that can result in poor wound healing, keloid formers, recent isotretinoin use in past six to 12 months (your doctor can determine wait time), active infection or inflammation in the treatment area, and vitiligo history, among other issues,” she says.

She adds: “Those looking for a major change in their appearance after only one laser session should temper their expectations beforehand; otherwise, I would not recommend they get a laser treatment.”

The Takeaway

Age is largely irrelevant when it comes to deciding whether or not to undergo laser treatments. Your dermatologist can help you determine if you're a candidate by looking at numerous factors like what you're looking to treat, your skin type, and more.

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