Since 1997, Maxwell Aesthetics has provided a beautiful, private, and peaceful setting for cosmetic plastic surgery and medical spa services. Dr. Gwen Maxwell is Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and well known for the beautiful and natural looking results she achieves for her patients. All surgical procedures are performed at the Surgery Center at River Road, which is adjacent to Maxwell Aesthetic which is certified by the AAAASF, the State of Arizona, and Medicare. Learn more: https://maxwell-aesthetics.com.
All About LasersQ&A About Laser Treaments with Loida Fraija, our Certified Laser Technician
Q: What kinds of lasers do you use at Maxwell Med Spa?
We have several lasers we use in our med spa for laser treatments. The one we’ve had the longest is the PROFILE™ laser by Sciton, which we’ve been using successfully for 16 years. Then we have the JOULE® Platform (also by Sciton), which has both the HALO® and BBL laser in that platform.
We also have our newest laser, the mJOULE Platform, which has two lasers: the MOXI® (“Multiply Oxygenated eXcited State Ionisation”) and the BBL® HERO™️ (“BroadBand Light High Energy Rapid Output”). Finally, we have the Candela GentleYag (“Yttrium Aluminum Garnet”) which we use for laser hair removal.
Q: Why are there so many different kinds of lasers?
We have so many laser choices because there are different treatments for different concerns and conditions. What it all boils down to, though, is that different lasers have different wavelengths which target different layers of the skin or different areas of the skin. For example, if you do hair removal, it’s not going to benefit your skin. It’s only going to target the follicle of the hair.
If you use the MOXI or HALO, they are not going to remove your hair because they both have different wavelengths that target different areas of the skin. Those two are more for prejuvenation or rejuvenation. It all depends on the individual and what their needs are.
If I had a patient with concerns about hairs on the upper lip, I would never use a HALO; I would treat them with a YAG because that’s what the wavelength targets. With all laser patients, we start off with a complimentary consultation to determine which treatment would be appropriate for their needs and put together an individualized treatment plan.
Q: Are the newer, more expensive lasers better than the older ones?
It’s just like other technologies: take your cell phone for example: every year there’s a newer, better version of your cell phone that comes out and has more features than the last. It’s the same with laser technology: older lasers are able to do their job, but lasers just keep getting better and better year by year.
Now, the older laser technology still works just fine for the intended purpose. The newer lasers just have better wavelengths that target different areas of the skin. Actually, the biggest difference between the older and newer lasers is the difference in “social downtime,” where your skin is still recovering from the treatment and might be red and puffy. So that’s part of the reason we have several lasers: the older technology still works great and is going to be more affordable for our patients. With the newer technology, it’s going to cost a little bit more but may have better results and shorter social downtime.
I always try to educate my patients so they know their options and can go for the more modern technology if they can afford it.
Q: What is the difference between “prejuvenation” and “rejuvenation?”
Many of our patients have mature skin, so sometimes patients who get into the game a little bit later need rejuvenation treatments. These treatments are more corrective, where we use the laser to repair the damage that has already happened in the past.
Prejuvenation is more preventive, where you’re preparing your skin for aging in the future. This is for younger patients who want to prevent aging or to slow down the aging process by getting started early by doing treatments.
We can even help teenagers: as long as parents provide consent, we can offer laser treatments to them. Actually, most of our acne cases are teenagers or younger adults. We can treat all ages and skin types, depending on individual needs. Prejuvenation for younger patients and rejuvenation for older patients.
Q: When and how did you decide to become a laser technician?
I was going to school for photography and the math was just killing me. I’ve never been good with math and I was really struggling with it. Around that time, my sister was actually getting laser treatments, and she said: “You should look into lasers.” And I was intrigued by that and decided, “You know what? I think I will.”
I never cared for the beauty industry before that time. I did always have an artistic eye, but the art I liked was photography. Once I got into lasers, I just, fell in love with it. And I still use a lot of math! …but it’s different math. It’s “laser math,” so it’s math that I actually like. And I still get to make art because the way that you can transform someone’s skin is really an art form. So actually, it’s like I’m still using math and making art, but it’s just a different field.
I’m so passionate about what I do. I love working on a patient’s skin and seeing it change and seeing it transformed—it’s magical. The very first time I realized I was changing people’s self-esteem or the way they looked at themselves is when I did laser hair removal on a patient’s face and she came in later for a touch-up treatment. She was wearing a ponytail and she told me, with tears in her eyes, “This is the first time since I was a little girl that I’ve been able to wear a ponytail because I was always hiding behind my hair because I wanted to hide the hair on my face.”
So for me, it was like, “Oh my gosh, I am doing something good that affects people’s lives!” It’s not just vanity, it’s actually life-changing for them in a positive way.
Q: Does your job require you to have any sort of training or certification?
Yes. You have to be certified in order to give patients laser treatments. In Arizona, we are required by the State to be a “CMLT” or Certified Medical Laser Technician. This is pretty important because lasers can be dangerous, obviously. So we are required to be certified and trained and educated on their proper use. And, in my case, I’ve been doing this for over 13 years, so our patients know they’re in good hands!
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