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Procedure: Laser Treatment on the Skin

Lasers can be used to remove tattoos and birthmarks from the skin by destroying cells with a particular colour, such as cells in red birthmarks. A laser beam can also be used to reduce the severity of scars and the effects of aging, such as wrinkles, by removing the top layer of cells to smooth the skin. The beam of high-intensity light is precise and does not cause damage to surrounding cells.

Treating a birthmark

To treat a birthmark on the face, a hand-held laser is used to give several short bursts of laser light. Local anaesthesia is normally used, and each treatment lasts about 20 minutes.

Effect of treatment

Laser treatment destroys the cluster of blood vessels under the skin that make up the birthmark. In some cases, a course of several treatments is needed before noticeable improvement is seen and the birthmark disappears completely.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

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