Birthmark Removal by Light Therapy
Light therapy can be used to diminish the appearance of both pigmented and vascular birthmarks. Intense pulsed light therapy, or IPL, breaks down the abnormal blood vessels or pigmentation inconsistencies to make unwanted birthmarks less noticeable.
The SkinnyBirthmark Removal by Light Therapy
- avg. recovery
About the Procedure
Light therapy can help reduce the appearance of pigmented and vascular birthmarks. Pigmented birthmarks are caused by irregularities in the melanin in the skin whereas vascular birthmarks are the result of blood vessel abnormalities. The resulting blemishes can effect one's confidence and self esteem when spots are large or ill-placed. If a pigmented birthmark is raised, your doctor may recommend excision via a shave, punch, or surgical method. Light therapy, intense pulsed light, or IPL, helps unwanted blemishes disappear by cutting off the blood supply to vascular birthmarks and breaking up the melanin in pigmented birthmarks. During an IPL treatment, a hand-held device delivers a visible pulse of broad spectrum light. This light targets the difference in color from the birthmark and the natural skin complexion. When the light is absorbed, the blood vessels and irregular pigments are heated and destroyed. Light therapy is not as targeted as a fractional laser resurfacing treatment for birthmark removal, meaning number and duration of treatments will vary considerably depending on the size and color of the treated area.
The goal of birthmark removal by light therapy is to reduce the appearance of a birthmark.
What to Expect
Light therapy can be used to diminish the appearance of both pigmented and vascular birthmarks. While not as aggressive as laser resurfacing, intense pulsed light therapy, or IPL, can make birthmarks less noticeable. Here is a quick guide for what to expect before, during, and after birthmark removal by light therapy.
- Keep skin moisturized and avoid sun exposure
- Stop smoking at least 4 weeks before and after treatment
- Avoid blood thinning medications
- An antiviral medication may be prescribed
Immediately After Treatment
- Mild erythema and a stinging sensation for several hours
- Skin may feel sensitive, similar to the sensation of a sunburn, for up to 24 hours
Recovery from an IPL treatment is typically minimal although significant changes may not be noticeable until several weeks after treatment. It is common for patients to experience mild erythema and a stinging sensation for several hours after treatment. Ice packs may be used to alleviate any discomfort.
The ideal candidate for birthmark removal by light therapy should have healthy skin that is not prone to easy bruising and doesn’t suffer from severe scarring issues like keloid formation. People with well-hydrated or mildly-oily and supple skin are best suited for this treatment, though other skin types are also treatable by controlling the intensity of the light pulses.
Not Recommended For
Birthmark removal by light therapy isn't recommended for candidates who have darker skin tones or are dependent upon blood thinner medications like warfarin or heparin supplementation.
After a light therapy treatment, the skin may take on a sunburned appearance, followed by some swelling and peeling.