Spectra (by Lutronic) is a specialized laser that can be used for what is popularly called the “Hollywood Peel” as well as tattoo removal. The Spectra laser can also be used to even skin tone and texture and to correct pigmentation. This versatile tool is also the only FDA-approved laser for treating melasma (brown to gray-brown patches on facial skin), acne scars, pigmented and vascular lesions, and removing pigmentation from prior sun damage.
The Hollywood Peel
The “Hollywood Peel” allegedly got its name from the large number of celebrities who requested the treatment before red-carpet events. It is also one of the more frequent uses of the Spectra laser and is now requested by people before their wedding ceremony, proms, and other special occasions. The treatment is gentle and improves skin tone and texture while simultaneously making the skin smoother and reducing fine lines. The laser treatment breaks down melanin in the skin and heats the dermis, stimulating collagen production.
Downtime with the procedure is very limited; patients can return to work the day of the procedure. Patients also report very little discomfort and anesthesia is usually not needed. Primarily the procedure is used on the face and neck but can be used on other areas of the body.
Another major use of the Spectra laser is tattoo removal. Tattoos vary widely in many ways, including the types and colors of the inks, the tissue depth of the tattoo, the body part the tattoo is on, and even the design. The ideal laser is one that is useful across a wide variety of tattoo characteristics, like the Spectra Q-switched (quality switched) laser.
The Q-switched laser is now the standard for removing tattoos of all colors. Short duration, high energy pulses of laser light are ideal for breaking down tattoo ink, including black, red, dark and light blue, and green. When the procedure is done correctly, the laser produces a light gray “frosting” on the tattoo, showing that tattoo breakdown and removal has started. Because laser procedures for tattoo removal can affect tissue adjacent to the tattoo, some pain can be involved.
Spectra lasers have additional features that make them excellent for tattoo removal. Laser light is emitted with consistent pulse width and can be set to high peak energy for stubborn tattoos. Spot sizes for the laser beam can be varied from 0.8 mm to 8.0 mm.
Tattoo removal is associated with some side effects. Reddening of the skin can occur around the tattoo, and sometimes whitening of the skin. The whitening can take time to resolve, sometimes up to six months after the last treatment. Despite complications, laser treatment of skin conditions is an impressive advance over previous techniques for speed, downtime, pain management, and treatment time. Spectra lasers play an important role in these advances and will continue to be the standard in the future.