Birthmark is a discoloration on the skin that is present from the moment of birth, or shortly thereafter. There are some that are hereditary. For example, one woman can have several children with the same birthmarks. It’s possible that some birthmarks may disappear over time, however, in other cases they refuse to go away.
Birthmarks are not a very proud marks to flaunt. Besides, spoiling your look, birthmarks can make you extremely self-conscious. A birthmark is an identification mark and may at times be an interesting topic of conversation.
There are several benefits associated with laser birthmark removal. The procedure is virtually painless and will usually require no anaesthetic. There will usually be a tingling sensation that can be compared to a snapping rubber band on your skin. No hospital stay will be required and the recovery period is relatively short.
What Are The Different Variants Of Birthmarks?
There are two varieties of birthmarks:
Based on the type, there are two underlying causes of birthmarks. In case of pigmented birthmarks cause is cluster formation of pigment cells which in turn impart brown colour to the skin. While, on the other hand, vascular birthmarks are caused as a result of an abnormal blood vessel under the skin imparting a red, pink, or purplish blemish.
Birthmark Removal Treatment Procedure:
It is advisable that any newly born infant with a birthmark gets completely checked and examined by the doctor as some birth marks can be associated with underlying defects.
1) Some vascular birthmarks such as stork bites usually disappear with age and do not cause any problem, hence treatment may not be required. Strawberry hemangiomas subside with age. However, if any hemangioma is associated with an important anatomical structure such as the area around the eye or mouth, and cause feeding difficulties, pressure symptoms, loss of vision, the birthmark may be required to be removed. This treatment could include oral propranolol, steroid injections, sclerosants or surgical excision.
2) Certain birthmarks, being harmless may require treatment only for cosmetic reasons. For example, large congenital melanocytic nevi, port wine stains, may lead to cosmetic disfigurement.
3) Various types of dermatological laser treatments are also available and can be utilized:
For vascular Birthmarks – vascular flash lamp pumped pulse dye laser
For dark pigmented Birthmarks – Q switched laser
4) A customized light wave that is suitable for the particular coloration of the birthmark, is used at a particular frequency. After several treatment sessions, the laser breaks down the coloration of the mark so that it fades away and blends in with the surrounding skin, without leaving any scars behind. But in many cases, the mark may not vanish completely.
5) Dermatologic grafting can also be used for the treatment purpose if excision (graftical removal) and grafting is needed.
All types of birthmarks can be removed with laser birthmark removal :
Port wine stain: A birthmark that appears near the surface of the skin made up of a dark red-purple tangle of micro blood vessels is known as a port wine stain. These birthmarks are usually smooth, flat and can range in size from small to large.
Hemangiomas: Hemangiomas like port wine stain birthmarks, are also made up of tangled micro blood vessels. They come in many different colours from blue to red to purple and are raised and rough in texture. They come in many different sizes, shapes and thicknesses. The face, back, scalp or chest is where they are most commonly found.
Mongolian spots: Blue or blue gray birthmarks that are uneven in shape are know as mongolian spots. They usually show up on the buttocks or lower back.
Café-au-lait spots: Café-au-lait spots are light brown to chocolate in colour and usually appear on the legs, buttocks or upper body. These birthmarks are smooth and round.
Salmon patches: Light pink or red birthmarks that are thin and flat are known as salmon patches. These birthmarks usually appear on the upper body. An abnormal grouping of tiny capillaries, or blood vessels, close to the skin’s surface give’s them their red appearance.
What to expect after laser treatment?
It should be noted that laser birthmark treatments don’t always successfully remove a birthmark. This can occur when the birthmark pigmentation is unable to be reached by the laser. Another thing to keep in mind is that the birthmarks may take several sittings to lighten or to get completely removed. It is difficult to predict upon initial evaluation how many treatments will be required for optimal results inasmuch as the pigment in the birthmark may be at different levels within the skin. The expectation for patients is one of improvement and fading if not complete resolution. Although it may be possible to achieve 100% removal with laser birthmark removal, it is not possible to predict this because results vary from patient to patient.
Birthmarks reduction FAQ’s
Yes, treatment can be taken up by all skin types, although pigmented races may experience some darkening in between the procedure; which will slowly improve with time.
The recovery time for healing from birthmark removal is relatively short. Any swelling or discomfort will usually fade in about a week. You may notice that the treated area will become dark purple. This should disappear about ten days after the procedure but, in some cases, it can last for 6-8 weeks.
One requires six to eight treatment sessions. Multicoloured tattoos/birthmarks may require more sittings.
You may notice some slight temporary bruising or whitening at the area, and this is to be expected as it indicates that the laser is having its lightening effect on the birthmark. This soon fades, and you will notice the birthmark fading along with it. Scarring is not generally a side effect of birthmark removal.
Your skin specialist will advise you on how best to protect your new, unblemished skin while it heals.
Yes, the procedure is absolutely safe and well tolerated.