The veins in the legs have to pump the blood towards the heart against the force of gravity. They act as one-way valves to prevent the blood from flowing backwards. If this one-way valve becomes weak, the blood flows back into the vein, stagnates there and becomes congested. This congestion causes the vein to become abnormally enlarged. Such enlarged veins are called spider veins / varicose veins based on their appearance and size.
Spider veins are smaller in size than varicose veins and are usually red or blue in color. They look like a spider web with their short jagged lines. Varicose veins are bluish purple in color and are slightly raised above the skin surface. They are seen as bulging veins on the back of the calves or the inside of the leg.
Sclerotherapy for spider vein and varicose vein treatment
Sclerotherapy is commonly used for both spider vein treatment and for varicose veins. In this method, a solution is injected into the vein that causes the walls of the affected vein to swell and seal shut. This helps to stop the flow of blood and turns the vein into scar tissue. Sclerotherapy does not require anesthesia and can be done in the doctor’s office.
Using laser for varicose veins and spider veins is increasingly considered an effective treatment option. Laser therapy works by sending strong bursts of light onto the vein, which makes the vein fade and disappear slowly. Lasers work directly and accurately and hence, do not cause damage to any area other than the one being treated. This therapy is safe and suitable for all skin types and colors. The therapy lasts for about 15 to 20 minutes. Generally, two to five treatment sessions are needed, depending on the severity of the problem. Laser for spider veins causes fewer side effects. In some patients, the skin may become red and swollen at the site of treatment. But, these symptoms disappear within a few days.
Types of lasers
Different types of lasers are used to treat spider veins and also varicose veins. Yellow light lasers, intense pulsed light systems and green light lasers are the commonly used lasers for these conditions.
This method of treatment involves placing a tube or a special catheter into the affected vein. The catheter sends out radiofrequency energy that causes the vein walls to shrink and shut completely. Later, the healthier veins surrounding the affected vein restore the normal flow of blood. Slight bruising may occur at the site of procedure in some cases.
Current treatments like laser for varicose veins and spider veins have a higher rate of success. Laser therapy is non invasive and helps patients avoid the discomfort of incisions and needles. Patients can return to their routine activities immediately after the treatment. The risk of side effects is also minimal. For these reasons, laser therapy is the most preferred method for treating varicose veins and spider veins.
If aging, acne, or prolonged sun exposure has led to the appearance of wrinkles, blotches, scars, or fine lines on your skin, laser skin resurfacing can help you regain younger and healthier skin. Laser resurfacing removes the top skin layer with precision and new skin cells form during the healing process, thereby making the skin firmer, tighter and younger. The procedure can be done alone or in combination with other cosmetic skin rejuvenation procedures.
Preparing for Laser Resurfacing
Start by consulting a dermatologist to find out whether you’re the right candidate for this treatment. Notify your doctor if you often get fever blisters or cold sores around your mouth. Laser resurfacing can trigger a breakout in people who are at risk. If you decide to go ahead with the procedure, your doctor will tell you to not take any medicines or supplements like ibuprofen, aspirin, or vitamin E that could affect clotting for 10 days prior to surgery.
If you smoke, you must stop for 2 weeks before and after the procedure as smoking delays healing. If you are prone to cold sores or fever blisters, the doctor may prescribe antibiotic medication in advance to prevent bacterial infections.
What are the Risks?
Potential risks of laser resurfacing include:
- Burns or injuries from the laser’s heat
- Changes in skin pigmentation, including areas of lighter or darker skin
- Bacterial infection
- Reactivation of herpes cold sores
What to Expect During and After Treatment
Laser skin resurfacing is performed by a trained dermatologist or plastic surgeon. It is an outpatient procedure, which means you’ll not have to stay overnight. The doctor may treat your entire face, or treat wrinkles around your mouth, eyes, or forehead individually. For a smaller area, the doctor will numb the area using a local anesthetic. If your whole face is being treated, you may be administered with general anesthesia. Treating just parts of the face takes around 30-45 minutes. A full-face procedure takes up to 2 hours.
After the procedure, the doctor will bandage the treatment area. After 24 hours, you will have to clean the treated area 4 to 5 times a day and apply an ointment or petroleum jelly to prevent scab formation. You might feel an itching or stinging sensation for 12 to 72 hours after the procedure. After 5 to 7 days of the procedure, your skin will turn dry and peel.
Swelling after laser resurfacing is normal. The doctor may prescribe steroids in order to manage any swelling around the eyes. Depending upon the problem that was treated, healing usually takes 10 to 21 days. Once the skin has healed, you can wear oil-free makeup to minimize any redness, which generally fades in 2 to 3 months. During the healing process after treatment, it is very important to use a “broad-spectrum” sunscreen to protect your skin against damaging ultraviolet rays. It is also important to keep the new skin well moisturized.
Cost of Laser Resurfacing
As per the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost for laser resurfacing was about $2,300 in 2011. However, the cost can widely vary, depending upon where the procedure is performed. Since laser skin resurfacing is considered as a cosmetic procedure, most insurance companies don’t cover it. There could be an exception if you undergo the procedure to remove precancerous growths or modify scars on your skin.
The search for solutions to skin related problems is almost never ending. This includes miracle creams, wonder scrubs, and a whole lot of different options. You might have even heard of a high-tech treatment for acne and wrinkles called LED (light-emitting diode) therapy. However, despite the hype, this treatment is not the first or best option for addressing skin disorders like acne and wrinkles.
LED for skin treatment should be considered as a complement for a well-formulated skin-care routine. Similar to any other skin treatment, there are pros and cons that should be considered before deciding whether LED for wrinkles or acne treatment is the best option for you. Let’s see the pros and cons of using LED for acne and wrinkles.
Blue Light Therapy for Acne
How it Works:
Here, specific wavelengths of blue light target the bacteria that play a pivotal role in causing acne. The light causes the development of oxygen radicals which kill the P. acnes bacteria, without causing damage to the surrounding healthy skin.
Why you should consider it:
- Proven effective in destroying high levels of acne-causing bacteria
- Best for mild and moderate inflammatory acne
- Reduced possibility of side effects like dryness or peeling that may occur with products containing benzoyl peroxide
- Worthwhile option for people with sensitive skin who are unable to tolerate topical disinfectants
- A pain-free procedure with no downtime
Why you should not consider it:
- Needs several treatment sessions, as many as 4 per week
- Not effective against cystic acne, whiteheads or blackheads
- Quite expensive (averaging $40 per session) as compared to results that can be achieved at home using products medicated with 5% benzoyl peroxide
- Long-term results are not known
Red Light Therapy for Wrinkles
How it Works:
Here, wavelengths of red light may help improve the skin’s barrier function by improving the ability to retain the key elements it requires to heal. It is also believed that red light LEDs stimulate healthy collagen production and target the oil glands in the skin to lower cytokines, a class of pro-inflammatory substance that’s believed to play a role in chronic acne.
Why you should consider it:
- Can help reduce signs of aging and possibly a better choice for people struggling with wrinkles and acne
- Minimal risk of side effects, particularly when used without light-activating chemicals
- No downtime required
Why you should not consider it:
- Needs multiple treatment sessions
- Not researched as well as Blue Light Therapy
- Long-term results are unknown
- Does not affect acne causing bacteria
- Per treatment, the cost can vary from $50 to $200 or more, depending upon the device and treatment protocol the dermatologist prefers
In case you’re considering an at-home LED device for anti-aging or clearing acne, it’s recommended to reconsider it. Due to concerns over lawsuits, manufacturers of such devices are forced to limit the intensity, often to a far lower strength than the LED devices used by a dermatologist.
Furthermore, LED devices require protective eye wear because the wavelengths emitted through them can damage unprotected eyes. Without protective eye wear at home, there’s a risk of damaging one’s eyesight due to the high intensity output from the device. Also, at-home lasers are “FDA approved” for what is considered as a “class 2 medical device”, meaning the FDA has approved the laser for safety and not effectiveness.
The Bottom Line
With regards to treating acne, in-office dermatologist administered LED for skin treatment is worth considering if other topical medications fail to work. Keep in mind, skin-care products with benzoyl peroxide, tretinoin, salicylic acid and other medical options are your first line of defense. Taking into account the expense, it is worth saving up for treatments which have actually shown to provide better anti-aging results. This includes laser treatment with Fraxel or Ulthera, or light-emitting treatments like IPL (Intense Pulsed Light).
What Do Chemical Peels Do?
The purpose of a chemical peel is to create even and controlled shedding of several layers of damaged cells, thereby exposing a new layer of skin with a smoother texture and more even color. In addition to this, a peel stimulates the growth of new cells, thereby tightening the skin and reducing wrinkling.
Chemical peel treatment
A chemical peel treatment also stimulates the growth of new collagen in the skin. This is similar to adding new padding under a worn out carpet. If the skin is thin, it easily wrinkles. When chemical peels are combined with other agents like Retin A, it promotes thickening of the skin layers and reduces wrinkles and creases on the skin’s surface.
Why Consider Chemical Peels?
With aging, the process of skin cells dying and getting replaced by new cells becomes slower and more haphazard. Also, years of sun exposure can lead to brown spots and premature aging of skin. The result of this is a dull and lifeless complexion.
A series of chemical peels helps rejuvenate the skin. This non-invasive treatment uses TCA or Trichloroacetic acid to restore wrinkled, freckled, blemished, scarred, sun damaged and unevenly pigmented skin. Peel treatment has been safely used for over 30 years.
What Areas Does It Treat?
Derma peeling or chemical peels can be used on the full face or specific areas like the forehead, around the mouth or eyes, hands and chest. Though one peel significantly improves the appearance of the skin, certain skin problems go deeper than others and might require a series of peels for optimal results.
How And Where Is It Performed?
Peel treatment is performed as an outpatient procedure. A solution containing Trichloroacetic acid is applied to the skin. This usually involves 2 to 3 minutes of burning and a stinging sensation. However, this sensation is brief and most patients choose not to use any anesthesia or sedation. A cool compress will then be applied, followed by ointment.
Does It Involve Any Side Effects?
The most common side effect after peel treatment is brown discoloration of the skin. Generally, this is reversible but can be permanent in rare cases. This side effect is more common in people who have sun exposure after the treatment and who don’t use a full spectrum (UVA and UVB) sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher.
What Is The Down Time?
The majority of patients take 5 to 7 days to heal from an average TCA peel. The skin looks as if it’s had severe sunburn, so most patients prefer to stay home during the healing process. If you’re not too self-conscious about your looks, you can work during part of your recovery period.
What Precautions Do I Need To Take?
Patients who’ve had TCA peels are more sensitive to sunlight for at least 6 to 8 weeks after treatment. During this time, they should use a full spectrum UVA and UVB sunscreen of at least SPF 30 at all times.
Chemical peel treatment is one of the most preferred and commonly used methods for skin rejuvenation. If you are interested in knowing more about this treatment or similar other methods for skin rejuvenation, fix up a personal consultation session with a specialist in your area.
A lot of people who are frustrated with visible stubbles, ingrowths, and the pain caused by waxing or shaving probably think about undergoing laser hair removal. The procedure is believed to permanently remove hair in the treated areas, promising a silky smooth and fur-free future. However, these claims aren’t necessarily true. There are several things you must know about the procedure to evaluate whether laser hair removal is really worth it for you. Here’s some information to help you weigh the pros and cons.
Results Aren’t Actually Permanent
Laser treatment for hair removal involves passing a beam of laser light through the skin to every individual hair follicle and damaging it with the intense heat. It is meant to prevent the follicle from producing future hair growth. However, despite the claims, laser hair removal is not permanent. Lasers slow down hair re-growth, but as hair grows in phases, it takes a number of treatment sessions to achieve an extended period of no hair growth.
Skin & Hair Color Matter
When it comes to removing hair, skin and hair color matter because the laser targets pigment. The American Academy of Dermatology advises that lasers work best for people with light skin and dark hair. This is because dark hair easily stands out against light skin, and the laser can target it more effectively.
The treatment hurts, but the pain is minor. The majority of patients only experience mild to moderate discomfort. The sensation is similar to the feeling of being snapped with a rubber band. The level of discomfort correlates with the density and thickness of hair in the treated area. If you have darker skin, the skin absorbs more energy from the laser, which can add to the discomfort. For small areas like upper lips, the procedure and pain will only last a few minutes. However, for larger areas like legs laser hair removal can take several hours.
Several & Ongoing Treatments
Laser treatment for hair removal is not a one-shot procedure. It requires multiple treatment sessions to achieve optimal results. As hair begins to re-grow over a period of time, you will need additional touch up procedures. Initially, you’ll need between 4 to 6 treatments, spaced 4 – 8 weeks apart. It takes about 2 or 3 weeks after treatment for hair to start falling out; it’s not immediate.
Be Selective with Where You Go
Similar to any other cosmetic procedure, before you sign yourself up to undergo treatment, first make sure the procedure is being performed by a qualified esthetician supervised by a physician. Remember, laser treatment does have side effects. Hence, make sure that you’re under the care of a trusted physician, in case a problem arises.
The Side Effects
As with any other dermatologic procedure, laser hair removal involves some side effects. Most commonly, patients experience discomfort, swelling, itching, and slight redness in the treated area for a couple days following the procedure. You might even experience acne and skin discoloration, particularly if you have tanned or dark skin. In severe cases, patients might experience blistering or bacterial infections.
Laser hair removal cost varies depending upon the size and number of areas being treated. Smaller areas like the bikini area, above the lips and underarms hair removal are less expensive than larger areas like the legs. Laser hair removal cost generally ranges from $200 – $400 per treatment for smaller areas, and up to $500 – $1000 for large areas.
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