For a state-of-the-art laser skin treatment performed by licensed medical professionals, look no further than the skilled team at Dr. Valentina Bradley’s office.
There been tremendous advancements in dermatological treatments in recent years. For countless Americans, skin issues can be fixed with far greater ease and safety than ever before. Dr. Bradley can help you look your best and feel your best. We offer a full complement of laser treatments and are able to do all of our cosmetic treatments personally and on our premises.
- Age/Sun Spots
- Beard Bumps
- Facial Veins
- Hair Removal
- Laser FAQ’s
- Leg Veins
- Pigmented Lesions
- Vascular Lesions
Age spots are also known as sun spots, liver spots, lentigos, or lentigines. These lesions are flat, tan, brown, or dark brown spots on sun-exposed skin. As people age, sun spots most commonly appear on the backs of the hands, the forearms, neck, chest, and face. Sun spots are associated with cumulative sun exposure. The pigment producing cells in the skin (melanocytes) are activated to produce more pigment by ultraviolet rays. While these spots are not themselves cancerous, you may be at risk for skin cancer if you have them.
Razor bumps are a common condition in people with curly hair, predominantly African American men. Curved hairs grow back into the skin, causing inflammation and keloidal scarring.
After examination, the physician may prescribe a combination of medications, cleansers and topical or oral antibiotics. Occasionally, simple injections are used to bring the condition under control. Bleaching agents may be used to even out the darker pigmented areas.
Laser hair removal is also a treatment option to help prevent further outbreaks of these dark bumps. This same condition can occur on the back of the neck and on the scalp. Dr. Bradley can help get this condition under control.
Visible facial veins, which have many different names, are actually dilated blood vessels. They are usually found on the forehead, nose, cheeks, eyelids, neck, and upper chest. Visible veins are most commonly seen in fair-skinned women and usually appear in the fourth or fifth decade. Blood vessel dilation is due to weakening of the elastic fibers in the walls of the blood vessel. Although the exact mechanisms leading to blood vessel dilation are not understood, visible veins are associated with excessive sun exposure, normal aging, steroid use, liver disease, genetics, radiation therapy, and trauma. On the face, visible veins can range in size from the tip of a pencil to bigger than a pencil eraser. Visible veins may be even larger on sites other than the face.
Visible veins are often considered to be a cosmetic issue. However, they can be found in people with rosacea, liver disease, and more rarely, autoimmune disease. Hormonal changes can be associated with visible veins as well. Dr. Bradley can help to determine the cause of your visible veins.
Electrosurgery uses an electric current from a hand held needle. The electric current, when applied to the blood vessel, destroys it. This method is somewhat painful, but is usually tolerated because it is quick. After the procedure, a tiny scab forms which usually heals quickly and with minimal scarring.
Lasers are sources of high energy focused light. Certain lasers, called vascular lasers, are designed to target a component of blood called hemoglobin. Vascular lasers destroy the blood vessel and leaving the surrounding tissue unharmed. The side effects of laser therapy can include pain (similar to a rubber band snap) and temporary purpura or purple pigmentation of the skin similar to bruising. The purpura usually resolves in a day or two. The risk of scarring is low.
Laser treatments and intense pulsed light are typically done at four to eight week intervals. Several treatments may be required. When new vessels appear, patients return for more treatments.
- What is it? Electrosurgery is a classic treatment, especially for small facial telangiectasias and spider angiomas. In this treatment, an electric current from a hand held probe is used to destroy the superficial aspect of the skin overlying the lesion. Because these vessels are very superficial, they are usually easily destroyed. The procedure is quick, relatively inexpensive and requires little recovery time.
- What are the risks? For a tiny, solitary vessel, no anesthesia is needed. However, for larger areas, local anesthetic is required. Rarely, bleeding, scarring and discoloration can occur at the treated site.
- What is it? Most of the vascular lasers used today are called “pulsed dye lasers” and specifically target the blood cells in dilated vessels. The blood cells in the vessel absorb the energy from the laser, which selectively destroys the blood vessel. Lasers are quite effective, especially for conditions such as rosacea. Usually one to three treatments is required, 4-8 weeks apart.
- What are the risks? Some of the lasers cause moderate pain during the procedure but minimal recovery is needed after treatment. The most common side effect- darkening of the treated area- occurs in less than 10% of patients and fades gradually. The risks and benefits of laser therapy need to be discussed in detail with your physician.
Freckles, medically known as are small brown spots found on the skin, most commonly on the arms and face. Freckles are extremely common, especially among light-skinned people, and those with red or light hair. Freckles are caused by genetics and sun exposure, and tend to darken in the summer or when exposed more often to the sun. People with a lot of freckles should avoid the sun and always wear sunscreen, as they are more susceptible to skin cancer. Because freckles are harmless, they do not need to be treated. However, if you are unhappy with the appearance of your freckles, there are several steps you can take to prevent further development, and to fade existing freckles. Talk to our team about available treatment plans for freckle-fading, and remember to always wear sunscreen. Protecting yourself in the sun will prevent freckles from darkening, and new freckles from developing.
Laser treatment for unwanted hair is a noninvasive approach to permanent reduction and long-term removal of undesired hair from anywhere on your body. Large areas such as your back, shoulders, abdomen and legs can be treated rapidly. Facial areas such as lips or chins can be treated in minutes. Multiple treatments are necessary to disable hair follicles completely.
Men, women and children have all been successfully treated with our laser hair removal procedure. Treatments are customized according to hair color, texture and location on the body. Nearly all hair colors – black, brown and red can be treated, and the administration is effective on all skin types, including dark and light-skinned individuals of all ethnic origins.
The procedure is well tolerated by most patients, as the laser functions so quickly that only a mild sting is felt. No local anesthetic or pain medication is necessary, but topical anesthetic is offered for sensitive areas. Blistering, soft scabbing or redness sometime occurs, but disappears quickly – a few days at the most. In certain cases the skin could become slightly lighter or darker.
Hair grows in cycles. Since various hairs will enter their growth cycle at different times, about 6-8 treatments at intervals of 4-12 weeks are necessary to disable most of the follicles in a given area.
We offer lasers safe for all skin types. The one that is safest for patients with darker skin tones is the long wavelength Nd:YAG laser. It is safe for laser hair reduction regardless of the skin color of the patient.
Since lasers target pigment, treatments are most effective on coarse hair because it has a lot of pigment and can absorb a lot of heat. Fine hair cannot absorb much heat.
The ability of the laser device to produce a very narrow bandwidth on a consistent basis is the key to a safe efficient treatment. While the laser emits a beam that only heats the hair shaft, heat is transmitted from the hair shaft to the surrounding tissue for several milliseconds after the laser pulse. Several lasers possess cooling attachments which cool the surrounding skin to fully absorb any heat transmitted from the destroyed hair shafts.
Shedding of all treated hair should be expected within 3 weeks of each treatment. The hair that doesn’t shed and is growing as usual after 3 weeks has likely been either missed or not affected due to inappropriate settings. If this is the case, a touchup treatment is necessary at that time. All 6-8 treatments should be good effective treatments in order to achieve good results.
Once the hair sheds, patients should experience a hair-free period for several weeks. Once new hair comes in again, patients should come in for their next session.
However, it is called a “reduction” because, no matter what some clinics may claim, hair removal lasers cannot and do not remove 100% of the hair in an area. With proper treatments, laser can remove the majority of the coarse hair on a body area, but they cannot remove finer hair. Be cautious of clinics making claims that seem too good to be true.
In order to achieve 100% clearance of hair in any one area, most people need to follow up laser treatments with electrolysis treatments to remove any remaining finer hairs. Laser can only remove coarse hair.
Generally, a patient can tell how much reduction was achieved from a course of treatments after waiting 6-12 months from their last treatment. Any hair that grows in after the 12-month period is new hair that the body can develop due to numerous factors such as age, diet, hormonal changes, and medical conditions such as PCOS. Patients who experience new growth later in life can get touchup treatments.
The area to be treated should be shaved 1-2 days prior to treatments so that the energy is targeted towards the hair follicle and not wasted it on the hair above the skin’s surface. Treating unshaved skin can result in burning of the skin by singed hairs.
Treatments are relatively quick. Both underarms take about 5 minutes. Full legs can take 1-1.5 hours. After the treatment, applying ice packs and cooled pure aloe vera gel help soothe the skin.
All hair should shed within 3 weeks* following the treatment. Sometimes, shedding doesn’t start until about 10 days after the session. During the shedding phase, hair may look like it’s growing, but it is actually coming out to shed. Exfoliating and/or scrubbing gently in the shower with a loofa can help speed up the shedding process.
After 3 weeks, some patients may see small black dots remain in the hair follicles on some areas. These are commonly referred to as “pepperspots”, which eventually shed on their own. Exfoliating may help speed up the process. Regardless, they will be singed off in the following session.
Once the hair sheds, patients should experience a hair-free period for several weeks. Once new hair grows in, patients should come in for their next session. For most people and on most body areas, this happens about 4-12 weeks after the previous treatment. Patients should continue treatments until remaining hairs are too fine for laser to target, or until they’ve reached their desired reduction.
*Shedding of all treated hair should be expected within 3 weeks of each treatment. The hair which doesn’t shed and is growing as usual after 3 weeks has been either missed or not affected due to inappropriate settings. If this is the case, a touchup treatment is necessary at that time. All 6-8 treatments should be good effective treatments at aggressive settings in order to achieve permanent results.
Some people may experience the following potential temporary side effects:
- Redness for up to 3 days
- Swelling around mouth of follicle for up to 3 days
- Tingling or feeling of numbness
The following rare side effects are indicative of inappropriate laser type and/or settings:
- Crusting/scab formation
- Purpura (purple coloring of the skin)
- Temporary pigment change (hypopigmentation or hyperpigmentation)
Spider Veins are small enlarged superficial blood vessels that appear red or blue. They commonly occur on the legs, but frequently occur on the face or elsewhere.
These dilated blood vessels may be short, unconnected lines each about the size of a large hair, or connected in a matted, “sunburst” pattern. They may also look like a spider web or a tree with branches. Sometimes, they occur in a small area and aren’t very noticeable, or they can cover a large area of skin and be quite unattractive.
Larger dilated blood vessels called varicose veins may be raised above the skin surface. They may occur along with spider veins.
Patients can have pain, ranging from a dull throbbing pain to a burning sensation. The larger vessels are more likely to cause discomfort, although smaller blue veins have been shown to cause pain.
If spider veins are unsightly or uncomfortable, they can be treated with laser, or by injection of a solution that will cause them to disappear or become much smaller. There is about a 50-90 percent chance for a greatly improved appearance. We specialize in the injections, called sclerotherapy, primarily because we feel it works better. A small amount of an FDA approved chemical called hypertonic saline is injected into the vein. The vessel swells and then goes through an inflammatory process that over time causes the vessel to shrink and fade. It is very important to realize that while the vessels are going through this phase they do not look good. Often the whole process takes several months, so in general this procedure is best done during the winter and touch ups are often necessary.
Spider veins appear in both men and women, but more frequently in women. The female hormones may play a role in their development. Puberty, birth control pills, pregnancy, or hormone replacement therapy often seem to bring them out. They may also appear after an injury, or as a result of wearing tight girdles, or from hosiery held up with tight rubber bands. Spider veins may also occur in association with large varicose veins. Spider veins on the nose or the cheeks of fair skinned persons may be related to sun exposure.
The color of the skin is determined by the amount and distribution of a substance know as melain. The more melanin, the darker the skin. Higher concentrations of melanin in one area causes discoloration, including freckles, liver marks, brown spots, age spots, and birth marks. Higher concentration can be caused by a number of factors, including age, exposure to harmful sun rays, etc. All of these conditions are commonly known as pigmented lesions.
Where these pigmented lesions detract from the natural beauty of your skin, they can easily be lightened or removed by modern laser technology. As pigmented lesions are darker than the rest of the skin, the wavelength of the laser is calibrated to be absorbed by the darker areas where the melanin is concentrated. As the melanin absorbs the energy of the laser light, this is converted to heat, effectively destroying the concentration, leaving the skin with a uniform color and texture.
Vascular lesions may be acquired or arise directly after birth, which then are considered birth marks. Birth marks and other vascular lesions are the effect of an alteration in size and form of multiple blood vessels. While they are displeasing in appearance, they have no effect on normal bodily function. They become problematic because they grow in proportion to total body growth. Some physicians treat vascular lesions to prevent spreading, or to make them less noticeable. Other physicians chose not to treat the lesions unless they cause functional problems.
In any case, the best treatment for vascular lesions is laser treatment which is highly dependent on the location, extent, and rate of growth of the lesion. The lesions are removed by light absorbed by the blood that destroys the vessel. After some time, the vessel disappears restoring the skin’s natural appearance. Lasers allow for quick treatment of vascular lesions without damaging the surrounding skin. Topical anesthesia or ice may be applied to the lesion prior to laser treatment for maximum comfort. Lasers are safe, producing gradual results. Large lesions may require multiple treatments for full repair, but in most cases a single treatment will suffice. Laser treatment has very few side effects. Temporary discoloration of the affected skin may result from treatments. This discoloration can last anywhere from 5-14 days depending on the location, size, and type of lesion being treated. The use of sunscreen on the treated area is recommended for optimum results.