Laser 101

The history of medical light therapies and lasers began with Albert Einstein in 1917. He published a paper outlining the theory of laser light and theorized how a brilliant form of light energy could be artificially created. However, it wasn’t until May of 1960 that Theodore Maiman created the first laser from a ruby crystal. This first form of light revolutionized the medical field for dermatology and ophthalmology. Now, there are more than 150 different types of laser light and energy devices available for the cosmetic market. 


The word laser stands for “light amplification by the stimulated emission of radiation.” In layman’s terms, this means the laser device emits radiant energy at different frequencies for therapeutic purposes. Esthetic laser systems are unique because the provider can manipulate the wavelength, energy output, and treatment parameters so that a specific chromophore (the part of a molecule responsible for its color) can be selectively destroyed while other chromophores are not. Different cosmetic lasers are absorbed by different chromophores. 

  • Hair removal lasers are absorbed by dark pigment, or melanin (pigment of the hair, skin, and eyes. Melanin protects the skin from ultraviolet damage.) 
  • Vascular lasers seek our blood or oxyhemoglobin as their chromophore.
  • Lasers that produce collagen and rejuvenation tend to be water or collagen absorbers.
  • Lasers used for clearance of pigmented lesions or lentigos target melanin in the epidermis or dermis.
  • Tattoo lasers target specific dyes or tattoo pigment. 

Lasers and light treatments can target and treat many different types of skin conditions. Pigment, abnormal vessels, and rhytids are commonly treated with lasers. Combining Botox and filler with laser and light treatments can improve lines that did not completely respond to the treatment. Come see us for a comprehensive skin analysis and see what treatments are right for you!