Redness is usually the result of broken capillaries or dilated tiny vessels (telangiectasia). Rosacea and sun damage commonly cause telangiectasia. Cosmetic creams do not mend broken capillaries. Successful treatment requires treatment with a vascular laser.
Laser is a simple office based procedure. With the new devices topical anaesthetic is not required prior to the procedure. You will be lying down and asked to wear googles or shields to protect your eyes. Each time the laser is fired a bright light will be seen even through the googles and a sound heard. Pain is usually mild due to the cooling mechanism used by the laser. The treated area may feel warm after treatment. Ice packs are used to help reduce swelling. Results are visible after approximately 6-8 weeks. Two to three treatments may be required spaced apart by 4-6 weeks. Some conditions require more treatments eg port wine stains.
Some people take a day or two off work but it is not absolutely necessary. The amount of bruising is dictated by the settings used. Your doctor will discuss this with you prior to treatment.
Here at Northern Sydney Dermatology we have the latest VBeam Perfecta Pulsed Dye Laser. This laser is used for the treatment of facial and neck redness, rosacea and face and leg veins. The advantage of this laser is the dynamic cooling method, or DCD. This delivers a cooling mist on to the skin prior to the laser pulse being emitted. This mist helps with comfort during treatment and to minimise side effects afterwards such as redness.
Side effects can be divided into immediate and long term possible side effects (Table 1). The most common side effect is mild swelling and purple bruising. Purpura can last up to 14 days, but is much less common with new laser systems, such as the VBeam Perfecta. Long term side effects are exceptionally rare with new vascular laser technology. Redness and swelling is mild and lasts 3-5 days.Table 1: Potential Side Effects of Vascular Laser
PainSwelling Bruising or purpura*Blistering and CrustingInfection Ocular injury*
Pigmentation (hypo or hyperpigmentation)Scarring PatterningRecurrence of lesion
The word LASER stands for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation and precisely defines how a laser works.In a nutshell, laser irradiation can selectively destroy specific targets within the skin without damaging surrounding skin structures. Put simply, a vascular laser beam specifically targets oxyhaemaglobin (a key component of blood) within blood vessels. It does this by operating at a wavelength of light that is absorbed by oxyhaemoglobin. Absorption of the beam of light by oxyhaemaglobin destroys the molecule and thus the blood vessel being treated.The key to how well these machines work is basically how perfectly they can destroy haemaglobin and thus the blood vessel being treated without affecting surrounding skin structures such as collagen and elastin. A number of complicated factors dictate how well the machine can do this such as the wavelength the machine operates at, whether the beam is continuous or pulsed and the pulse duration if it is pulsed.