If you have a port wine stain, then you may be embarrassed by its appearance. This is a normal reaction, especially if the mark is located on your face or an area of the body that is highly visible. Laser treatments can be used to reduce the appearance of the mark. They are most successful during infancy or early childhood, but laser treatments can be used on adults as well. Before you try the treatment, you should understand a little bit about what should be expected.
When a laser treatment is completed, the small blood vessels underneath the skin are sealed or closed off. This makes sense if you understand what causes the staining of the skin. Specifically, small and abnormal formations of capillaries close to the skin's surface allow blood to flow just underneath the skin. The blood flow is much greater than the other areas of the skin and this is what causes the discoloration. By sealing the blood vessels, blood flow is reduced and the skin no longer appears as red or pink.
While laser treatments do close off the small blood vessels, the process can be slow. Not all of the blood vessels can be sealed at once, and you will see a slow fading of the port wine stain.
You can typically schedule about six laser sessions a year, and this means that a single treatment can be completed once every two months. This allows for healing, since more regular treatments can cause cell damage and lead to scarring or increased bleeding. Both of these things can worsen the appearance of the birthmark.
You will need to have patience as the laser closes off blood vessels. However, your physician should be able to give you a rough estimate of the number of treatments that are needed once the results from the first or second treatment are completed.
If you have ever undergone a laser hair removal or other type of laser treatment, then you may already know that the process is not very comfortable. For some people, laser treatments are painful, while others indicate mild discomfort. It can be difficult to know how you will react to the laser. You should be prepared for some discomfort though.
If you feel some pain during the initial treatment, then you can ask your doctor about an anesthetic cream. This cream can reduce sensations significantly.
If you feel some soreness after the laser treatment, then take an NSAID pain reliever. Both Ibuprofen and Naproxen are good medications to reduce inflammation.