If you are planning to undergo a cosmetic treatment, such as laser treatment for a port wine stain birthmark, make sure you’re setting yourself up for success. While much of the procedure for the pulsed dye laser treatment used for port wine stains is quick and handled by the professional performing the treatment, there are a few ways you can prepare for the procedure by avoiding some activities and products before your appointment. Following these instructions will help you get an optimal outcome and make the process a smoother one.
Avoid the Sun
The most important activity to avoid in the weeks leading up to your treatment is tanning. Tanned skin cannot be treated with the pulsed dye laser, as this can lead to scarring or permanent changes in pigmentation. If you have a real tan (from the sun or a tanning bed), you will need to wait six weeks following fading of the tan to be safe. For spray-on and other chemical tans, you will need to wait a week after fading. For some patients, an ongoing bleaching agent may be prescribed for several months to help prevent problems. Unfortunately, the pulsed dye laser can have some unwanted pigmentation effects on very dark skin, and the pros and cons for treatment in these cases must be weighed carefully.
UV rays and increased skin pigment are extremely detrimental to the results of pulsed dye lasers as well, so patients will need to use a strong sunscreen for six months after treatment, and by no means try to tan.
Your skin needs to be clear on the day of treatment, so wash your face well and remove all traces of makeup before your appointment. You may also need to refrain from using cosmetics after your treatment, so discuss your routine with your surgeon to find out when you can return to normal cosmetic use. Generally, you can start using makeup again the next day.
Do Not Delay
The younger you elect to have treatment for your port wine stain, the better your outcome is likely to be. Many parents choose to have their child’s birthmark treated at an early age to help maximize good results and minimize teasing that may come about as a result of the port wine stain’s appearance. Over time, port wine stains tend to get more difficult to treat, becoming darker in color and thicker. However, for patients who were not treated as children, it is still possible to get good results from the treatment.
Your Surgeon’s Instructions
It is very important to follow any instructions your plastic surgeon gives you for pre and post-operative care. He or she has the knowledge to help you get the results you want from treatment, so do not ignore your doctor’s aftercare instructions.
Of course, the quality of the advice and care you will receive is contingent upon the knowledge and experience of the doctor performing your procedure. If you are interested in port wine stain treatment, choose a board certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Stuart Bentkover, a facial plastic surgeon and laser expert. Dr. Bentkover is highly experienced, with over 25 years of experience in the field. To learn more and to schedule you consultation at Bentkover Facial Plastic Surgery & Laser Center in Worcester(508-363-6500) or Stoneham(617-247-0033), MA, call either location today.