Alexandrite Lasers are commonly used for laser hair removal and to treat areas of hyper-pigmentation on the skin (eg. melasma). Except for the treatment of hyper-pigmentation problems associated with acne scarring, Alexandrite Lasers are rarely used to treat active acne or acne scars.
How does Alexandrite Laser Treatment Work?
Alexandrite Lasers make use of the gemstone Alexandrite as the lasing medium. Alexandrite is a unique gemstone in that it changes color depending on the type of light that is illuminating it.
Alexandrite Lasers produce light with a wavelength of approximately 755 nm (Red/Infrared). Melanin, the primary pigment in skin and hair, absorbs energy strongly at this wavelength. As a result, the energy from Alexandrite Lasers is strongly absorbed by areas of tissue with high concentrations of melanin, such as the hair bulb and hyper-pigmented areas of skin. The absorption of the laser beam by the melanin damages the melanin-containing cells. This process is the basis of laser hair removal, which can damage the hair producing cells near the base of the hair shaft, and prevents future hair growth.
Is Alexandrite Laser Treatment an Effective Treatment for Acne?
There is very little clinical research on the effectiveness of Alexandrite lasers in the treatment of active acne. Alexandrite Lasers are usually not considered as an option for acne treatment. It is conceivable that they could be used to target the hair follicle, and in doing so, damage the sebaceous glands. But that is an untested concept, and is likely to remain that way. At the current time, Alexandrite Lasers are not considered to be an effective treatment for acne or most acne scarring.
How and Where is Alexandrite Laser Treatment Administered?
Alexandrite Laser treatments are offered at many dermatology offices, cosmetic surgery clinics and laser hair removal clinics.
Alexandrite Laser treatments for hair removal or melasma treatment are often significantly less expensive than laser skin resurfacing treatments and other aggressive laser therapies. There is a large range in cost, depending on the size of the treated area and the number of total treatments. One session of Alexandrite Laser treatment can start as low as $150 dollars and can rise to over a thousand dollars for a very large treatment area.
There have been numerous reports of permanent pigmentation and scarring side effects from poorly performed Alexandrite Laser treatment, Thus, it is important to have these procedures done in a professional and reputable environment.
Popular Alexandrite Laser Systems
Accolade, Apogee, DEKA MOTUS AX, Epilare, GentleLase, Noblex, Songic.
Alexandrite Laser Images
Laser Treatment of Pigmented Lesions. Goldberg. 1997.
Combined Ultrapulse CO2 Laser and Q-Switched Alexandrite Laser Compared with Q-Switched Alexandrite Laser Alone for Refractory Melasma: Split-Face Design. Angsuwarangsee, et al. 2003.
Minocycline-Induced Hyperpigmentation Treated with a 755-nm Q-Switched Alexandrite Laser. Alster, et al. 2004.
A Retrospective Study on the Efficacy and Complications of Q-Switched Alexandrite Laser in the Treatment of Acquired Bilateral Nevus of Ota-Like Macules. Ying-Ming, et al. 2001.
Alexandrite Laser Hair Removal @ Realself
Overview of Laser Hair Removal Treatment Options from Dr. Harvey Jay