Skin laser treatment

Before the treatments

Laser treatment with a pulsed dye laser produces an intense but gentle burst of light that is absorbed by the red colour in blood vessels. It is a safe and effective way to treat vascular lesions and birthmarks.

Your child will need to wear a high factor sunblock for the whole course of the treatment and for a year afterwards as sunlight can darken birthmarks. We will not be able to carry out the laser treatment if your child has a sun tan.

Please tell us if your child has a cold sore as we may have to postpone the laser treatment until it has healed.

What to expect

Each treatment consists of pulses or laser ‘dots’. There may be multiple dots in one treatment session. A local anaesthetic cream may be applied to the skin first to make it numb. Most children will have a ‘test patch’ of laser dots but if the area is very small this might not be necessary. A series of laser treatments may be planned depending on the characteristics of the area to be treated. To protect eyes from the laser beam, the patient and everyone in the treatment room will wear protective goggles or eye shields.

If your child has laser treatment using local anaesthetic they will be able to go home very soon afterwards. If your child has had a general anaesthetic they will need to stay for at least two hours afterwards.

We will take photographs of the area being treated with your consent.

After the treatments

A cold dressing will be applied to the treated area to make it more comfortable.

Your child’s skin may look red, bruised or feel mildly sunburnt for seven to ten days and will need to be looked after.

  • Please bring some unperfumed moisturiser to apply after laser treatment (Diprobase ointment, Aloe vera gel or Dermamist spray for larger areas).
  • Gently apply the moisturiser three or four times a day for ten days; please do not rub in.
  • Any discomfort just after treatment can be relieved by applying an ice pack. Paracetamol can also help.
  • Your child can have a shower or bath but do not use soap, bubble bath, shampoo or cosmetic camouflage/make up for one week. Allow the treated area to dry naturally or gently pat dry with a soft towel (do not rub).
  • Your child should avoid PE, games and swimming for three weeks after treatment to prevent damage to the lasered skin.
  • It is very important not to expose the area to sunlight whilst having laser treatment and for one year after completion of treatments. Your child should use a high factor sun block (35 or higher) at all times in the UK from March to October. If you are visiting a sunny country at any time of the year your child should wear sun block all of the time. If the treated area is on the face then please wear a hat in the sun.

If the area crust, blisters, show signs of infection or develops significant swelling lasting more than 24 hours please contact the nurse specialist. Occasionally an anti-biotic cream or oral anti-inflammatory medication may be required.


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