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Pulsed dye laser

The pulsed dye laser (PDL) uses a concentrated beam of yellow-colored light to heat and destroy blood vessels and other red marks.

Before You Go

Questions to ask your doctor:

  • How many PDL treatments will I need?
  • How much improvement will I see?
  • What can I do in between treatments to ensure the best results?

Pre-procedure prep for pulsed dye laser: Avoid tanning one month before treatment with a PDL. Tanned skin tends to be less responsive to the laser energy and increases the chance of negative side effects.

On the day of treatment: Go to your appointment with clean skin. Don't wear moisturizers, lotions, or makeup on any area where the laser will be used. If the treatment area is covered with hair, you'll need to shave beforehand since this could affect the laser's performance.

What To Expect

Eye protection is worn during treatment to shield your eyes from the laser energy. Pulsed dye lasers deliver energy through a handheld device. You may be sitting or lying down during your session.

Who should do it: Consult a board certified dermatologist who can safely operate the laser device and monitor your skin's reaction to treatment.

Duration: PDL treatments can be completed in minutes, but if you plan on using a topical anesthetic, plan to arrive at your appointment 30 minutes early to give your skin time to go numb.

How Painful Is It?

Pulsed dye lasers deliver a sharp pain with each burst of light. It may feel like a rubber band snapping against your skin. These quick zaps are generally considered tolerable, but it's fine to ask for, and use, topical painkillers.

Many devices also make use of cooling technology to soothe the skin during treatment.

Options for anesthesia: Topical anesthesia can be used, however it is not required.

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