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Laser Treatment of Thread Veins & Facial Redness

What are thread veins/spider veins?

body-copy-4Thread veins (sometimes referred to as spider veins) are normal skin blood vessels that have become permanently enlarged so that they are visible.

Thread veins on the face are usually due to sun-damage or rosacea. Thread veins/spider veins on the legs often arise in association with varicose veins, although they can occur spontaneously without a background of varicose veins.

They are harmless and usually cause no symptoms, but patients can be self conscious about their appearance. When they occur on the legs, if there is thought to be some associated problems with the rest of the leg vein system, we may arrange ultrasound scans of the leg vein system to check for any leaking valves that could be contributing to the leg thread veins.

How can thread veins/spider veins and redness be treated?

Both thread veins on the face and legs respond well to laser treatment, although thread veins/spider veins on the legs also respond very well to sclerotherapy.

At Dermatology Consulting we have probably the UK’s widest range of the most advanced lasers and light devices for treating thread veins and facial redness. We have the powerful Cynergy laser by Cynosure which has both the pulse dye 585nm wavelength and the long pulse Nd:YAG 1064nm wavelength, and the elegant Excel V laser which has the KTP 532nm and the long pulse Nd:YAG 1064nm wavelength. We also have the powerful intense pulsed light (IPL) called Lumecca by Inmode. By having such a wide range of powerful lasers and IPL we are able to treat successfully all forms of redness and dilated blood vessels.

How does laser therapy work for thread veins and redness?

The laser energy is selectively absorbed and heats up the blood vessel, after which the body naturally removes it.

Our dermatologist uses the Cynergy laser which combines two separate lasers—a pulse dye laser (585nm wavelength) and Nd:YAG laser (1064nm wavelength). The pulse dye laser is very good for red, superficial vessels, while the Nd:YAG is very good for deeper blue vessels. Either laser can be used alone, but the Cynergy laser combines the effects of the two lasers so that clearance of both superficial and deep vessels is achieved in fewer treatment sessions, and because the two lasers work together, a lower power of each laser is needed which reduces the risk of side effects.

The KTP laser is particularly good for tracing small thread veins.

The IPL is good for treating widespread redness and also helps pigmentation.

What does the treatment involve?

When treatment is occurring near your face black-out goggles need to be worn to protect your eyes from the laser light. For treatment away from the face, see-through goggles can be worn.

If you have not previously had laser treatment for thread veins, a test treatment on a small area may be performed first to determine the best dose for treating your skin. If you only have a few thread veins this initial test dose may be enough to remove them all, but usually the full treatment sessions can start one to two weeks later, by which time there will be sufficient time to see how the test area responds. Treatment duration depends on the size of the area treated and usually takes 15 to 30 minutes.

During the laser treatment, the skin is cooled either with cold air or a sapphire tip with cooling gel which reduces the discomfort and slight bruising that can sometimes occur. Following the treatment the skin may be cooled with ice packs and aloe vera gel.

What preparation is involved before treatment?

For one month before treatment you should avoid excessive sun exposure and tanning beds and if you are obviously tanned it is best to postpone the treatment. This is because the laser light may alter the tan. If you have a tendency to cold sores and are having laser treatment on the face, anti-cold sore tablets may be prescribed to prevent the laser light triggering a cold sore.

Will laser treatment for thread veins or redness hurt?

The laser pulse is very short (less than one tenth of a second) and the sensation is likened to the snap of an elastic band against the skin. Any discomfort is reduced by the skin being cooled with cold air or the cool sapphire tip and cool gel.

What will I look like after treatment?

Depending on which laser is used and the setting used, there may be redness, some bruising, and swelling of the treated sites. This usually settles within a couple of days and in the meantime, if wished, can be covered with make-up. Sometimes the blood vessels disappear immediately, but usually, particularly when leg veins are treated, blood clots form within the blood vessels, so the vessel is still visible immediately after treatment, but clears away after a few weeks.

How many sessions will I need?

Sometimes, if there are only a few blood vessels, one treatment may be sufficient to clear them, but for more numerous vessels, particularly if due to rosacea, and on the legs, several sessions may be required.

How do I arrange treatment?

At Dermatology Consulting we have probably the UK’s widest range of powerful lasers and IPL for treating blood vessels. During your initial consultation, Dr Farrell will discuss the best laser or IPL to successfully deal with your individual problem.

How much does thread vein treatment cost?

Treatment of thread veins on the face starts at £395 if done by Dr Farrell or £295 if done by one of our nurses for a small area on the face (usually less than 20cm2). For treatment of a full face, the price is £585 if done by Dr Farrell and £425 if done by one of our nurses. For thread veins on the legs the price for a 15 minute session when done by Dr Farrell is £435 and when done by one of our nurses is £325. Usually we can do an area of approximately 30cm x 30cm in 15 minutes. For a 30-minute session the price with Dr Farrell is £595 and with one of our nurses is £435.


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