SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) --When you think of skin treatments you may think of creams or even lasers, but what about sound? A new device uses pulses of sound to blast away imperfections on you skin.
Olga Mejia is in her 50s and still has beautiful amber skin, but she's recently become concerned by the appearance of age spots on her hands and chest area.
"It bothers me because with clothes like this, short sleeve," Mejia said.
With the help of San Francsico dermatologist Vic Narurkar, Olga is volunteering to test a newly approved technology to lighten age spots. It's a combination laser called Picowave.
"What's unique about the Picowave laser is it uses a mechanism that's primarily called photoacoustic. Photo, meaning light, acoustic, meaning sound," Narurkar said.
Dr. Narurkar says the sound waves are designed to break up the pigment in age spots without producing excessive heat. A second handset injects tiny fractions of laser light to stimulate collagen tissue, smoothing the skin, and helping it rebuild.
Over the course of several minutes, Narurkar treats Mejia's hand and upper chest, first, with one handset, then the other. Because the sound-based system produces less heat, Narurkar says it's gentler on many minority skin tones, which can suffer damage from regular lasers.
"The unwanted heat can create hypo, the loss of pigmentation, or hyper, excessive pigmentation," Narurkar said.
He says the Picoway was successful in removing scarring and age spots as seen in these before and after photos captured during recent clinical trials. The treated spots typically peel off in about a week, offering patients of diverse skin types, a new option for rejuvenating their skin.
While there are no documented side effects, patients can expect to have a reddish look to their skin for about 24 hours after the treatment.
Written and produced by Tim Didion.