Pulsed dye lasers produce an intense yellow light which is absorbed preferentially by red blood cells inside blood vessels. This produces thermal (heat) energy which damages the blood vessels. The surrounding tissue absorbs hardly any of the laser beam and is not usually affected. This means that the risk of scarring is very small.With the V-Beam laser, the risk of damage to the surrounding skin is minimised by using a cryogenic spray (cold spray) to freeze the surface of the skin a fraction of a second before the laser treatment.
The intended Benefits
Port wine stains
About 80% of port wine stains can be improved by laser treatment. The response to treatment depends on the colour, depth, age and position of the port wine stain.
Thread veins on the face and nose usually respond well and 70% clearance is achievable with several treatments.
The response of other lesions is variable. If the initial results are good, treatment will be continued until there is no further improvement.
- Change in the colour of the treated skin which can last for several months - some people develop pale areas and others light to dark brown discolouration depending on the skin type. These changes are more common after sun exposure or in those with pigmented skin. This discolouration can also be made worse by sun exposure. Again, we recommend the use of a sun block.It is recommended that you use a high factor sunscreen (SPF 50) during the summer months.
- Blister and/or crusts - these changes resolve with good skin care and frequent application of moisturisers or antiseptic cream.
- Scarring - fortunately this is rare
What happens after treatment?
Immediately after treatment the skin will turn purple and may be swollen. Any treatment near the eye may cause swelling and temporary closure of the eyelids. The discolouration of the skin usually fades over one or two weeks.
- You can wash the treated area as normal using warm water but not harsh soaps or exfoliants. The skin should be patted dry, not rubbed as this can break the skin. Care should be taken when shaving. It may be best not to shave until the bruising has settled.
- The skin should be treated with a simple moisturising cream such as Lynton light soothe serum until the bruising settles.
- Very occasionally, you may develop slight crusting or scabbing of the skin. If the skin breaks, it is best to apply an antiseptic such as Savlon cream or a proprietary brand 2-3 times daily. This will help to reduce the risk of infection. You should do this until the skin heals.
- You can use camouflage make up after 2 days to cover the area after treatment. Care should be taken when removing to avoid breaking the skin.
- If a contact lens was used to treat the eyelid you will have an eye pad in place. This should be kept in place for 2 hours after treatment. This is to prevent injury to the eye
- Avoid activities which may increase the temperature of the skin for 72 hours e.g. sauna, steam room and physical activity such as the gym.
- Use of a high factor sun block (minimum factor 30) and avoid direct sun exposure.