Snow and ice have been used in the field of medicine since ancient times. Nowadays, cryotherapy is an indispensable part of everyday treatment in the fields of rheumatology, orthopedics, sport medicine, and neurology. For some time now, cryotherapy or better cryoanesthesia, has gained in importance as an additive in dermatology as well, especially in dermatologic laser therapy. The objectives are an analgesic effect, which makes the treatment much more bearable for the patients and thermal protection, which makes it possible to use higher levels of therapeutical energy.
For cooling at The Angel Laser Clinic, we use the cold air machine “Cryo 6” (Zimmer Elektromedizin) which was optimised in Germany. This machine uses a compressor system as in a refrigerator to generate a permanent stream of cold air which can vary depending on the desired cooling level (range 1 to 6).
In scientific studies, cold air cooling has been compared with the ice gel cooling. In one such study, 86% of those being treated with the cooling air system for hair removal and pigmented lesions clearly preferred the cold air therapy. Leaving out the area around the nose, the percentage rises to 97%. All female clients whose armpits or bikini zone were epilized said that the cold air therapy had a better analgesic effect.
The aim of using cold air as opposed to a gel is to try to achieve pain free laser hair removal. The main advantages can be summarised as follows:
- The air stream is gentle and can be directed with precision, hitting the skin exactly at the place of the laser beam application, a fact that clients find quite pleasant.
- Because of the good analgesic effect of the cold air cooling, it is possible to increase laser energy levels by an average of 15–30%, and in most cases, with fewer side effects.
- The work can be done quicker as there is no need for breaks to apply a gel.
- After treatment, the patient does not have to clean cooling substances off him- or herself, the amount of waste is reduced.
- This cooling method is not dependent on the topography of the area to be treated. Parts of the body with an uneven surface, mucus membranes or openings such as the oral cavity, ears, and nostrils are hardly or not at all accessible for methods of cooling.
On the whole, we consider the analgesic use of cold air in dermatologic laser therapy to be a practicable and innovative alternative to previous cooling methods.