Laser treatments for birthmark reduction.
Thanks to the development of medical lasers the treatment of Birthmarks has become a routine procedure in medical laser clinics. With birthmarks falling into different categories, the type of laser used for the treatment used will be chosen based on the kind of birthmark.
Birthmarks are hereditary but may not be immediately visible at birth. Birthmarks are broadly classified as being either Vascular where excess blood vessels form a network under the skin or Pigmented where excess pigment cells containing melanin are concentrated in an area of skin.
Medical grade lasers are used to treat birthmarks through a series of laser treatments where the laser light is concentrated to target either blood vessels in the case of Vascular Birthmarks (using Vascular Lasers) or melanocytes in the case of Pigmented Birthmarks (using Pigment Lasers).
Laser pulses are delivered to the site (it feels like the snap of a rubber band). An anaesthetic cream or spray can be used to prevent discomfort and protect the skin. The focused beams target the abnormal vessels or pigment, causing them to break up. The patient’s body will naturally remove the debris, fading the birthmark over the course of the treatment.
The treatments are quick and non-invasive, so you won’t have to take time off work for recovery. The skin around the birthmark will not be affected or damaged in any way.
In terms of vascular birthmarks, the most common is the Macular Stain. These are present on 40% of newborns and fade naturally. They don’t require laser treatment. Strawberry Naevi are benign tumours of newly formed blood vessels clustered together. They can be present at birth or form in the early weeks of life and tend to grow. Most disappear spontaneously by the time the child is nine. Port Wine Stains generally appear on one side of the body and have a well-defined border. Most remain unchanged but can become darker and bumpy. Most childhood birthmarks are treated at paediatric hospitals. Our team has great success in treating adults with persistent marks.
With pigmented birthmarks, the most common is a flat, brown mark referred to as a Café Au Lait birthmark. They present at birth, or over time as the skin is exposed to the sun. Dermal Melanocytosis is caused by are a group of conditions that consist of extra pigment cells in the dermal layer of the skin. Colour may vary from slate brown to blue and even grey. They can grow slowly and darken from childhood to adulthood. Congenital Naevi are a group of pigmented birthmarks that are present at birth. They vary in size and come with an increased risk of melanoma developing.
Café au lait birthmarks respond well to laser treatment, but results are variable, and a series of treatments are needed. Laser can also treat Dermal Melanocytosis, and because in this group of conditions, the pigment is deeper in the dermis layer of the skin, longer wavelength lasers are used. The laser treatment of Congenital Naevi is also feasible, but regular follow up, and surveillance in a specialised dermatology clinic is necessary.
No preparation is necessary, but if the birthmark is in a sun exposed area avoid excess sun exposure for at least 2 weeks before treatment.
Before any laser treatment of pigmented lesions, any possibility of skin cancer needs to be considered, and if necessary, a biopsy might be required.
It’s advisable to avoid sun exposure and to keep the area undergoing treatment protected with a high-factor sun protection cream. You will need to keep the skin well hydrated and drink plenty of water after a session.
Before and after images are presented purely as a reference point of the results that can be achieved. Everyone is unique and outcomes will vary and realistic expectations need to be discussed on a case by case basis.
Got questions? Or ready to book in? Contact our experienced and friendly team to start your journey to healthy skin with us.