The Power of Light: The Evolution of Aesthetic Laser Treatments

Palomar Medical Technologies

In less than a century, laser technology has advanced from abstract theory to widespread use in our everyday lives. In 1917, Albert Einstein established the theoretical framework for lasers. What's happened since demonstrates the amazing power of light.

The First 50 Years of Laser Technology

The first functional laser was created in 1960, by Theodore H. Maiman, a young, U.S. physicist working in California. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, scientists primarily focused on the military and industrial applications of this new technology. But in 1974, lasers went mainstream, with the introduction of barcode scanners at grocery store checkouts. Today, you can find lasers in products ranging from DVD and CD players, to home and office printers, to light shows and game consoles.

In 2010, lasers celebrated their 50th birthday.

Lasers in the Medical Field

As early as the 1960s, researchers began to apply laser technology to medical problems. Laser precision led to innovations in surgical treatments – such as vision correction and kidney stone treatment. By the 1980s, select dermatologists were using aesthetic laser treatments for skin conditions, but the practice was not widespread.

Early Cosmetic Lasers Were Effective ... but Inaccessible

The first cosmetic laser treatment for wrinkles used a process called "ablation" which removed the top layer of skin and part of the sub-layer. Although this aesthetic laser treatment was highly effective, it was not accessible to most people. The surgical procedure – technically known as full-surface, ablative laser skin resurfacing – was costly and required up to four months to fully recover. And even for patients who could afford the procedure, there were risks of infection and other complications, including scarring.

In the Past Decade, Palomar Revolutionized Laser Skin Treatment

The scientists at Palomar Medical Technologies saw tremendous potential to improve aesthetic laser treatments. They wanted people to reap the benefits of cosmetic lasers, but without the risks and prolonged recovery time. In the 1990s, a global team of Palomar laser physicists and esteemed dermatologists began experimenting with non-ablative fractional laser treatments – a new technique that kept the outer layer of skin in place ("non-ablative") and treated only a small portion ("fraction") of the skin with each application of light, for faster healing and fewer risks. These fractional lasers generate short pulses of micro-fine light, which can be manipulated by size, energy, spacing and depth to professionally treat conditions like scars, age spots, stretch marks and wrinkles. In 2000, Palomar filed a patent application on this fractional laser technology and later began selling laser skin resurfacing treatment systems to doctors for use on their patients.

From 2007-2011, the only years for which statistics are available, U.S. doctors performed more than half a million fractional aesthetic laser treatments.*

Palomar Adapts Technology for At-Home Use

Driven to make aesthetic laser treatments more accessible and affordable, Palomar laser physicists began adapting the technology for use at home. The challenges were many: miniaturizing the technology, adding user-friendly features and testing to make sure it was appropriate for home use. But they succeeded. After years of clinical studies, Palomar received FDA-clearance for the first at-home laser clinically proven to reduce fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes. So now, with the PaloVia Skin Renewing Laser, the advantages of cosmetic laser treatments are available – in your own home, on your own terms.

The PaloVia Skin Renewing Laser is a new-to-the-world product that required rigorous safety testing to ensure it was appropriate for home use. Learn more about the PaloVia Product Features.

And that's the story of the amazing power of light. PaloVia. Proven by dermatologists. Perfected for you.®

*American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery Statistics, 2007-2011.