Dermatology is one medical specialty that has seen a technological explosion in recent years. Dermatology devices, once limited to the Wood’s lamp and standard surgical equipment, now provide specialized assistance for a whole range of skincare applications, from the physician’s removal of malignancies to the esthetician’s cosmetic services. From laser resurfacing to cryosurgery, microdermabrasion to electrolysis, you’ll need to navigate a whole dictionary’s worth of key terms to make your acquaintance with dermatology devices more than skin-deep. Here’s an overview of the basics.
Wood's lampOne of the simplest dermatology devices, the Wood's lamp has been used since 1925 as a diagnostic tool. A Wood's lamp, also called a Wood's light or Wood's glass, shines ultraviolet light on the patient's skin, revealing the presence of certain fungal and bacterial conditions that fluoresce, or glow, in ultraviolet light. Estheticians also use Wood's lamps to monitor the coverage of skin peeling chemicals, which also fluoresce in ultraviolet light, to assure even distribution.
LaserDermatological lasers focus intense light on the skin to resurface wrinkles and scars, repair broken capillaries and remove lesions. Ablative lasers burn away the top layer of the skin. Non-ablative, or cool, lasers use lower light levels to address specific areas.
DesiccatorIn dermatological terms, a desiccator is a piece of electrosurgical equipment that uses an electrical current, applied through a needle, to dry up and suction away skin and underlying tissue. Some dermatology desiccators also include surgical cutting tool accessories.
MicrodermabrasionIn contrast to large-scale dermabrasion, or removal of the top layer of the skin, performed by ablative lasers or chemical peels, microdermabrasion resurfaces the skin micrometers at a time, using a revolving metal brush or a diamond-tipped burr, also known as a fraise.
CryosurgeryCryosurgical equipment, from the term "for freezing," applies liquid nitrogen to the skin to freeze and remove warts, moles, skin tags and other lesions.
ElectrolysisElectrolysis is the removal of excess or unwanted hair through the application of electrical current to the hair follicle. Epilators, which come in the form of needles or tweezers, are the most common dermatology devices for electrolysis.
FDA) offers a page defining hair removal techniques and equipment, including electrolysis and epilators.