Today, there are a plethora of laser treatments available that can be utilized to treat a plethora of skin issues or target specific aspects of our skin – from acne, pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles to hair removal.
Essentially, lasers are a type of energy that uses different wavelengths of light to create “controlled burns” to the skin to produce different effects.
The more aggressive lasers tend to penetrate deeper into the skin and produce faster results, although this comes with more discomfort, downtime and risk of complications including hyperpigmentation and infection.
The good news is, there also gentler alternatives such as pulsed dye lasers that are ideal for patients who wish to return to their daily activities as soon as possible without having to deal with significant downtime.
So, what are pulsed dye lasers?
Understanding pulsed dye lasers
Pulsed dye lasers (PDL) are specialized lasers that are considered to be the gold-standard for treating vascular lesions and is often the first-line of treatment for conditions such as rosacea.
You might have noticed the word “dye” in PDL which plays a critical role in how it works – the dye generates different colours of laser beams that are then generated in rapid pulses.
The 595nm wavelength of pulsed dye lasers is perfect for targeting the haemoglobin present in red blood cells – destroying tiny red blood vessels responsible for redness through a process called selective “photothermolysis”.
The wavelength is very close to the haemoglobin and oxyhaemoglobin’s absorption peaks, thereby resulting in the blood vessels absorbing the laser energy as heat that diffuses and breaks it down before being naturally removed by the body.
Facial redness is often caused by the presence or flow of blood travelling through a network of multiple blood vessels within the skin. Although this is completely normal, excessive redness happens when broken tiny blood vessels are found more superficially on the surface of the skin.
Knowing this, it becomes easier to understand how pulsed dye lasers help to treat conditions that involved a proliferation of blood vessels including angiomas, port wine stains, post-acne treatment facial redness, red scars and facial telangietasia (small visible red vessels).
Multiple clinical studies have shown the pulsed dye lasers’ ability to decrease the redness and thickness of a scar and improving its cosmetic appearance.
In fact, pulsed dye lasers can help to treat inflammatory acne vulgaris as well – a 2008 study of 20 patients revealed that 90% of patients achieved clinical improvements with decrease lesion counts, an increase in skin elasticity with minimal discomfort after two sessions.
Pulsed dye lasers appear to kill the P.acnes bacteria containing porphyrins and also treat excessive oil production which leads to fewer breakouts.
Because the laser energy works to precisely target the red blood vessels in the skin, this means it doesn’t affect the surrounding skin during treatment. In fact, pulsed dye lasers have been used since the 1980s for treating port-wine stains in infants and young children.
A possible downside is that pulsed dye lasers tend to work better for patients with fairer skin tones since the skin pigment does not have to compete for the laser energy – those with darker skin tones might not see significant results and are at a greater risk of side effects such as burns.
While there are many different pulsed dye lasers in the market including Excel V, Pico Gold Toning, Cynosure and many more, our doctors’ top choice is the Vbeam laser.
Vbeam laser treatment: treating acne and acne scars
The Vbeam laser is an FDA-approved treatment that has become one of the most well-known laser devices known by both doctors and patients.
It works by delivering an intense yet gentle burst of light into target areas and helps to treat all kinds of vascular lesions including:
- Red birthmarks
- Facial and spider veins
- Acne scars
- Stretch marks
- Poikiloderma (redness and discolouration on the neck)
It is a type of pulsed dye laser that targets two main elements: melanin pigments and oxyhaemoglobin. The energy that is delivered is absorbed by the oxyhaemoglobin to coagulate and diffuse vessels without harming the surrounding skin.
A study based on 200 patients experiencing acne scar redness showed a 30-50% reduction in redness after the first Vbeam treatment; increasing to 75-90% after 3-4 sessions!
Vbeam also works great as an acne treatment – in one clinical study, patients saw a 90% of inflammatory acne lesions and reduction of bumps and associated redness.
The yellow light emitted by Vbeam slowly heats the blood cells to help attack and destroy acne-causing bacteria while simultaneously stimulating collagen production as a result that further rejuvenates the skin to clear away spots and blemishes and encourage scar remodelling.
The Vbeam laser treatment for acne scars works to heal damaged tissue while facilitating the generation of new skin cells to improve the appearance of red acne scars and achieve more even skin! As compared to other traditional ablative lasers that come with significant downtime and risks of scarring, Vbeam is considered to be a non-ablative laser that offers virtually no downtime with minimal side effects.
In the case of acne scar removal treatment, mild-to-moderate scars will see a greater improvement with Vbeam but severe cases will require more treatment or a combination of treatment modalities to see greater results. Vbeam also tends to work better for shallower scars.
In short: Vbeam is a versatile and multi-tasking treatment that is effective as part of a comprehensive acne and acne scar treatment program while also providing a whole list of skin-boosting benefits!
Get a customized acne treatment program today
It is always wise to get a thorough assessment by an aesthetic doctor before undergoing any type of laser treatment – this includes understanding your medical and medication history as well as assessing your skin type and severity of your condition.
Both acne and acne scarring are some of the most common conditions that we see at our clinic today. Because there are so many different types of acne and acne scars that can manifest on different patients, this is why we believe in utilizing a combination of solutions to customize the best plan for you.
In fact, we highly recommend Vbeam (first) in combination with fractional CO2 laser to further improve your skin texture and acne symptoms to achieve a smoother and healthier complexion.
If you are looking for a treatment with zero downtime, the Q-switch and Vbeam laser are your best options.
The Q-switch laser is an FDA-approved treatment that is clinically proven to target superficial and deep hyper-pigmented lesions and acne scars without experiencing side effects.
By delivering short and intense laser pulses and confining the laser energy to focus on melanin-containing cells, it destroys P.acnes bacteria, shrinks oil glands and treats post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH).
Our doctors like to use both Vbeam and Q-switch in combination to improve the appearance of your acne scars and prevent future breakouts! For more severe cases, we also offer INFINI RF, fractional CO2 laser and subcision acne scars treatment for treating tethered, deep acne scars.
If you are still unsure which treatment is best for your specific skin condition, we are always just one call away! Time to take matters into your own hands – book a consultation with our doctors today!
- What is the Vbeam procedure like?
Depending on your specific needs and skin condition, your doctor will select the appropriate parameters before starting treatment. You are required to put on protective eye goggles throughout the treatment.
Once your face has been thoroughly cleansed, the doctor will proceed to use the laser on target areas – Vbeam’s DCD (Dynamic Cooling Device™) is unique as it delivers a short burst or spray of cryogen before each laser pulse. This further protects your skin and minimizes discomfort.
After the treatment, patients are strongly advised to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun. They may also notice some minor redness, swelling and bruising, although these symptoms generally subside within a couple of days.
Although there is a risk of developing hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation on the treated area, this is rare and unlikely to occur as long as you follow proper aftercare instructions.
- Is Vbeam painful?
Not at all!
Most patients describe it as a tingling sensation that feels similar to a sunburn. Since the treatment can be done in as little as 30 minutes, any discomfort quickly ends as well.
- What results can I expect from Vbeam?
For a treatment that comes with virtually no downtime, Vbeam provides quick, effective and visible results which is why both patients and doctors love it!
Immediately after treatment, most people experience a reduction in tenderness to the treated area. In the next few days, you should experience a resolution of any existing breakouts and redness and in 2-4 weeks, the number of active acne lesions should be significantly reduced. You will also notice your acne scars improving over time.
Best results are generally seen 6-8 weeks after treatment. An entire treatment cycle is usually 5-8 treatments (at 4-6 week intervals), where maintenance treatments will be required for more stubborn chronic conditions.
Because Vbeam is able to treat a variety of conditions, each patient is likely to see different results depending on their needs and goals. Be sure to speak to our doctors for any questions regarding your treatment during the consultation.