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IPL Treatment

IPL Treatment for Thread Veins on the Face

IPL or PhotoDerm is an intense pulsed white light used for treating small thread veins on the face. The blood temperature is elevated high enough to cause its coagulation without damaging the skin and surrounding tissue. The light passes through the upper layers of the skin and is absorbed by the haemoglobin in the blood where it is immediately converted into heat. This causes the blood to become thickened, thus sticking the walls of the vein together. The damaged vessels are then absorbed by the body gradually fading away.
PhotoDerm has been designed to provide flexibility in choosing the wavelength, pulse duration and energy levels according to the size and depth of the blood vessels and skin colour. In this way the maximum heat is delivered to the blood vessels with minimum damage to the skin tissues. Treatment cannot be undertaken if a suntan is present and is not suitable for people with dark skins. Strong sun exposure should be avoided for two weeks prior and after treatment sessions.

A rectangular light guide with the appropriate filter is place just above the skin and the light is fired through cold coupling gel which allows uniform delivery through the air to the skin. The flash is very bright and despite the dark glasses given it is advisable to keep eyes shut. The treatment feels like hot fat spit or the ping of an elastic band. There is slightly more discomfort on the cheek areas close to the nose.

After treatment the areas treated become reddened and there is a feeling of sunburn for a couple of hours. On occasion it is possible to produce a bruise if one of the smaller veins ruptures but parameters can be altered to stop this recurring. This will fade as with normal bruising. There is a slight possibility of a blister forming but it is very superficial and will heal with no scarring. Local swelling of the face is a possibility but this subsides spontaneously within a few days. Ice packs can be applied to reduce swelling and soothe the thermal affect. Make-up can be applied immediately post treatment.

IPL is a very successful way of eradicating facial veins and reducing redness. Three or four sessions are usually required at three week intervals. If a good moisturiser and strong sun block are applied whenever exposed to sunshine (including day to day activities, not only when sunbathing) then the likelihood of recurrence is greatly reduced


Help! All these treatments! Which is the one for me?

Mr Philip Coleridge Smith DM FRCS
Reader in Surgery, UCL Medical School, London .
Consultant Vascular Surgeon BVI Medical Director
The West London Vein Clinic: 0870 609 2389


© 2006-11 - The West London Vein Clinic
Arteries bring blood from the heart to the extremities. Veins contain one way valves and channel blood back to the heart. When there is obstruction of veins, or when prolonged pressure is placed on the veins, the valves stretch and no longer close properly. This allows blood to travel back down the veins towards the feet. The veins in the legs that are near to the surface of the skin enlarge and result in what is commonly called varicose veins. These can range from minor dilatations to large bunch of grape-like structures in the calf. Very small purple or blue veins in the skin of the legs are called "thread veins" or "spider veins" or dermal flares and often occur alongside large varicose veins. Some people are only affected by dermal flares. Both types of varicose veins are probably caused by the same factors. Varicose veins is a slowly progressive disease which if left untreated can lead to marked skin change damage or ulceration near the ankle. Why do varicose veins arise? Varicose Veins, Thread Veins, Spider Veins, PhotoDerm, Sclerotherapy, Surgery, Thrombosis Heredity is important in the development of varicose veins, thread veins and spider veins. Up to 20% of the adult population have varicose veins and experience discomfort as a result. Many people know of other family members with the same problem. A recent study showed that where both parents had varicose veins there was an 80% chance of their children developing varices. Environmental factors also play a large part in the development of varicosities, for example, prolonged standing - especially for workers such as nurses, sales assistants, flight attendants, waitresses and teachers, for example. Diet may also be a factor, and our Western diet with high content of fat and refined sugar with low fiber content may contribute to the development of varicose veins, spider veins and thread veins. Varicose veins may also become more frequent with advancing age, but may appear at any time of life and small varices are sometimes seen in school children. Although all factors such as puberty, pregnancy and the menopause also influence the course of the disease. As many as 70 - 80% of pregnant women develop varicose veins during the first trimester. Pregnancy causes an increase in hormone levels and blood volume which in turn causes veins to enlarge. Later in pregnancy, the enlarge uterus causes increased pressure on the veins in the pelvis. Approximately 60 - 70% of varicose veins due to pregnancy will disappear within a few months of delivery. Little research has been done to investigate the role of the pill and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in the development of varicose veins. These probably have no influence on them. What are the symptoms Treatment of varicose veins and thread veins by injections sclerotherapy PhotoDerm and surgery Varicose veins may cause feelings of fatigue, heaviness, aching, burning, throbbing, itching and cramps in the legs. These symptoms are often accompanied by swelling of the ankle, which frequently appears after long hours of standing. Some people are very troubled by the aching that varicose veins produce. Even small dermal flares can result in severe aching which prevents standing for any length of time. What can I do to prevent them? Treatment of varicose veins and thread veins by injections sclerotherapy PhotoDerm and surgery Many of the things that seem to cause varicose veins are difficult to avoid such as a family history of Western way of life. Where possible standing still for long periods should be avoided. Walking is much better for the veins and helps the blood return to the heart from the legs. In occupations that require extended periods of standing then a few steps should be taken at regular short intervals to help circulation. Wearing support stockings may also reduce the likelihood of varicose veins. No creams or drugs are available to prevent varicose veins. The earlier varicose veins and dermal flares are treated the better the long term and cosmetic outcome.