IPL Photofacial (Spider Veins)
“Spider veins” are small (less than 1 mm in size) superficial red or purple blood vessels stretching out like a spider under the skin. They occur more commonly as we age. Sun, heredity and certain types of skin disorders such as rosacea also contribute to their occurrence. Unfortunately, spider veins, once they occur, do not resolve on their own. The energy penetrates the wall of the vein without damaging or scarring the surrounding tissue. It is absorbed by the red pigment in the blood, heating the walls of the vein, causing injury and shrinkage. Over a period of 4-6 weeks the vein is re-absorbed by the body.
Individuals with fair skin are the easiest to treat because of the contrast between the color of vessel and the surrounding skin. Avoid tanning in the weeks prior to and in between treatments. Two to four sessions are usually required and spaced about a month apart. The treatment may take anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes. The amount of time required will depend on the size and the number of vessels to be treated. The pulses of light will feel like a tiny needle or a snapping of a rubber band. Although most patients require no anesthesia, you may have chilled or topical anesthesia applied. After the procedure, the treated area may appear slightly swollen, red and may occasionally bruise. Most of these side effects will resolve over a few days. You can treat any soreness with cool packs.
Although some vessels seal up during treatment, the results for other vessels will not be immediate. These may gradually change color and disappear over a period of weeks. Obviously, with the passage of time, we will continue to age as well as suffer the effects of further sun damage. Because of this, other spider veins may occur, so you should not consider this a permanent cure. These treatments can produce long lasting results and dramatically improve your skin’s appearance. This type of intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment is also called a “photofacial” because it not only helps with spider veins but also removes sun spots, evens out skin color, and produces a healthier, more youthful look.
Contact Dr. Craig E. Berris, M.D. to discuss IPL treatment for spider veins at his Sacramento office.
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