Laser Treatments

Angiomas, Sunspots, Pulsed Dye Info, Redness (Versa), & IPL Rejuvenation

LASER TREATMENT OF ANGIOMAS
Information Sheet

What are angiomas?
Angiomas are bright red, benign skin growths that are made of tiny blood vessels.   Although benign, angiomas can be removed for cosmetic reasons.  There are different types of angiomas.  Spider angiomas are common in children and pregnant women, whereas cherry angiomas are common in both genders with increasing age and in all races.  Left untreated, they typically reach a certain size and then remain.

How does the laser work?
The laser passes through the skin and is absorbed by the blood vessels that make up the angioma.  Following the treatment, the angiomas may disappear or turn darker in color (often gray), and then fade over 2-4 weeks.   

How many treatments are needed?
This depends on the size of the angioma and your skin type.   The average number of treatments required is 2, though small angiomas may respond to a single treatment.  As a general rule, some improvement should be noted with each treatment.   If not, please advise your provider so that other available options may be discussed.

What can I expect with a treatment?
Your eyes will be protected with goggles during the procedure, and you will be fully awake.  Each pulse feels like a tiny pinprick.  An ice pack or cooling gel may be used to minimize the stinging.  The number of pulses needed to treat the area depends on the size of the lesion.   Following the treatment, the angioma will disappear or turn gray and may be slightly stingy.  An ice pack may be applied to ease any discomfort.   Makeup may be applied immediately following the treatment.  Over the next several weeks, the gray color will slowly break apart and fade.  Swelling and scabbing may occur.  It is okay to drive yourself to and from the treatment.

How do I prepare for treatments?
We suggest avoiding any sun exposure for 4 weeks prior to and 2 weeks following each treatment.  Being tan (for your skin type) increases the risk of side effects.  If possible, come into the clinic without any makeup or creams on the areas to be treated.  Alternatively, we will have you wash your skin prior to treatment.  If the treatment site is near your hair, avoid all alcohol based hair products/spray the day of the procedure.  If desired, you may bring your makeup and apply it immediately following the treatment.

LASER TREATMENT OF SUNSPOTS
Information Sheet

Why do I have these sun spots anyway?
Sun spots (also called lentignes) commonly develop on the face, chest, and hands from long term sun exposure and are a sign of sun damage.  Patients often note that their lesions get darker during the summer and lighter during the winter.  However, in contrast to freckles, they are present all year round.  

What about my other brown spots?
Your skin needs to be examined to determine what the cause of your other brown spots is.  If you have a history of sun overexposure and/or skin cancer, we recommend having a “skin exam” once a year by a dermatologist or primary care physician.   This simply entails visually examining your skin head to toe.  Any brown spot that you note is continually changing month after month should be brought to the immediate attention of your health care provider.

How does the Yag laser work for removing sun spots?
The Yag laser is perhaps the most precise and effective method for removing individual brown spots.   The primary benefit of the Yag laser is that is it usually very effective following a single treatment, while the main disadvantage is that it creates distinct, noticeable reddish-brown scabs.  The scabs typically heal within 1 week on the face, and within 3 weeks on the hands or extremities.  Because the laser beam is small, it is generally not used to treat large areas of unwanted brown spots.   

What should I expect during laser therapy?
Your eyes will be protected with goggles during the procedure, and you will be fully awake.  The laser makes a loud popping noise every time it is pulsed and feels stingy.  An ice pack or cold laser gel will alleviate this sensation.  The areas are initially white but then turn pink and scabby within 10-15 minutes.   Ointment and bandages will be applied to the sites before you leave, and you will be given a container of healing cream and wound care instructions to begin later that day.   On the face, the scabs usually fall off and the skin turns pink within 1 week, at which point makeup may be applied.  On the hands and extremities, this process takes around 3 weeks.  It is important to keep the areas out of the sun while healing.  Some patients are prone to a condition termed “post inflammatory hyperpigmentation” which can be triggered small amounts of by sun exposure.  If this happens, it can take months for the pigmentation to resolve though it will go away.  

What role does sunscreen play when treating sun spots?        
The daily application of sunscreen is the most effective treatment for preventing more brown spots.  The optimal sunscreen for brown spots is one which blocks ultraviolet A (UVA) radiation (in addition to ultraviolet B radiation which causes sunburn). UVA light easily penetrates glass and is present on cloudy days just as it is on sunny days.   Sunscreens that contain titanium dioxide, micronized zinc oxide, and /or Parsol are good at blocking UVA.  

How should I prepare for my laser treatment?  
Ideally, come into the office without any makeup or other products on the areas to be treated.  If having spots treated on your face, avoid using any stay on hair products (such as gel, mousse, and hairspray) on the day of treatment.  (Conditioner is fine).   We suggest avoiding any sun exposure for 4 weeks prior to and 4 weeks following each treatment. 

LASER TREATMENT USING THE PULSED DYE
Information Sheet


How does the laser work?
The pulsed dye laser has been used since the 1980’s to treat unwanted vascular lesions in patients of all age groups.  It is composed of a single wavelength of visible light (585 nm).   The laser passes through the skin and is absorbed by the unwanted red birthmark or vessels.  The area immediately turns deep purple or gray in color due to the vessel’s absorption of the laser light.  Similar to a bruise, the body absorbs the purple discoloration and lightens the unwanted vascular lesion in the process.

How many treatments are needed?

The number of treatments depends on the type of lesion being treated.  Facial blood vessels often respond to 1-2 treatments, while some birthmarks may take over 10 treatments.   While we will make every effort to provide you with an accurate treatment number estimate and the desired results, we cannot guarantee them.  However, as a general rule, some improvement should be noted with each treatment.   If not, please advise your provider so that other available options may be discussed.

What can I expect with a treatment?

Your eyes will be protected with goggles during the procedure, and you will be fully awake.  Each pulse feels like a rubber band snap and covers an area about the size of a pencil eraser.  The number of pulses needed to treat the area depends on the size of the lesion.   Following treatment, the area turns dark purple/gray and can be slightly stingy.  An ice pack may be applied to ease any discomfort.   If desired, makeup may be applied immediately following the treatment though the purple/gray discoloration is difficult to cover.  Over the next several weeks, the purple/gray color breaks apart and fades.  Swelling and scabbing may also occur.  Driving is permitted following the procedure as long as the treated site does not involve the eyelid area.  

How should I prepare for my treatment?  

We suggest avoiding any sun exposure for 4 weeks prior to and following each treatment.   If possible, come into the office without any makeup or other agents on your skin.  If having treatments on your face, avoid using alcohol based hair products (such as gel, mousse, or hairspray) prior to the treatment.  If you are tan, we will likely be unable to perform your treatment.

LASER TREATMENT OF REDNESS (VERSAPULSE LASER)
Information Sheet


How does the laser work?
The Versapulse laser is composed of a single wavelength of visible light (532 nm).   The laser passes through the skin and is absorbed by the unwanted vessels.  By keeping the skin chilled with gel during the treatments, the surface of the skin is protected.   The laser beam is about the diameter of a pencil eraser.  Because the laser pulses are delivered quickly, entire regions (rather than individual vessels) can be treated in a short period of time.

How many treatments are needed?
The number of treatments depends on the type of vessels treated and your skin’s predisposition to create new ones.  Bright red, distinct vessels (which are very superficial within the skin) often improve significantly with 1-2 treatments.   Patients with a diffuse redness (or a ruddy complexion) often require 3-4 treatments.  Blue or purple vessels are typically too deep for the Versapulse laser, but may respond to another laser type.    
 
Patients with unwanted redness tend to develop more redness over time.   While we will make every effort to provide you with an accurate treatment number estimate and the desired results, we cannot guarantee them.  However, as a general rule, some improvement should be noted with each treatment.   If not, please advise your provider so that other laser options may be discussed.

What can I expect with a treatment?
Your eyes will be protected with metal goggles during the procedure, and you will be fully awake.  Cold gel will be applied to your skin.  Each pulse is stingy but should not be painful.  If you are uncomfortable or having pain, please let your provider know so that your settings can be adjusted.  Each treatment lasts around 15- 30 minutes.  Following the procedure, your skin will appear pink or red.  You may apply an ice pack to reduce any discomfort or swelling.  If desired, makeup may be applied immediately following the treatment.  The day following the procedure, swelling that looks like mosquito bites sometimes forms.  If this occurs, ice compresses can be applied.   It may take up to 3 weeks to see the full improvement attained by a treatment.  Driving to and from the procedure is fine.  

How do I prepare for my treatment?
We suggest avoiding any sun exposure for 4 weeks prior to each treatment.  If possible, come into the clinic without any makeup or creams on the areas to be treated.  Alternatively, we will have you wash your skin prior to treatment.  If the treatment site is near your hair, avoid all alcohol based hair products/spray the day of the procedure.  If desired, you may bring your makeup and apply it immediately following the treatment.

INTENSE PULSED LIGHT REJUVENATION
Information Sheet


What is intense pulsed light?
Intense pulsed light (also known as “IPL”) is a concentrated beam of visible light.  Because the beam contains numerous wavelengths of light, it is different from a laser (which contains only one wavelength of light).   

How does intense pulsed light rejuvenate the skin?
Each pulse of light passes through the skin and is absorbed by the brown and red pigments within the skin.  With repeated treatments, brown sun spots and broken blood vessels lighten.  This leads to a more even skin tone which is an important part of skin rejuvenation.   

What should I expect during intense pulsed light therapy?
Your eyes will be protected with metal goggles during the procedure, and you will be fully awake.  Cold gel will be applied to your skin.  Each pulse is stingy but should not be painful.  If you are having pain, please let your provider know so that your settings can be adjusted.  Each treatment lasts around 30 minutes.  Following the procedure, your skin will appear red.  You may apply an ice pack to reduce any discomfort.  Makeup may be applied immediately following the treatment, and it is okay to return to work.  Over the next 1-2 weeks, treated brown spots can become darker in color, scab, and flake off, while treated redness will gradually lighten.      

How many treatments should I have and how often should I have them?
The number of treatments needed depends on the site being treated, skin complexion, and treatment goals.  For facial treatments, at least 2 treatments is suggested though 3-4 is optimal.  For non-facial treatments, more treatments (at least 3) at lower settings are necessary due to the thinner skin of the neck, hands, arms, and legs.    Treatments should be spaced at least 3-4 weeks apart.   It is also okay to space the treatments further out if desired, and there is no loss in improvement by doing this.

How should I prepare for my treatment?  
If possible, come into the office without any makeup or other products on your skin.  If having treatments on your face, avoid using alcohol based hair products (such as gel, mousse, or hairspray) prior to the treatment.  We suggest avoiding any sun exposure and wearing daily sunscreen for 4 weeks prior to and 4 weeks following each treatment.   If you are tan, we will likely be unable to perform your treatment.