Washingtonian Plastic Surgery logo
Washingtonian Plastic Surgery logo

Lasers / Light Therapy

Lasers / Light Therapy2022-11-07T14:51:18-05:00

The MedSpa at Washingtonian Plastic Surgery offers an array of anti-aging treatments. We would like to introduce you to our collection of devices that can get the beautiful, flawless skin you desire.

Non-Ablative vs. Ablative Laser Treatments

There are two types of lasers used for laser skin treatments, ablative and non-ablative. Non-ablative treatments treat deeper parts of the skin without removing any part of the top layer and tend to have fewer side effects and shorter healing time. Ablative laser treatments partially remove the top surface of the skin which can improve the skin’s surface (tone and texture) achieve a smooth, even, and fresh appearance.

Fractionated Laser Treatments

Fractionated lasers treat the skin with a laser beam that is comprised of many columns of micro-beams that are all separated by gaps, meaning that a fraction of the skin is treated with tiny gaps of untreated skin throughout; this enables the skin to heal much faster with less risk of complications. Fractionated lasers can be either ablative or non-ablative (depending on the type of laser, such as a CO2 or an Erbium). The ICON 1540 laser is a fractionated non-ablative laser.

Preparing for Laser Treatment

Patients cannot be tanned, use self-tanners, or be sunburnt. Most laser treatments require patients to discontinue skincare products such as retinol, skin exfoliants, or other aggressive skincare products at least 1-week prior to treatment.

What to Do After a Laser Treatment

Patients must avoid direct sun exposure during the healing process. Application of sunscreen is recommended.

Click here for Pre and Post-treatment Instructions



An 810nm diode laser targets the hair follicle. The laser energy converts into intense heat which damages or destroys the hair follicle at the root, leading to long-lasting hair removal. Our Spectrum 810nm diode laser handheld device’s integrated sapphire cooling tip reduces irritation and helps patients remain comfortable during the procedure.

The hair follicle absorbs the laser energy from the 810nm diode laser, which is then converted into heat. This heat damages the hair follicle. While most hair is permanently removed, some new growth may occur over time due to normal hormone changes. Maintenance treatments are recommended to address this possibility.

Hair in the anagen or active phase of growth sees the best results with 810nm diode laser hair removal. Hair is darker and has the most melanin during this phase, so it absorbs more heat, causing more stem cells in the follicle to be damaged.

The 810nm diode laser can treat all 6 Fitzpatrick skin types and provide lasting hair removal. While some regrowth of lighter, finer hair may occur, most hair is permanently removed.


Intense pulsed light, or IPL, is used to treat a wide range of conditions. The Spectrum’s IPL handpiece comes with four filters that allow you to treat:

  • Unwanted hair
  • Facial veins
  • Age spots
  • Acne and acne scars
  • Sun damage
  • Burst capillaries
  • Freckles
  • Birthmarks
  • Fine wrinkles

The Spectrum intense pulsed light device can vary the pulse duration and pulse train of the light pulses to suit the type of skin it’s being used on. For more fair skin, Types I and II, you use a shorter pulse duration with more pulses, while Skin Types III and IV require a longer pulse duration with fewer pulses.

The Spectrum IPL should not be used on Skin Types VI and VIII.


YAG stands for “yttrium aluminum garnet,” which is a synthetic crystal charged by a high-intensity lamp. After being charged, the crystal is put into a resonator to amplify its power even more. The YAG laser then uses the power of this synthetic crystal to produce a near-infrared wavelength that is able to penetrate deep into the skin. Energy from this laser is easily absorbed by hemoglobin and melanin chromophores. By applying a pulse width the appropriate size for the targeted spot, we are able to heat up deep skin tissues like veins and other blood vessels.

  • Remove spider veins
  • Remove unwanted body hair and facial hair
  • Prevent new hair growth
  • Stimulate collagen production and the growth of new cells
  • Even out skin discoloration, rosacea, age spots, and sunspots
  • Fade scars, broken capillaries, and birthmarks
  • Smooth and tighten wrinkles and fine lines
  • Treat nail fungus (onychomycosis)


The Long Pulsed Yag laser can be used for the treatment and removal of superficial vascular lesions (for example, cherry angioma, hemangiomas, and telangiectasias). Vascular reduction is achieved by using energy to heat, damage, and collapse the targeted blood vessels. This makes the Long Pulsed Yag laser an ideal spider vein removal device.


The Long Pulsed Yag laser is also ideal for removing unwanted hair. It is especially useful for individuals with darker skin tones, since lasers with shorter wavelengths aren’t always effective or safe. The Long Pulsed Yag laser’s 1064nm light wavelength offers outstanding hair removal results without unnecessary skin damage. Laser hair removal can also help prevent ingrown hairs and folliculitis. Multiple treatment sessions are recommended for long-term hair reduction, although many patients reported seeing results after their first treatment session.


Tattoos are prevalent among people of all ages, and while they seem like a good idea at the time, that feeling often doesn’t last. A sizable percentage of those with tattoos are either embarrassed by them or otherwise no longer want them.

Tattoos come in all colors, and some are more difficult to remove due to the amount of light the ink is able to absorb. The Q-Switched Yag/KTP Laser switches between the Yag laser, which operates at 532 nanometers, and the KTP laser that operates at 1064 nanometers. This switch allows you to target and break up inks of all colors.

Does the Q-Switched YAG/KTP Laser Work on Black Ink and Color Ink?
Yes, the laser can be switched to 1064 nanometers, which targets and destroys the black ink used in tribal tattoos and to outline colored tattoos. Lighter ink colors are harder to remove, as they don’t absorb as much light and heat from the laser. The Q-Switched Yag/KTP Laser’s 532-nanometer setting works on vibrantly colored tattoos, destroying the ink which is then removed by the body.

How Many Treatments Does it Take to Remove a Tattoo?
It depends on the tattoo. Fine line tattoos with black ink respond the most readily to tattoo removal treatments, while the ink in colorful tattoos can take a series of multiple treatments to be fully removed. Regardless, the Q-Switched Yag/KTP Laser can effectively target and destroy both types of ink and remove both black and colored tattoos.


What is an Erbium laser?
There are many types of skin resurfacing lasers available, some of the most common being CO2, erbium, and non-ablative. Erbium lasers are less aggressive than CO2 lasers, but more so than non-ablative. Erbium laser treatments usually require less downtime than CO2 laser treatments, but require more than one session to achieve full results.

Erbium can yield a visible difference in the skin’s overall appearance with minimal downtime. This “laser peel” is used to soften fine lines, reduce the appearance of pore size, smooth uneven skin tone and texture, and clear unwanted brown spots caused by sun damage in the right candidate. This safe and effective treatment stimulates skin turnover and promotes the formation of collagen and elastin fibers that helps to strengthen the skin.

Erbium laser resurfacing removes surface-level and moderately deep lines and wrinkles on the face, hands, neck, or chest. There is minimal burning of surrounding tissue and causes fewer side effects than other laser resurfacing machines. This laser is especially good for targeting active acne and targeting inflamed acne without affecting the surrounding tissue. It is also beneficial for acne scarring by stimulating collagen, thereby filling in the indentations and smoothing the skin.

Erbium laser skin resurfacing precisely ablates the outermost layer of the skin for smoother and younger-looking skin and activates collagen to fill in the scars. At the same time, it has a shrinking effect, closing large pores. This procedure is an outpatient procedure and numbing cream is typically used before treatment. If you have a darker skin tone, erbium laser resurfacing may work better for you.



The ICON 1540 provides amazing skin resurfacing results, yielding a smooth to the touch complexion. This FDA approved hand-piece provides a significant response in the production of elastin and collagen for blemished skin. It is a non-ablative fractional laser that reduces scars caused by acne, surgery, or stretch marks and can be used anywhere on the body. Not only does it help remove scars, but it helps with skin laxity, fine lines, and uneven skin texture as well. It promotes a more significant response in the skin, with more effective and longer lasting results and can be used to safely treat patients with darker skin.

The ICON 1540 delivers heat to deeper layers of the skin which initiates the body’s natural healing process to promote new collagen and elastin production. This new collagen and elastin help improve the skin tone and texture, while also helping to re-volumize the skin and reducing fine lines and wrinkles.

Based on the current condition of your skin as well as your goals, we can help you reach your desired skin goals. The Icon 1540 has interchangeable microlenses that lenses can be adjusted depending on what type of results you are looking to achieve. The XF Microlens is used for a fast, high-speed treatment that really focuses on the more superficial layers of the skin. Whereas, the XD Microlens targets the deeper layers to correct tougher skin conditions.

Treatments more effective with a series of 3-5 sessions scheduled 4- 6 weeks apart. This allows for longer-lasting and more dramatic results. Certain conditions, such as severe acne scarring, may require more treatments for optimal results. Although many patients will see a positive change within a couple of weeks, optimal results usually occur 2 to 3 months after the final treatment.
During the first 24 hours after treatment, the skin may feel mildly sunburned, sensitive, and somewhat swollen. Since the treatments are non-ablative and the skin surface is intact, there is no oozing from the skin. Over the next few days, the skin may appear slightly bronzed, which can be easily covered with makeup. There may be some flaking as well, which can be improved by using a moisturizer.


The ICON MaxR is designed for hair reduction of larger areas such as the chest, legs, and back. It eliminates the need for shaving, tweezing, waxing – all of which provides temporary solution for unwanted body hair. With its large spot size, the device can quickly remove unwanted hair with no discomfort or downtime and with longer-lasting results.
This laser delivers energy into areas of unwanted hair, it generates a highly controlled heat that selectively damages structures of the hair follicle and impairs the ability of the hair follicle to produce new hair. However, not all hairs are in the same stage at the same time. Only those hairs in the anagen phase (growth and development cycle) can be effectively treated since they contain the papilla, a knoblike indentation at the bottom of the hair follicle that is responsible for hair growth. Therefore, additional treatments are necessary to achieve optimal results.
The ICON MaxR can be safely and effectively used on all skin types including tanned skin. Since the device emits laser energy that selectively targets darker hair follicles in larger areas of the body.
During treatment, the feeling of the laser is painless and comfortable! Over the course of the next few weeks, the hair in the treated areas will fall out. With each treatment, fewer hairs will return, leaving you with smooth skin and permanent hair reduction.


For years, ICON Max G has been one of the best Intense pulse light (IPL) technology out in the market. It is Cynosure’s most technologically advanced IPL for Photo-Facial therapy, optimized for the simultaneous treatment of both unwanted vessels and pigmented lesions. It has “Advanced Contact Cooling” for maximum comfort allowing reduced treatment durations with minimal discomfort and downtime. The treatment significantly reduces unwanted vessels, brown spots, and spotty pigments, leaving you with more even toned, younger, and healthier looking. The ICON MaxG also offers “Dynamic Spectrum Shifting” which provides more uniform heating across the entire width of blood vessels, making it more effective in terms to addressing the wider and deeper vessels compared to other IPLs out in the market. It is also the perfect solution for unwanted vessels on your face including spider veins, broken vessels or rosacea (redness/flushing of the cheeks).

It will take at least 3 to 4 treatments, spaced 3 to 4 weeks apart to achieve optimal results. We also recommend patients opt for maintenance package.

Before treatment, please remove all make-up and lotions prior to the treatment. At least 2 weeks prior to your appointment, discontinue unprotected sun exposure, tanning beds, tanning creams, tretinoin or retinol on the areas receiving treatment.

Depending on the size of the area, treatments can take just minutes. Before treatment starts, gel is applied to the treatment area and eye shields will be provided for your use during treatment. You will feel cool gliding over the area which will help with your comfort. You will also feel a slight rubber-band like snapping when the energy is delivered into your skin which disappears almost immediately leaving your skin feeling warm. It will feel like you have a mild sunburn, but can you resume normal day to day activities immediately following treatment and can last 2-24 hours.

Redness and/or swelling may accompany this and usually resolves in 2-3 days.
Please make sure to avoid sun exposure on the treated area and use a sunscreen SPF 45 or greater at all times throughout the course of treatment.

The pigment may initially look raised/darker with a reddened perimeter. The pigment will gradually turn darker over the next few days and begin crusting and eventually flaking off of the skin from day 7-21. The vessels may undergo immediate graying or blanching, or they may exhibit a slight purple or red color change. The vessels will fully or partially fade in about 10-14 days.

Interested in Having a Laser Treatment?

If you are interested in having a signature facial, please call our office today to schedule a comprehensive consultation!

Go to Top