Facial telangiectasia, commonly known as broken capillaries, are small to medium sized red or purplish visible blood vessels on the face, most commonly on the nose, cheeks and chin. For the majority of people they are caused by a combination of sun-damage and inheritance but in a small percentage they may be genetic or due to other medical conditions. They are made worse by certain blood vessel dilators such as medication, alcohol, spicy food, caffeine and some natural supplements. Obviously, broken capillaries and visible veins can also be seen commonly on the legs. Leg veins can appear as a bright pink, red or purplish ‘flare’ of broken capillaries on the skin or be more distinct singular visible purplish ‘threads’ on the skin. All of these visible damaged blood vessels can be improved with the use of lasers.
There are several ways these vessels can be treated. Techniques commonly involve photothermolysis. This technique involves using light of a certain colour (or more accurately light of a certain wavelength) that is shone onto the skin for a very short time – usually less than ten thousandths of a second. The light is absorbed by the blood inside the blood vessel and converted into heat which damages the blood vessel causing it to be reabsorbed by the body over the next few weeks and leaving no evidence that it had ever been there before.
Here are some of the concerns Facial & Leg Vein Lasers can treat:
Facial redness, broken veins and legs veins can be treated either by using an IPL machine or an Nd Yag Vascular Laser. The IPL is largely used for more generalised redness, small blood vessels and larger areas of small broken capillaries. The Nd Yag Laser is useful for treating larger diameter blood vessels and those that are in difficult areas on the face e.g. nose and chin but this laser can also be used to treat diffuse redness and redness associated to Rosacea. It is common to require a combination of treatments with IPL and an Nd Yag Vascular Laser and often more than one treatment with each technology is needed for complete clearance of the broken capillaries. Each treatment with either an IPL machine or an Nd Yag Laser MUST be separated by 4-6 weeks.
Prior to the treatment, the skin will be thoroughly cleaned and all makeup removed. Protective eyewear will be applied and a test pulse of laser light will be applied to the skin. The laser light will pass through the outer layers of the skin to get to the damaged blood vessel and it will feel like a hot pinprick. This sensation will last for only a second as the cold tip of the laser is applied to the skin immediately after the laser pulse is applied.
The skin will be cleansed prior to the treatment but it is advisable to attend for treatment without any makeup or moisturisers on the skin. In some treatments a cold gel may be applied to the skin before the treatment. A facial & leg vein laser treatment requires the use of several laser pulses over the affected blood vessels. This feels like multiple hot pinpricks on the skin, relieved in 1-2 seconds by immediate cooling of the area. The laser shots tend to leave a red raised area where the laser light has penetrated the skin followed by a crusty area of dead skin that goes away after a few days. It is important to NOT pick or scratch these areas after the treatment as this may introduce bacteria and lead to skin infections.
After a facial & leg vein laser treatment there may be a small area of coffee-coloured discolouration remaining on the skin where the laser has been fired. This can be prevented in most situations by avoiding sun exposure and applying a 50+ sun block to the areas treated for 1-2 weeks afterwards. Laser technologies generate heat on the skin so there is always a small risk of blisters, which can take 7-14 days to resolve, usually without scarring.
You MUST avoid sun exposure and solarium treatments for at least 3 weeks after the facial & leg vein laser treatment because the area treated will be more prone to burning and increased pigmentation during this period. If your treatment was for broken capillaries, these may return if you continue to expose your skin to sunlight.
It is important to maintain a good skincare routine with adequate moisturising on a daily basis. However, you should avoid using any skincare that contains AHA, Glycolic Acid, Salicylic Acid or Retinoic Acid (e.g. Retin A) for 3-5 days.
It should be emphasised that whilst most veins are cleared by this treatment, it is possible for new veins to form in the future and further treatments are commonly required at 18-24 months. It is important to maintain good sun protection by using a 50+ sun-block.
To ensure the best results and reduce any possible complications from this treatment it is important that you follow the aftercare instructions given to you by your cosmetic practitioner.
Facial & leg vein laser treatment are performed by Dermal Therapists, Laser Technicians and Cosmetic Registered Nurses.
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