"Although my stretch marks were 39 years old, they remained bright red. Help finally came when Dr. Pilest used the Vbeam laser." Mary Ann F. (Vbeam Laser)
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Nearly everyone has a pigmented spot on their body or face that is present from birth. They can range from barely noticeable to disfiguring, and can cause a person to feel shy or self-conscious. In addition, some birthmarks can be linked to more serious medical conditions. Our board certified dermatology practice located in Irvine, California, offers leading edge birthmark treatment and birthmark removal services.
There are two main categories of birthmarks. The first is a vascular birthmark. These red marks are caused by a malformation of blood vessels and appear when the underlying blood vessels are either too wide or too numerous. They have several different visual characteristics.
Vascular Birthmark Types
Macular stains are faint red or pink marks most often found on the back of the neck, eyelids or forehead and generally fade in early childhood, although they sometimes remain visible into adulthood. These marks are harmless and require no birthmark treatment.
Hemangiomas can occur above the skin (superficial) or below the skin’s surface (deep). Superficial hemangiomas are usually raised and bright red in color because of the blood vessels close to the surface of the skin, while deep hemangiomas may have a bluish color due to the blood vessels in the skin’s deeper layers. Dermatologists frequently treat hemangiomas with corticosteroid injections. Lasers can be also an effective treatment for hemangioma birthmark treatment and birthmark removal.
Port-wine stains are magenta-colored stains that usually appear on the face, neck, arms or legs. These can be any size, but tend to grow in proportion to body size and can become darker, thicker, and take on a pebbly texture in adulthood. Port-wine stains never disappear on their own and are sometimes associated with glaucoma and/or seizures when located on the forehead, eyelids or both sides of the face. New types of vascular laser birthmark treatments are showing promising results in treating port-wine stains. This outpatient treatment is FDA-approved and is available at our office in Orange County.
Nevus of Ota is a blue-black stain similar to port-wine stains. This type of mark is usually present at birth, although it sometimes develops during puberty, and occurs mainly in persons of Asian--especially Japanese--descent. Like port-wine stains, this type of lesion can be associated with disorders of the eye. Alexandrite laser birthmark treatment of Nevus of Ota can result in dramatically reduced coloration or complete birthmark removal in 90-100% of cases according to researchers at Vancouver General Hospital in British Columbia.
The second category of birthmarks are pigmented birthmarks, which are caused by an excess of melatonin, the substance that determines skin color. There are several different types as well.
Café au lait spots are light- to dark-brown spots that can appear anywhere on the body and sometimes multiply with age. More than one spot larger than a quarter can be a sign of a more serious medical condition and should be evaluated by a board certified dermatologist.
Mongolian spots are usually present on darker-skinned children of Asian, American Indian, African, Hispanic or Southern European descent. These blue/black marks on the lower back and buttocks usually fade by school age.
Moles can be present at birth (congenital nevus), or can appear throughout a person’s life, and can be black, brown or tan, raised or flat, and sometimes have hair growing from them. Exceptionally large congenital nevus, and, to a lesser degree, smaller moles, can be at greater risk for melanoma later in life and should be monitored by a doctor through yearly skin checks.
People who feel that their birthmark may cause health problems, or people who suffer from low self-esteem because of their lesions, can benefit greatly from birthmark treatment or birthmark removal.
The Alexandrite Laser, also known as the AlexLAZR, uses a special wavelength that maximizes the laser’s penetration, providing optimal results in birthmark removal on both surface and deep skin pigmentations. The AlexLAZR by Candela Laser is a specialty laser used to remove a variety of pigments in the skin, whether naturally-occurring or implanted into the skin by tattooing. This laser targets and removes:
Photo Source Candela Laser
The AlexLAZR's (alexandrite laser) special wavelength maximizes beam penetration providing optimal results in the reduction and removal of surface pigmentation as well as deeper pigmented lesions like Nevus of Ota. A gentle laser, the AlexLAZR does not cause " hot spots" common with other lasers. This minimizes discomfort and adverse effects while reducing the chance of skin texture changes and risk of tissue damage such as bruising.
Asian and Ethnic Skin Treatment
Asian skin is highly sensitive to heat and often hyper-pigmentation can result from improperly chosen devices and poor administration of laser treatment. Various specialized lasers such as the AlexLAZR now offer desirable treatment outcomes to ethnic skin types without the risks associated with other "general" laser devices. Laser technology is specific in its ability to treat various problems.
The AlexLAZR is an especially welcome addition to the laser family that solves very specific skin pigmentation problems in a safe and desirable way. Although many lasers have multiple uses, no single laser can effectively or safely treat every skin concern. It is useful, if not crucial, for patients to know and understand this concept and carefully select a physician who uses specific lasers for specific problems. Used improperly or by a poorly skilled technician, laser treatment can result in poor results, unnecessary discomfort, increased pigmentation or even scarring.
Dr. Pilest is a frequent educator of other physicians in the use of specialized lasers and is sought after by a number of the leading laser device manufacturers to provide proper educational instruction. Knowledge and experience play a vital role in the outcome of any dermatological procedure.
The Vbeam Laser emits an intense, but gentle, burst of light that destroys the blood vessels of your vascular birthmark without harming the surrounding skin. The Vbeam has proven to be an effective birthmark treatment for both hemangiomas and port-wine stains.
Photos Courtesy Fine Lines Cosmetic Center
Photo source Candela Laser
For more information on birthmark treatment and birthmark removal call or come in for a consultation today. We do not currently treat infants or children, but will gladly refer you to a reputable pediatric clinic.