Posts Tagged ‘laser technician’
Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy that explores and studies the nature and form of beauty, along with the creation and appreciation of beauty.
An Esthetician is a skin care specialist, that has been formally educated and trained in skin health and beauty. To become an Esthetician, one must obtain a specific amount of credit hours, typically around 600. Educational requirements, rules and regulations do vary by state. After graduating, an Esthetician will need to pass state board exams, which include a written and practical exam, to obtain a license. An Esthetician may work in a salon, spa, private studio, on location, med-spa or in a medical practice such as dermatology or plastic surgery. An Esthetician may also work as a makeup artist, as an educator or in sales. Many Estheticians obtain additional degrees, certifications or training. This may include things like laser certification, cosmetic tattooing, lash extensions, electrolysis, massage therapy, nursing, oncology esthetics, and holistic approaches.
Estheticians typical provide treatments such as facials, chemical peels, hair removal, makeup application and some body treatments. Estheticians may also be referred to as a facialist, because they specialize in facials. Estheticians are the go-to people when choosing skin care products, they study ingredients and skin care products extensively and can create a complete skin care regime appropriate for your skin. Although an Esthetician is trained to recognize some skin conditions, they do not diagnose or treat medical skin conditions. Many skin lesions closely resemble each other and need to be diagnosed by a dermatologist. Conditions like eczema, psoriasis, allergies or skin cancers, require medical attention.
Esthetician or Aesthetician
Esthetician and Aesthetician may be used interchangeably and both are correct, however the spelling on a license may differ by state. In Arizona, my license reads “Aesthetics” while my text book is Esthetician. Generally, the Esthetician spelling is used when describing someone who works in a spa environment, while Aesthetician is used to describe someone who works in a medical environment. There is no solid rule on which spelling must be used, both are correct.
The term “Holistic Esthetician” is not recognized by the State Board of Cosmotology as a specific license, it does however describe an Esthetician who uses a holistic approach, emphasizing the importance of the whole person, including mind, body and spirit. Holistic esthetics is typically associated with treatments and remedies that are more natural or integrative alternative therapies. Holistic Estheticians usually work with products that contain natural and/or organic ingredient. Some schools offer specific holistic-based esthetician training programs, however there is little difference compared to a general esthetician training, so many Estheticians opt for post graduate holistic eduction and may even obtain a Holistic Skincare Practitioner Certification. There are plenty of Estheticians who do not specifically identify themselves as a holistic provider, but incorporate some holistic approaches.
Medical Aesthetician and Laser Technician
An Aesthetician that works in a medical environment may have additional training or certifications, they may be referred to as a Medical Aesthetician, Paramedical or Clinical Aesthetician, Master Aesthetician or Aesthetician, CLT (Certified Laser Technician) or CMLT (Certified Medical Laser Technician).
Although the terms Medical Aesthetician and Paramedical Aesthetician are used to describe an Aesthetician who works in a medical setting, these terms are usually not recognized by most state boards and do not necessarily guarantee that a provider has met any additional requirements. A “Master Aesthetician” is generally someone who has obtained additional training and credit hours to include laser treatments and aesthetic treatments typically offered in a medical setting. Some states like Utah offer a Master Aesthetic license after completing 1200 credit hours plus additional apprenticeship hours. The majority of states, including Arizona require formal training and additional credit hours to obtain a Laser Technician certification through the state Radiation Regulatory Agency. This requires a minimum amount of credit hours to include didactic and practical hands on training. Usually, specific training and additional hours are required for each modality added to your certification. Laser technicians must work under the supervision of a medical director. In California a laser technician must be an RN or PA and in New Jersey only a Medical Doctor may perform laser treatments.
A Career in Aesthetics
If you are considering a career in the aesthetic industry, research the requirements required by your state. Do a little self-reflection and consider what aspect of the aesthetic industry you feel most passionate about and what things you might want to avoid. For example, if you can’t handle the sight of blood you probably shouldn’t work for a plastic surgeon. If your a “Little Miss Chatterbox” like myself, you should avoid the tranquil day spa. Are you obsessed with make-up, does your heart drive you to work with cancer patients, do you take a holistic approach to life, are you a social media genius or do you have the talent to be an educator. Would you prefer to work in a luxury spa environment, a medical practice, work in management or work as a sales representative. Do you have the discipline to be self employed or the entrepreneur spirit it takes to open your own spa or create a new product. Maybe your a trail blazer, who will create your own niche in the market. Evaluate the job opportunities in your area and inquire about the qualifications employers look for. Not everyone who goes to esthetic school will find success in the industry, but there are ever-growing possibilities. Consider Anastasia Soare, a woman who came to America and took a “waxing job” as an Esthetician. From her brow-shaping method, she built the global beauty empire Anastasia Beverly Hills.
Choosing an Esthetician
Not all Estheticians collectively agree on the best products, treatments or approach, so you should look for an Esthetician that fits your personal goals. If it is important to you, to have an all natural approach, then look for an Esthetician that is like minded. If you want to relax and be pampered in tranquil ambiance, then you may prefer a day spa setting. If you are seeking corrective or more aggressive result focused treatments, then a med-spa or medical practice may fit you best. When selecting an Esthetician, be sure to ask about there experience and training. What ever your goals and personal style is, there is an Esthetician for you.
It is a rare individual who becomes successful without help. I am an aesthetician and laser technician who has been in the industry for nearly 17 years. Throughout my entire career, I have experienced the importance of networking with other skin care professionals. I began to network while still in aesthetic school, leading to a job offer, before I even got my license. At this stage in my career, I still appreciate being able to call or text other skin care professionals for advice. We should be networking throughout our careers. Networking with other industry professionals works to improve the industry as a whole.
It is not always what you know, but who you know! Networking with other skin care professionals is the best way to learn of employment opportunities and possibly gain an introduction, or even a recommendation. This is also true for those looking to hire.
A few years ago I was involved in a private aesthetic group, and one of the biggest topics that came up in the forums had to do with compensation and benefits. It is natural to not want to discuss our exact income, but when we open up about pay structure and benefits, we help each other to negotiate a better income and benefits package. It behooves us all to raise the standard income for our industry. According to the BLS, skin care specialists made a median salary of $29,050 in 2014. The highest-paid 10 percent in the profession earned $58,880, while the lowest-paid earned $17,680 that year.
Peer Input About Purchases
Adding new equipment, treatments, and product lines can be risky business. Vendor reps are in the business of selling their product, not giving impartial advice. Receiving input from others in the industry is invaluable. Anytime we are looking to add something new, I call other aestheticians that use that particular product or device, and gather their thoughts on it. This type of networking empowers us as aestheticians, in the same way online reviews empower consumers. Vendors will work harder to take care of us if they realize the value of our opinion among peers.
Know What Is Going On In The Industry
Networking has helped me to learn more about products, new treatments, and treatment protocols. I have learned about regulation changes in my state, as well as regulation differences in other states. I have also inquired about upcoming events, trade shows, training workshops, seminars, and on-line training.
Smart people surround themselves with smarter people. I don’t care how experienced, educated, or smart you think you are, you can always learn from an alternate perspective. Sometimes we have blind spots or get lost in our own ideas. In our industry, there is always a new study, a new treatment, new protocol, or new information, and it is impossible for anyone to know everything. I have attended many classes and workshops over the years and I ALWAYS find that someone will pick up on something I missed, and vise versa. If I attend a class, I will share what I have learned, and my aesthetician friends will share with me what they learned at another class. This sharing of information has been very helpful. Even the best aesthetician or laser technician will encounter a complication at some point and someone else may know just the solution to your problem. Even things like a challenging client or issues with co-workers can benefit from another perspective.
None of us offer every service, or are experienced with every specific need. We all have our talents and limitations. Sometimes we are limited by our tools, and sometimes by our experience or training. Sometimes, we are even limited by location. I have had clients who have moved out of state, and they want to know if I can recommend someone. It is our job to do what best serves our client, even if it means referring them to someone else.
Doctors commonly refer patients to other doctors, even within their own specialty. Why should any of us have such an ego that we elect not to refer a client to another aesthetician, if we cannot provide what that client needs? If it is not ego, it is fear. We are fearful someone will steal our clients. It is shameful that we cannot trust each other. Are we all a bunch of thieves and back stabbing cheats? I don’t think so! It is possible to refer your clients to another aesthetician for a specific service or product and have them return to you as a regular client. I have a network of aestheticians that refer clients to me if I provide a service which they do not. If I know that a client was sent to me from another aesthetician, I will always speak well of who ever referred them. I will not try to steal that client, or sell them services, that I know the referring aesthetician can provide. I do this because I want that aesthetician to continue to refer clients to me. I also want to be able to refer clients to these aestheticians and trust they will not “bad mouth” me, or steal my client. We have established a mutual trust and respect for each other. Plus, it’s the right thing to do! Never pull a robbery when someone has trusted you with a referral.
Having friends to trade services with and make you pretty is an industry benefit. Having friends with common interests makes life better. Having friends in the industry makes your work more fun and feel less like work. Having friends that you can learn from and trust makes you a better aesthetician.
I recommend to start networking with people you already know in the industry, and branch out from there. You can network with vendor reps, educators, aesthetic providers (such as doctors and nurses), and obviously other aestheticians. Trade shows, training workshops, and seminars are all great networking opportunities. You can use social networking sites to find a local group. There are aesthetic groups and forums online, of which I will share a few links below. If you have found a networking group that you recommend, please share in the comments below.
Rosacea is primarily a facial vascular disorder in which blood vessels are functionally and structurally abnormal. Currently rosacea can’t be cured, however it can be effectively treated and controlled. Rosacea is a progressive skin disorder, that should be treated when symptoms first begin. Treatment should be aimed at treating the underlying vascular issues associated with rosacea. Vascular Lasers and IPL treatments are extremely effective at treating existing redness and broken blood vessels. In addition to avoiding rosacea triggers, topical products can be used to prevent flushing and further damage that can accelerate the progression of the disorder.
Laser and IPL Therapy
Both Laser and IPL therapy are very effective at treating telangiectasia (broken blood vessels), generalized redness and flushing. IPL therapy can also be enhanced with Levulan to get the added benefit of treating acne, rosacea papules and pustuals.
Lasers that are absorbed well by hemoglobin are used to treat vascular concerns. The laser energy is absorbed by the blood vessel and creates heat within the vessel which damages the vessel wall and permenatly closes that vessel. The treated vessels are then absorbed by the body. Although there isn’t a cure for rosacea, studies show that laser treatment can permantly remove damaged facial blood vessels and with repeated treatment blood vessels will not always be created to replace the old vessel. Facial blood vessels treated with lasers are sometimes replaced with connective tissue. This is good news, because this will permently reduce the number of blood vessels in the face, near to the level of vessels found in healthy skin.
Lasers have a single wavelength that work at a very specific depth. So any idividual laser has it’s limitations. KTP 532 nm and Pulsed Dye: 577 -585nm lasers are well absorbed by hemoglobin and are very effective at treating superfical blood vessels in the face, while Nd:YAG 1064nm lasers are also well absorbed by hemoglobin, they are effective at treating vessels that are located deeper in the skin.
Intese Pulsed Light (IPL)
IPL skin treatments are known by many names including Fotofacial, Photofacial, Photoderm and Photo rejuvenation. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) differs from lasers because IPL uses a wide spectrum of wavelengths at the same time (for example: 500nm — 1200nm) that can target any chromophore in that range, while lasers have a single wavelength. You can think of the laser like a sniper that can precisely hit a single target with one shot, and IPL is like a grenade that hits several targets at once. IPL uses special cut-off filters that can be selected to target chromophors in a certain range within the skin. When treating rosacea or any vascular concern, the intended target is hemoglobin. The advantage IPL treatments have over laser treatments is that IPL can target vessels at different depths.
Combined Laser and IPL Therapy
Best results are achieved when you combine IPL and Laser treatments. IPL and Laser treatments can be done independently, however combining technologies at the same treatment time will provide a better result. This type of treatment is fairly aggressive and should only be done by someone that is very experienced in combining these technologies.
Oral and Topical Products
Topical Metronidazole Gel
Metronidazole is topical agent used to treat rosacea, available only by prescription. The primary action of Metronidazole is anti-inflamatory. Metronidazole is effective at reducing papules and pustules and has a fairly minimal effect at reducing inflammation. Unfortunately, it isn’t effective for treating broken blood vessels or flushing.
Antibiotics have long been used to treat rosacea, however they work primarily through their anti-inflammatory properties rather than antibacterial. Antibiotics are effective at reducing papules, pustules, and inflammation. The limitation with antibiotics is that they are not effective at treating telangiectasia or flushing.
Antihistamines are effective at reducing facial inflammation, swelling and burning associated with rosacea. Histamine contributes to swelling, itching and burning. Histamine has also been shown to play a role in inflammation and redness.
Sunblock with Zinc Oxide
UV rays can penetrate the skin and activate sensory nerves that release potent vasodilators, as well as creating heat in the skin causing facial flushing. Zinc oxide reflects both UVA and UVB rays, blocking out heat from the sun. Topical zinc oxide also has significant healing properties when applied to damaged skin and has been shown to decrease inflammation in both the epidermis and dermis.
Dimethicone is a silicone based ingredient with moisturizing ability. Dimethicone is also a protective ingredient that has been shown to reduce flushing caused by skin irritants.
Free radicals have been shown to cause structural damage to vascular walls and many free radicals are potent blood vessel dilators. Dietary and topical antioxidants help to block the damaging effects of free radicals.
Studies show that vitamin C can protect blood vessel walls from free radical damage and reverse existing vascular damage. People with rosacea should get plenty of vitamin-C in their diet, and may want to consider a vitamin-C supplement. In addition to being a great antioxidant, topical vitamin-C has anti-inflammatory qualities.
*This post is intended for informational purposes only.
Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is used in photo-rejuvenation for the skin and hair removal treatments. Broad Band Light (BBL) is essentially the same thing as IPL and is used in the same way. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is not actually a laser. IPL emits a non coherent, broad spectrum light, rather than a monochromatic single wavelength like a laser. Basically lasers have one wavelength ( for example: 800nm) with a very specific target, and IPL uses a wide spectrum of wavelengths at the same time (for example: 500nm — 1200nm) that can target any chromophore in that range. You can think of the laser like a sniper that can precisely hit a single target with one shot, and IPL is like a grenade that hits several targets at once.
IPL uses special filters that block unwanted wavelengths. The filters can be changed to “cut off” the shorter wavelengths. The appropriate filter will depend on the depth of the intended target.
The cut off for the wavelength at the deeper end is predetermined, but can vary with each devise.
For example: Lumenis One has a wavelength of 515 – 1200nm,
and has 7 filters: 515, 560, 590,615, 640,695, and 755.
The 515 filter would block out wavelengths above and below 515nm – 1200nm, while the 560 filter would block out wavelengths above and below 560 -1200nm. The deeper wavelength, in this case 1200nm remains the same, while the “cut-off” filter can be changed to block out specific shorter wavelengths.
Each devises may use different wavelengths.
Sciton BBl: 420 -1400nm
Lumenis One: 515-1200nm
iPulse 1200: 530 – 1200nm
LimeLight: 520 – 1100nm
Cynergy XPL: 560 -950nm
IPL is well absorbed by chromophores that have color such as melanin, hemoglobin. The concentration of a specific chromophore peaks at different depths in the skin. The filter used in treatment is decided based on the depth of a desired target and the color of skin. A deeper cut off filter would be used for hair removal, while a shallow filter would be used when treating vascular issues such as rosacea. It is important to remember that IPL targets color in the skin, so tanning must be avoided before treatment. Patients with darker skin should seek treatment from someone experienced in treating their skin type, to avoid complications. IPL treatments can provide beautiful results, but can also cause serious burns. It is the patients responsibility to choose an experienced professional, be honest about sun exposure and follow all pre and post treatment instructions.
There are many variables involved in aesthetic lasers, including the active laser medium, wavelength, and targeted chromophore. Aesthetic lasers can be ablative, non-ablative or fractional. There are also other (non-laser) technology based treatments used in aesthetics such as Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and Radio Frequency (RF).
The term “laser” originated as an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. A laser generates a beam of very intense light. The light emitted by a laser is monochromatic, coherent and collimated.
Monochromatic – the light is of a single wavelength
Coherent - the light beam waves are in the same phase
Collimated - the light beams travel in parallel, all are parallel to each other.
Active Laser Medium Types
The lasing medium is the source of optical gain within a laser. The Active Lasers Medium can be a solid crystal, liquid dye, gas, or semiconductors.
Carbon dioxide (Co2) are gas lasers that are commonly used in aesthetic treatments.
Solid State Lasers
Generally, the active medium of a solid-state laser consists of a glass or crystalline material.
Solid state lasers include Ruby, Aexandrite and Erbium.
Semiconductor-based lasers are also in the solid state, but are considered as a separate class. Diode is a semiconductor based laser used in aesthetic treatments.
A dye laser is a laser which uses an organic dye as the lasing medium. A dye can usually be used for a much wider range of wavelengths which makes them suitable pulsed lasers. Pulsed Dye Lasers are used in aesthetic treatment.
Electromagnetic spectrum is the range of all possible wavelengths and frequencies. Wavelength is the distance over which the wave’s shape repeats ( peak to peak).Wavelenghths are measured in micrometers (microns) and nanometers (nm) Frequency is the number of oscillations per second, measured in hertz.
Energy is the amount of joules (J/cm) delivered. A laser technician adjusts the energy of each treatment, based on factors such as skin type and condition. The laser technician can also control other factors such as spot size and the length and duration of the pulse.
Lasers used in aesthetic treatments target a specific chromophore generally melanin, hemoglobin or water in the tissue. The targeted chromophore is determined by the wavelength. The concentration of a specific chromophore peaks at different depths in the skin. For example hemoglobin in the blood is best absorbed at a shallow wavelength and water is best absorbed at deep wavelengths. Melanin is best absorbed somewhere in the middle (500nm-1064nm), the exact depth can vary, depending on the desired target. For example if you are targeting pigment in the hair follicle a deeper wavelength (640nm-1064nm) would be used, however most lasers used for hair removal are Diodes (800nm-900nm).
Melanin and hemoglobin in blood vessels have color that absorbs the light emitted by specific lasers. Lasers that target color are usually used for hair removal, treating vascular issues such as rosacea and broken blood vessels, and skin discolorations such as freckels. Tanning is contraindicated with laser treatments that target color, tan skin will absorb more heat, increasing the probability of a burn. Tanning can also interfer with the desired results of treatment, because there is less contrast between the intended target and the surrounding tissue. Lasers that are used for hair removal target the color in the hair, so grey or blond hair will not respond well. (There are some lasers that claim to treat grey or light hair).
Water constitutes 80% or more of soft tissue, so lasers that target water are generly used for resurfacing. Lasers with deep wavelenghts such as Co2 or erbium lasers are strongly absorbed by water. The Smoothbeam laser is a 1450nm diode laser that targets water in the skin and is used to treat acne by shrinking the oil gland.
Argon 488 and 515 nm, is a gas laser that emits a blue green light which is strongly absorbed by both hemoglobin and water,used for photocoagulation. Argon lasers are rarely used for aesthetic or dermatologic treatments.
KTP 532 nm, a brilliant green light well absorbed by hemoglobin and melanin used photoablation and photocoagulation. The Iredex DioLite 532 nm KTP that is Diode Pumped, it is used to treat vascular lesions and hyperpigmentation.
Pulsed Dye: 577 -585nm, a yellow light that is well absorbed by hemoglobin in blood. Pulsed Dye Lasers (PDL) are especially useful for the treatment of vascular lesions, including spider veins, strawberry birthmarks and port wine stains.
Ruby 694 nm, uses a synthetic ruby crystal that emits red light that is strongly absorbed by blue and black pigment, and by melanin in skin and hair.
Ruby lasers are used for laser hair removal, tattoo removal and treating pigmented lesions including freckles, liver spots.
Alexandrite Laser 755nm, emits a deep red light and is absorbed by melanin. Alexandrite permits deeper penetration into skin than the ruby, and is used for Laser Hair Reduction.
Diode 800-900nm, emit near-infrared light. Diodes in the 800-900 nm range are absorbed by melanin and used for laser hair removal. The Smoothbeam uses a diode with a 1450nm, it targets water in the skin and is used to treat acne and build collagen.
Nd:YAG 1064nm, laser emits a near infrared beam that can be absorbed by all tissue chromophores, however it is strongly absorbed by hemoglobin. Nd:YAG lasers are used for photocoagulation and photoablation, commonly used to treat broken blood vessels.
Er:YAG 2940nm, emits a mid-infrared beam which has an absorption peak for water. Its used is to ablate tissue for cosmetic laser resurfacing. Also known as Erbium.
CO2 10,600nm, is a gas laser emitting a mid infrared beam which is strongly absorbed by water. Co2 lasers are capable of cutting or vaporizing tissue, and are used for deep laser resurfacing.
Ablative, Non-ablative an Fractional
Non-ablative lasers heat the layers of skin beneath the surface without removing the epidermis (top layer of skin).
Ablative procedures remove the epidermis. Carbon dioxide and Erbium lasers are ablative lasers used in aesthetic treatments. Ablative laser treatments are used for resurfacing, and leave skin raw.
Fractional lasers can be ablative or non-ablative treatments, and target only a fraction of skin at a time, leaving the surrounding tissue intact.
[ Read more on Fractional lasers ]
Some of the lasers used in aesthetic treatments:
Iredex DioLite – 532 nm KTP Diode Pumped – Non-Ablative
Candela Vbeam – 595nm Pulsed dye laser (PDL) – Non-Ablative
Candela GentleLASE – 755 nm Alexandrite – Non-Ablative
Lumenis LightSheer – 800nm Diode – Non-Ablative
Syneron eLaser / Comet – 810nm diode laser ( with RF) – Non-Ablative
Syneron Matrix IR – 915nm diode (with RF )- Non-Ablative/Fractional
Sciton Profile – Nd:YAG 1064 nm – Non-Ablative
Lumenis Multi-Spot – 1064 Nd:YAG – Non-Ablative
Candela GentleYAG – 1064nm Nd:YAG – Non-Ablative
Fraxel re:fine – 1410nm Erbium – Non-Ablative/Fractional
Cynosure Affirm – Nd:Yag 1440nm – Non-Ablative/Fractional
Candela Smoothbeam – 1450 nm diode laser – Non-Ablative
Fraxel re:store – 1500nm Erbium laser – Non-Ablative/ Fractional
Sciton Profile -2940nm Er:YAG – Ablative /(additional attachment to Profile base)
Sciton ProFractional – 2940 Er:YAG – Ablative/Fractional
Lumenis UltraPulse – 10,600nm Co2 – Ablative/ Fractional
Fraxel re:pair – 10,600nm Co2 laser – Ablative/ Fractional
Sometimes a little information can be a dangerous thing.
This is intended to help provide some very basic information of cosmetic / aesthetic lasers. There are many factors involved with laser aesthetic treatments and not everything can be included in this post. Aesthetic laser treatments can be complicated and should only be performed by a qualified and experienced technician.