In the last few months, there has been a re-ignited interest in expanding aesthetic laser applications. With significant proven successes in the hair removal space, teams like Leonardo continue to partner with aesthetic laser system developers to explore the treatment of other conditions.
Since most aesthetic laser systems are delivered through a handpiece, weight, size, and heat control are extremely important to the end-user. Manufacturers need technology that can achieve highly targeted, uniform light beams – reducing wasted energy, overheating and the need for a larger power source.
Laser diodes have proven to be a successful technology in this space for a few key reasons:
- Size – lightweight systems are easily achieved due to the compact size and power efficiency making the device footprint smaller.
- Wavelength – diodes can be accurately adjusted to specific wavelengths, providing a highly customized treatment while reducing energy waste and excess heat. Learn about multi-wavelength diodes.
- Adjustable Power – diodes are controlled electronically with high speed and accuracy, which gives complete control over the fluence and profile of the laser pulses.
See the common considerations for choosing a diode for an aesthetic laser system in this blog.
Aesthetic laser system manufacturers are now finding success marketing to new applications using laser diode-based technologies:
- Acne treatment | 1.5 micron
Blue light (415 nm - 545 nm) showed significant results initially, but the results are far from permanent and not as successful as diode-based systems. This is specifically true for inflammatory acne, where the sebaceous glands need to be reached. Near-infrared lasers offer this capability because the longer wavelength can penetrate the cutaneous tissue. When the tissue absorbs energy, thermal damage causes a reduction in size/inflammation and slows long-term sebum production – the main cause of the inflammation. This reduction has a semi-permanent effect for the end-user. The 1.5-micron wavelength can offer this advantageous treatment with no damage to the skin’s surface or subcutaneous fat.
Skin tightening | 805 nm – 1060 nm
There are currently multiple approaches to laser treatments for re-tightening and re-surfacing skin. Generally, fractional lasers pumped by flash lamps have been used as they can be an effective approach to stimulate collagen growth by targeting the fibroblasts in the dermal layer.
Recently, diode lasers have gained traction in skin tightening applications as an enhancement in conjunction with other lasers or energy treatments. Various approaches have been tested over the years ranging from longer wavelengths (1319/1320 nm) to shorter ones (800 nm – 900 nm); in a recent study, a series of 805 nm laser treatments for pigmentation, followed by a 1060 nm laser for wrinkle removal, was successful. While in an earlier case, the combination of 900 nm laser treatments and radiofrequency technology resulted in a 50% improvement in the appearance of wrinkles.
- Body contouring | 1060 nm or 1064 nm
Diode lasers have been introduced to body contouring and fat reduction applications for their ability to target fat cells with high accuracy. At a wavelength at or near 1064 nm, the energy from the diode is absorbed – disintegrating fat cells permanently. This technology offers a significant advantage by being non-invasive.
As with any aesthetic laser, the weight of the handpiece is critical to marketability and usability. Laser system integrators can learn more about lightweighting handheld devices in this white paper, Lightweighting Medical Systems Through Improved Laser Diode Design.
By designing for flexibility and performance across a range of applications, laser system manufacturers have the opportunity to increase revenue and market share in this growing, $4.8B space.
If you’re interested in discussing a specific project for the aesthetic market, contact us today.