EVERYONE wants to look their best for Christmas and New Year celebrations but often unsightly skin problems and blemishes threaten to spoil the party fun.
Hi-tech lasers are now helping to alter this, and tackle the raft of seemingly minor problems that can adversely affect quality of life.
TATTOOS – For many people, a tattoo that seemed like fun at the time can turn into an embarrassment. Fortunately, laser treatment can prove highly effective in fading or completely eradicating them.
Laserase, in the grounds of the Royal Bolton Hospital, uses the Q Switched Ruby Laser, which is also effective on brown birthmarks.
Treatment lasts from five minutes for a small tattoo up to an hour or more for large or multiple tattoos. “The treatment is generally very successful,” commented Laserase Medical Director, Dr Kiran Patel.
THREAD VEINS – These broken “spider” veins , or telangiectaesia, are small clusters of red and blue veins that can appear at various places on the body including the legs and face.
Genetic reasons, weather, including wind and extremes of temperature, steroid creams and changes in hormonal balance may all be to blame.
Laserase uses the ND.Yag laser in short bursts on thread veins which breaks them down into tiny particles which the body then destroys. For larger veins, microsclerotherapy works by injecting sclerosing liquid into the vein which causes the vein to dissolve.
Lesley Thomas, a 53 year-old Horwich florist, had a small thread vein at the side of her nose. “I would never go out without putting make-up over it,” she explained. “I felt self-conscious and wanted to do something to get rid of it.”
She opted for laser treatment and was told she would need one to three treatments “but in the end, it looked so good after one treatment that that’s all I had.” The treatment was non-invasive – “like someone flicking an elastic band” – and Lesley is pleased with the results.
EXCESS HAIR – For women excess facial hair can cause acute embarrassment. This can be caused by conditions like polycystic ovaries syndrome (PCOS) which affects millions of women worldwide.
Typically, sufferers have high levels of male hormones or androgens, have missed or irregular periods and many harmless small cysts in their ovaries.
Laser treatment, and particularly the swift Soprano XL laser, is particularly effective in killing the hair at the root to prevent re-growth.
ACNE – This condition, now affecting many adults as well as young people, has many causes including fluctuating hormones during pregnancy, the menstrual cycle and changing methods of contraception.
Spots are caused by blocked hair follicles. Tiny sebaceous glands attached to them produce sebum to help lubricate the hair and the skin to prevent drying out.
When the glands produce too much sebum, however, this, mixed with dead skin cells causes, a blockage of the follicle.
Laser treatment provides excellent results, delivering low-frequency light pulses which stimulate the body’s natural responses. It’s common to see improvement after only three or four treatments.
WARTS AND VERUCCAS – These annoying conditions can be stubborn to treat. They are benign (non-cancerous) skin growths, most commonly found on the hands and feet, and usually caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).
A highly targeted beam of light from the Regenlite laser is directed at the wart or verruca. The laser energy heats up the blood vessels feeding the wart which collapses and this then stops the blood supply to the wart and it can no longer survive.
Horwich hair salon owner Sue Berry, 58, had a wart on her finger for around 18 months. “It was quite annoying and got in the way of my work,” she explained.
She decided on laser treatment – “it was a little bit uncomfortable but OK. The wart is definitely going and it’s so much better.”
ANTI-AGEING – The latest treatment to improve the look of skin is Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) or “vampire treatment.”
It’s a non-surgical procedure that takes the platelet rich plasma from a person’s own blood and re-injects it into areas of the face and neck to smooth out fine lines.
Charity regional fundraiser Liz Oakes, aged 63, from Ladybridge, wanted to improve her skin’s overall tone and elasticity and opted for PRP. “It’s quite subtle,” she stated, “but people have said how well I look so it’s definitely worked.”