Laser and Light-Based Procedures

At the Mount Sinai Health System, our Department of Dermatology uses lasers to treat a wide variety of cosmetic skin conditions. Lasers create an intense, bright light that produces heat. When we direct this laser at your skin, it precisely removes wrinkles, lesions, hair, and other blemishes from the surface. There are many types of lasers, and we pick the type that is most appropriate for your body. We use lasers most often for the following conditions.

Laser Hair Removal

Removing unwanted hair is one of the most common cosmetic procedures. We use several types of lasers to destroy the base of the hair follicle. We use the Lightsheer Duet® and the Syneron Candela GentleMax®. You should not feel much discomfort during the procedure. If you do, we can use a topical numbing cream. After the procedure, your skin will be red and irritated. You might also have mild bruising. For the best results, we need to catch the hair in its growth phase.

The following areas are commonly treated:

  • Facial hair removal: Every three to four weeks
  • Underarm hair removal: Every four to six weeks
  • Bikini line hair removal: Every four to six weeks
  • Arm hair removal: Every six to eight weeks
  • Leg hair removal: Every six to eight weeks
  • Torso (back/stomach/chest) hair removal: Every six weeks

Skin Resurfacing

We use laser resurfacing to reduce the appearance of facial wrinkles and skin irregularities such as blemishes or scars. Lasers help us apply heat precisely to microscopic areas of the skin. We can remove the skin that is flawed, layer-by-layer. When the new skin cells form, your skin becomes tighter, clearer, smoother and more uniform. With some of these lasers, we apply numbing cream one hour before treatment. We use several laser devices, depending on your skin type, your concerns, and how much time you have for recovery. We offer the following skin resurfacing systems:

  • Clear and Brilliant® Laser System: This treatment gently improves skin tone and texture with a single treatment that takes 10-20 minutes. The original Clear and Brilliant® device works best to improve skin texture, reduce pore size, and enhance glow. The Permea device is best for pigmentation problems and melasma. It requires minimal recovery time. For best results, we recommend four treatments, one month apart.
  • Fraxel® Dual 1550/1927 System: This treatment uses two lasers to improve your skin’s appearance: the 1550nm Erbium glass Fraxel® and the 1927nm Thulium fiber Fraxel®. The first works best to treat scarring and textural problems. The second helps with pigmentation problems. The procedure usually takes 20 to 30 minutes. Most people need three to five treatments spaced one month apart. It is normal to have redness and bronzing for up to two weeks after treatment.
  • Total FX UltraPulse®: This treatment uses two lasers to improve scars and to remove fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation problems. It tightens skin and gives you a youthful look. The results are consistent and long lasting. The process takes about 45 minutes, depending on the area we are treating. Afterwards, you may have redness and feel as if you have a bad sunburn for a week or two. This is because your skin is recovering and stimulating new collagen.

Pigmented Lesion Removal

We use lasers to remove pigmented skin lesions, including benign sunspots, birthmarks, and brown patches (melasma). We may need to perform several treatments for the best results. We use multiple systems, including Clear + Brilliant®, Fraxel DUAL®, True Spot UltraPulse® and the Syneron Candela Alex Trivantage®. We choose the treatment most appropriate for your lesion and skin type.

Tattoo Removal

Lasers can successfully remove unwanted tattoos. Tattoo inks often contain heavy metals, which is what gives them their permanency. We use the Q-switch laser technology to target tattoo ink and break it down into small particles. Your body’s own immune system then absorbs the small tattoo microparticles.  We may also use resurfacing lasers (Fraxel DUAL® or Total FX UltraPulse®) after to improve any textural abnormalities caused by removing the tattoo. We use a topical numbing cream or an injection of local anesthetic. You can expect your skin to be red and irritated during the treatment. You may also have bruising and sometimes blistering. It will take one or two weeks for your skin to heal. Most people need between 4 and 12 treatments for complete tattoo removal. It is easier to remove black and blue tattoos than yellow, green and orange ones.

Treating Red Marks

We use lasers to treat red marks on the skin such as spider veins, stretch marks, vascular birthmarks, red scars and rosacea. The laser targets hemoglobin in blood cells, which destroys the blood vessels that are causing the redness. We usually use a laser called the Syneron Candela Vbeam Perfecta®. Most patients need two or three treatments for the best results.

MiraDry® for Excessive Sweating (Hyperhidrosis)

Sweating in the armpits can be uncomfortable and embarrassing, and can make you feel self-conscious. Often, antiperspirants often do not stop sweating and deodorants do not mask odors.  Miradry® is a device that uses electromagnetic energy to eliminate the sweat glands in your armpits. This energy destroys the sweat glands, which reduces armpit sweating permanently. You may need several treatments for the best results.

Intense Pulsed Light Treatments

We use intense pulsed light (IPL) and broad based light (BBL) to treat a variety of benign skin conditions. This gentle approach uses light to penetrate the skin and address problems including age spots, sunspots, sun damage, freckles, and rosacea. We use it most often on the face, neck, chest, and hands. Treatments typically take less than 30 minutes. This is safe and effective for a variety of skin types with minimal downtime.

Photodynamic Therapy

We use photodynamic therapy to treat sun damage and actinic keratosis.  The approach uses a topical medication called Levulan Kerastick® (aminolevulinic acid) and a specific type of blue wave light called BLU-U® (peak wavelength 417 nm). When we expose the Levulan to the blue light, it destroys the exposed precancerous cells and actinic keratoses. A full face-and-neck treatment takes about 90 minutes. We can do smaller areas more quickly. We also use photodynamic therapy for acne and rejuvenation.