What is a Q-Switch Laser?
The Q-Switched Nd:YAG laser produces 2 wavelengths, one in the infrared range (1064 nm) that penetrates deeply into the skin without injuring the top layer of skin; and a second beam of 532 nm wavelength which is useful for superficial skin lesions. Q-switching refers to the technique of making the laser produce a high intensity beam in very short pulses.
How does this laser work?
The high-speed light energy is released in a series of very fast (nanosecond) pulses, which microscopically vibrate and shatter the pigment into tiny particles deep within the skin. These particles are then naturally reabsorbed and disposed of by the body. The additional benefits of this laser’s energy also targets the building blocks of healthy skin, stimulating new collagen growth to replenish the collagen we lose as we age.
For more aggressive treatment of advanced photodamage, a physician can change the settings of the laser. After this one-time procedure, the skin will appear slightly red, like sunburn, for a few days.
This more advanced treatment is appropriate for patients with light to medium skin tones and significant photodamage including large brown “sun spots,” an increased number of moderate wrinkles, and a ‘leathery’ texture.
The laser can also be used to treat deeper pigment problems, including melasma. Often called the ‘mask of pregnancy,’ melasma appears as a dark ‘stain’ on the skin and can be triggered by hormonal changes. Although doctors have yet to find a cure, a combination of laser treatment and skincare prescription products can manage the condition.
Can the Q-Switch Laser help reduce scars caused by acne?
The Q-Switch works very well in combination with the PicoSure Focus or SmartSkin CO2 fractional resurfacing laser to reduce the most common types of acne scarring. The laser’s energy stimulates collagen remodeling, and over time the appearance of acne scarring is minimized.