What are vascular lesions and why do we get them?
Spider veins, haemangioma, telangiectasia and rosacea are all common types of vascular lesions and appear most commonly facially in the second half of life. They are blood vessels that become enlarged and visible due to weakened valves, causing blood to pool instead of flowing to the heart. They can be caused by a variety of factors. It is thought that we inherit a genetic disposition to develop the condition which is then exacerbated by environmental factos such as skin irritation, injury and UV damage.
How do we treat vascular lesions?
Alma lasers created the Dye VL laser as an attachment for the Harmony XL Pro machine. It utilises a specific wavelength of light which is absorbed by haemoglobin. This allows us to target specifically vasculature leaving other surrounding tissues untouched.
Dye VL technology works by targeting the chromospheres, which are the molecules which give the lesion its colour. It targets the lesion using a system of selective photo thermolysis, this ensures that the laser only treats the haemoglobin in the vascular lesion. The laser causes selective heating within the red blood vessels or thread veins only, meaning the surrounding skin and tissue is protected. This specific heating causes the blood to coagulate, which causes the tiny veins to collapse and become absorbed and removed by the body over time.
The Dye VL has a filtered wavelength range of 500-600 nm which is the frequency needed for haemoglobin absorption. It achieves this using Alma’s Advanced Fluorescence Technology (AFT) which is a special filtering system that converts previous unusable short wavelengths of light into part of the usable spectrum. This results in an advanced form of Intense Pulse Light which creates a more effective and predictable treatment which allows you to achieve desired results.
Dye lasers have become the most popular way to treat and remove vascular or vein related problems. As well as the efficient use of light energy, the treatment also has contact cooling which is delivered to the surface of the skin using a cold sapphire tip. This cools the skin, making the procedure very well tolerated by the skins surface as it is consistently cooled whilst being treated by the laser.
How many treatments should I have and how long does the treatment last?
The amount of treatments needed to remove your vascular lesion is dependent on the lesion size, character and location. Your laser technician will be able to give you a rough estimate of how many sessions you will need but it will be a dynamic process of evaluation as the treatment course goes on. An approximate guide would suggest 3-5 sessions would be adequate in most instances.
Many clients see a 50% to 75% reduction in visible blood vessels after 1 to 3 treatments. The results typically last aound 3 years although again this is variable. Given that damaged vessels have formed in the first place; as a client you are predisposed. As a result, new vessel damage can form over time requiring further treatment.
Which presenting complaints can be successfully treated?
As the Dye VL module uses AFT which is an advanced system of IPL, it means that the laser is safe enough to use on all areas of the body and can be successfully used on the following conditions:
- Facial spider veins
- Port wine stains
What to expect during the treatment?
The treatment generally lasts about 30 minutes; however, this may vary depending on the size of the area being treated. There will be very mild discomfort when being treated by the DYE VL laser. Numbing anaesthetics are not required.
The treated area will be cleansed to remove any products such as lotions, make up or perfumes. An ultrasound gel is applied on the treated area, this will feel cool whilst the laser delivers pulses of light to the skin.
You will be asked to wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from the light rays.
After the treatment a sunscreen will be applied, and you may return to your normal daily activities immeadiately.
Possible side effects
- It is common to experience some redness. This is normal and will usually only last a few days but will certainly fade within 2 weeks following treatment.
- It is unusual but possible to see a small purple/red spots immediately post treatment. These will self-resolve within a week.
- Scarring is very rare, especially if you seek your treatment in skilled hands.
- To help to prevent scarring, you should be advised to wear SPH (>30) daily fo 2 weeks post treatment. The UV rays are still present and can damage your skin even on a cloudy day.
If laser treatment is an option for you, make sure you communicate the following with your laser technician:
- What medication you are on, including isotretinoin, aspirin and warfarin.
- Any medical conditions you have.
- If you have had Botox, dermal fillers or any other treatments on the skin where the laser may come into contact.
- If you skin is hypersensitive to light.
- If you bruise easily.
- What results you aim to achieve.