Q switch and ND Yag lasers are frequently used to treat discolouration of the skin, with the best known use being the removal of tattoos. However, this technology can be used to reduce the appearance of a wide range of skin blemishes, including birth marks, age or liver spots, and freckles. The laser can send out different wavelengths of light, so the most appropriate one for the blemish will be chosen.
In tattoo or blemish removal, the laser is used to break down the pigment that is present. This must be done gradually, over a number of sessions, in order to avoid bleaching the area of skin being treated. Sessions will usually occur once a month, and you will be given advice on how to care for your skin before and after treatment. It will be necessary to avoid tanning for at least a month prior to beginning laser therapy, to allow time for any additional pigment to fade.
Once the treatment has been performed, there will be a number of side effects that your therapist should already have discussed with you. Scabs or blisters may appear on the treated area, and these will usually resolve within a week (two weeks if on the face). Redness and swelling are also likely to occur. Try not to disturb the scabs, as this may result in scarring.
Generally, the procedure is not considered to be painful, but if a large area is being treated, then you may be offered anaesthetic cream before the laser is applied.
*Individual results may vary