Freckles are thought to occur mostly because of a genetic component and predisposition. While their appearance may be genetic in nature, laser surgery is an option for their removal. The main reason that patients seek to have their freckles removed is purely cosmetic, as there is no detrimental affect on a patient’s health caused by the freckles. There are many things to consider before deciding to have this procedure done, so here are some of the pros and cons to laser surgery freckle removal.
Pro: Process and Safety
The good news for patients with freckles is that they can be removed, and often very successfully. A pulsed-dye laser is the most common method used during this type of laser surgery. In this case, the laser actually emits pulses of a certain wavelength to the site of the freckles, targeting the blood vessels that lie just underneath the surface of the skin. Those blood vessels are then destroyed by the heat emitted from the laser, but the surrounding skin is basically untouched. The laser used for freckle removal is yellow in color, which is known for being safe for use on patients without producing any long-term skin-damaging effects.
Pro: Efficient and Painless
Each treatment session usually lasts no more than 10-15 minutes, and the average patient only needs about 3 sessions to see optimal results. This is dependent, however, on the sizes of the areas being worked on and essentially the capacity of freckles that needs to be removed.
When a pulsed-dye laser is used for freckle removal, a cool spray is dispersed over the skin just seconds before the laser is actually applied. What this does is minimizes any painful sensations that the patient may feel. Because the procedure is considered to be non-invasive, there is no need for local anesthetics, and the cool spray should be used as a preventative pain measure.
Con: Side Effects
While there is no long-term damage caused to the skin, the laser procedure can actually cause bruising at the emission site, which is typically more painful that the procedure itself; however, when bruising does occur, it usually only lasts for 3 to 10 days, depending on how many areas of the body were worked on and the skin’s reaction to the procedure.
Other side effects that may occur include redness and swelling, which are the skin’s natural reactions to the heat emitted by the laser beam. It is really no different that staying in the sun for long periods of time; the heat from the sun naturally irritates the skin, and so will the laser beam. If any redness or swelling does occur, it should not last for more than 10 days.
Con: Reappearance of Freckles
Laser surgery for freckle removal is permanent, but that does not mean that freckles cannot reappear. In fact, there is a great deal of aftercare that must be taken to avoid the reappearance of freckles. A genetic predisposition is thought to be the true cause of freckles, so a patient must understand that sun exposure is the most common trigger for that predisposition. Repetitive sun exposure without the use of a sun block inevitably causes the freckles to appear again, essentially make the surgery a wasteful expense.