Q: What do you think has been the biggest advancement in recent years when it comes to lasers and skincare?
Amberg: The biggest advancement is the discovery that low-level laser therapies (LLLT) can stimulate many of the body’s natural metabolic activities (photo-stimulation). LLLT delivers a variety of aesthetic effects, including improvement of fine lines and wrinkles, fat reduction, body contouring, and acne treatment, versus high-energy lasers that thermally damage or destroy targeted structures within the skin (photothermolysis) and depend upon the body’s wound-healing response.
Berzak: The biggest advancement is the ability to provide a range of skin treatments, including non-ablative, fractionally ablative, and fully ablative. This range of treatments enables physicians to offer more customized procedures.
Farbstein: The iPixel fractionated technology has set new standards in skin resurfacing. iPixel is the only ablative fractionated resurfacing device with versatile treatment alternatives. iPixel provides practitioners with the ideal combination of speed, precision, and system reliability with no disposables for enhancing skin-resurfacing results.
Humes: The number and variety of treatment options that provide noticeable results with little to no downtime is the greatest advancement.
Paul-Blanc: The combination of various modalities has always been seen as the optimal approach for managing aging and sun-damaged skin, as well as acne, psoriasis, and eczema. Since the inception of selective photothermolysis, there have been significant advancements in both the technology that is available and the application of this technology to maximize outcomes
Ruck: There has been and remains a lot of interest worldwide in non-invasive body sculpting. As a result, there have been a number of non-invasive body-sculpting devices that have been introduced that have gotten a lot of attention, including Zeltiq, Exilis, and Liposonix. It seems that none are the “holy grail,” so there is still a large opportunity for additional systems that have strong efficacy and safety profiles.
Q: As it relates to your company, what is your most recent laser offering, and how is it cutting edge?
Amberg: i-Lipo uses low-level laser energy to stimulate targeted fat cells into releasing their stored fatty acids, shrinking the fat cells and
delivering measurable inch-loss reduction in as little as 20 minutes. The advantages of using low-level laser energy for body contouring are multifold—treatments are fast, pain-free, and can be used on all skin types safely, effectively, and without side effects or downtime.
Berzak: The recent introduction of SCAAR FX for our UltraPulse CO2 laser system has been a big advance. SCAAR FX, which stands for Synergistic Coagulation and Ablation for Advanced Resurfacing, is a treatment mode that is used specifically for deep, complex skin lesions, such as surgical and acne scars. By treating to a depth of up to 4mm into the skin, SCAAR FX expands UltraPulse’s ability to treat the different topography of specific complex skin lesions.
Farbstein: Our newest innovations include dye-pulsed technology for stubborn vascular and pigmented lesions, fractionated ablative and non-ablative skin resurfacing, and ClearChoice, a dual laser approach to nail fungus, all used with our Harmony XL platform.
Humes: For skin rejuvenation, the Pearl and the Pearl Fractional from Cutera are revolutionizing the treatment of skin texture, tone, wrinkles, and sun damage. Pearl treats the top layer of the skin to improve sun damage, texture, and wrinkles. Pearl Fractional heats the deeper layers of the skin to stimulate collagen growth. In addition, body contouring is growing in the medical aesthetics industry, and we are excited about Cutera’s newest system, truSculpt, for non-surgical body contouring.
Paul-Blanc: Clear + Brilliant, which provides a 15- to 20-minute procedure that results in only 24 hours of a mild pinkish appearance, has become the go-to treatment for patients looking to prevent the early signs of aging. It has changed the perception of a “scary laser treatment” and brought a new class of patients into the aesthetic arena. We recently launched the Fraxel re:pair SST, an updated offering on the Fraxel re:pair platform. The Fraxel re:pair SST offers four treatment handpieces to support significant skin-resurfacing
needs, as well as a 20-minute, single-treatment option for patients looking to “airbrush” stubborn pigmentation, smooth fine lines, and dramatically improve texture.
Ruck: Last year, we introduced the ClearSense for the treatment of onychomycosis, which is a fungal nail infection. There was a great need in the market for a therapy that effectively and safely treated toenail fungus. Existing treatments primarily fall into two categories. Oral medications have toxicity concerns and don’t work in a sizeable percentage of patients. Topical medications are safe but are completely ineffective for most people. Lasers produce clear nails for 80 percent of patients, are safe, and there are no patient-compliance issues.
Q: In the future, what sort of skin conditions do you see being able to be addressed with lasers, and how soon do you think this will be possible?
Farbstein: Research and development continue to modify and enhance minimally invasive treatments for the most difficult skin conditions. Within the next year, comfortable, more effective treatment methods with minimal to no downtime will be perfected for conditions such as stretch marks, melasma, scarring, and skin whitening.
Humes: I think we will be seeing more lasers that can treat melasma with fewer side effects from the heat. Currently, we are using Laser Genesis to treat melasma and seeing improvement in patients who were resistant to other treatments.
Paul-Blanc: As we age, patients and providers will be looking for solutions to more effectively manage the visible signs of aging and sun-damaged skin. Demand will continue to grow for these procedures, as well as improvements in the treatment experience, such as minimizing downtime and decreasing the number of treatments. As populations diversify, the ability to provide these treatments to off-face areas and various skin types will also be critical. Laser technology will be able to offer improved solutions for these conditions at a dynamic pace, in addition to increased demand for tattoo removal, vascular conditions, and fat removal. One thing to watch will be the investment by medical device manufacturers in clinical testing and research to validate these new approaches.
Ruck: An area with a lot of ongoing research is the treatment of scars. This is a broad category that includes acne scars, surgical scars, traumatic scars, and burn scars. Scars can be fresh or old, have various degrees of discoloration, and range in depth from superficial to very deep. Because of that, there are currently a wide variety of treatment methods. Most involve combination treatments with lasers and other modalities. Research is ongoing to determine the best way to treat each type.
Meet the Experts
Lou Amberg, Chromogenex, U.S. director of marketing
Ann Berzak, Lumenis, director of global marketing, medical, aesthetic business unit
Avi Farbstein, Alma Lasers, general manager of North American operations
Tahl N. Humes, M.D., Cutera, medical director and owner, Vitahl Medical Aesthetics (Denver)
Vladimir Paul-Blanc, Solta Medical, director of product marketing: skin resurfacing and rejuvenation
Robert Ruck, Sciton, executive vice president, sales and marketing
Thinking of adding lasers to your spa menu? Check out the latest offerings from the following companies.
Asclepion Laser Technologies
Syneron and Candela