Skin Rejuvenation using the Nlite Laser - some questions answered
There has been a lot of interest in the NLite recently; what is it and how does it work?
The NLite is a pulsed-dye laser that uses very low power laser
energy to 'insult' the fine blood vessels beneath the skin. These vessels, although not actually damaged, are tricked into behaving as if they were. Chemical signals are released that cause the body's own repair and regeneration mechanism to begin a healing process, laying down new collagen in the treated area. The result is that, over time, lines and wrinkles reduce in depth and in the case of fine lines can disappear completely.
I have heard of skin resurfacing, is the NLite a resurfacing laser?
Most definitely not: resurfacing lasers, specifically CO 2 and Erbium lasers work by ablating (destroying) a specified depth of skin at the skin surface. The skin then regenerates itself from the basal layer. This can take weeks and the aftercare procedures are borrowed from burns recovery protocols.
With resurfacing, there is a relatively high risk of complications and side effects ranging from viral and bacterial infections to long-term pigmentation problems.
The NLite works on a completely different principle, using very low powers, working beneath the skin surface. In addition to the low powers, because the skin surface is not breached in any way there is an absolute minimum of unwanted side effects.
What side effects can be caused?
Usually none at all. Some people, especially those with very sensitive skin, may get a histamine response. If your skin does respond in this way, small bumps may appear; they may be slightly red and they may itch but will settle down on their own within a few hours. Some people find the skin surface flushes slightly after treatment. At the very worst, small red spots called purpura can appear but these will settle down within a few days. If you are having other, adjunct treatments, the risk of side effects does increase, most commonly being a classic 'retinoid' reaction to vitamin A products commonly used in conjunction with the NLite.
Good operator technique will reduce the risk of even these side effects, so the NLite is generally complication free.
In addition, there is no down time; the NLite is a genuine lunch-hour treatment and no recovery period is required afterwards.
How quickly will I see any results?
Because collagen is laid down slowly, there is no immediate effect. While this may seem like a disappointment, the gradual nature of the response is a blessing in disguise. Instead of having an obvious cosmetic change, your skin condition will slowly improve over time. NLite clients tell us that people start telling them how well they look, without being able to lay a finger on precisely why.
We have a number of celebrity clients who have NLite treatments precisely because there is no obvious change immediately after treatment. This is a huge bonus to actors and film and television presenters as there is no obvious change on a day-to-day basis.
How many treatments are required to achieve a result?
We are recommending a treatment protocol agreed at the Nlite Symposium held at the Mapperley Park Clinic in November 2002 being:
Treatment one, followed by treatment two at two weeks. Research has showed that two treatments, two weeks apart dramatically increase the quantity of collagen measured throughout the course of treatment. Treatment three is usually carried out at three months. Further treatment is then only required when you feel the need for a collagen boost. Having said all this, one treatment will usually produce a noticeable effect, especially around the eyes, although the result will vary from person to person. In general, the younger the skin and the better the blood supply, the better the result.
Skin age is not the same as actual age; genetic inheritance and external factors, such as smoking and UV sun damage cause skin to age at different rates for different people and no two results will be exactly the same.
Whatever the follow up regime recommended, the treatment pattern is tailored to the individual. We may also recommend other treatments prior to NLite treatment.
Younger skin may need less frequent top-ups but some clients are choosing a treatment regime involving regular monthly top-ups.
How will I know which interval is best for me?
Before any treatment can be given, a full medical assessment will be carried out. The information gathered here, in combination with monitored treatment results, will be used to work out a treatment regime tailored to suit your individual needs.
Can the NLite be used for anything other than lines and wrinkles?
Yes; we are using the NLite successfully to treat sunken scars, active acne, acne scarring and acne rosacea.
Because of the quite remarkable effect that the NLite has on the whole healing process, we believe that new treatments will evolve as more experience of the laser is gained.
Who would carry out my treatment?
You would be treated by one of our doctors or laser nurse practitioners.
It all sounds too good to be true; does it really work?
We have now been using the NLite since July 2000 and can say, from the results that we have achieved, that it does just what it claims to do. The NLite is not a miracle cure for wrinkles; there is no such thing and expectations have to be in line with what is achievable. Having said that, we have treated over 500 people in this time, 70% of whom have come back for follow up treatment. In this time we have had just three complaints from clients who did not think that the NLite had done as much as they wanted it to do.
This is a very good satisfaction rate; you can never please everybody all the time but we believe that this is a good indication that the NLite does work.
Is the treatment safe?
Yes. Lasers have been used in medicine for over 30 years and there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that the NLite is anything but safe.
The Nlite is a variation of a technology that has been used daily throughout the world for more than 20 years at much higher powers than we use. Low power and extensive clinical trials, plus 14 years of laser experience at this clinic have resulted in a safe technique with almost zero side effects.