Risks Appear to Outweigh Benefits of At-Home Laser Skin Treatments

at-home laser skin treatmentsAt-home laser skin treatments appeal to some consumers because they may be cheaper than visiting your doctor, but their drawbacks appear to outweigh their benefits, according to The New York Times.

Several doctors weighed in with their opinions about the safety and effectiveness of these products, which are available to consumers for a variety of purposes, including for reducing wrinkles and hair removal.

While these at-home lasers may be less expensive than procedures at a cosmetic surgeon’s office, they may put you at risk of damaging your skin, according to the experts.

For instance, Dr. Sandra Lee, a dermatologist in Upland, Calif., worries about people misusing the product, for instance, using it more often than recommended. “If it says, don’t use more than once a day, but if you’re a teen and you use it more than once a day, are you then at risk for scarring?” Dr. Lee said.

There’s also the question of whether these products have been vetted. Because they are beauty devices, not medical devices, they do not have to be reviewed by the FDA, although some are peer-reviewed by medical experts.

“There may be unforeseen uses and unforeseen consequences that may arise,” even with effective devices, according to Dr. Mathew M. Avram in Boston. These include the possibility of scarring, soreness, redness and hyperpigmentation, and potential product malfunctions.

Patient compliance is usually a large problem with at-home lasers, according to doctors. For instance, one product requires the patient to beam a laser on her legs for 20 minutes a day. Doctors report that many people just stop using them because it’s too time consuming.

Because of these drawbacks, if you are looking for a laser treatment to rejuvenate your skin, to smooth and tighten your skin or to remove unwanted body hair, visiting your doctor may be your best and safest choice.

Laser procedures offered by Dr. Heffernan include skin resurfacing with the Fraxel Restore laser and laser hair removal.
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