Before You Go
Questions to ask your doctor
Pre-procedure prep for alexandrite laser skin treatments: Stay out of the sun for at least a month before treatment, since tanned skin is more prone to discoloration.
On the day of treatment: Shave any areas that are going to be treated with an alexandrite laser.
What To Expect
Protective goggles are worn during treatment, which shield your eyes from the laser. The handheld device is passed along discolored areas, allowing enough time for the laser energy to penetrate your skin.
Who should do it: When dealing with skin discolorations, it's best to meet with a board certified dermatologist. In some states, lasers can be used by nurse practitioners. Ideally, a licensed physician should be present in the room to operate the device.
Duration: Most Q-switched alexandrite lasers are manufactured with an adjustable spot size. Smaller laser tips tend to be better for freckles, age spots, and sun spots.
How Painful Is It?
The alexandrite laser can deliver sharp, uncomfortable shocks each time the handheld device is activated. Yet most patients find the pain tolerable because treatment doesn't last long.
Options for anesthesia: Topical anesthesia is not required, but it is a good idea when using an alexandrite laser. Numbing your skin with lidocaine can make the treatment more tolerable.