Laser Skin Treatment
State-of-the-art laser skin treatments like CO2
For your laser treatment, Lakeshore Vein & Aesthetics Clinic has new, state-of-the-art laser equipment for specialist laser skin treatment in the Okanagan... and the medical doctors and certified laser technicians to ensure your treatment is safe and effective.
Trust the doctors with a special interest in skin care and years of experience in laser skin treatment to assess your skin issue, and provide sound advice and safe, effective treatment.
A fractionated laser (aka CO2 laser or carbon dioxide laser) is used to treat the following symptoms/conditions based on skin texture:
- Wrinkles, aging and lax skin
- Crow's feet and frown/laugh lines
- Skin blemishes and rosacea
- Skin tags, moles and lesions
- Skin spots: red, brown, etc.
- Sunspots, age spots and sun damage
- Scars (scar removal, eg. acne scar removal)*
CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) Laser Skin Resurfacing Treatment
Historically, CO2 lasers (carbon dioxide lasers) have always been the gold standard of skin resurfacing. They produced good results, but the initial technology resulted in significant down-time (4–6 weeks, with red to pink skin lasting up to six months*). Also, in the past, there was a risk of infection due to equipment design and the agressive 'focused' delivery of laser energy . Today, this is no longer the case: better technology design and even better results.
Current CO2 Laser Treatment
In recent years the CO2 laser has been vastly improved to deliver fractionated energy, still producing beautiful results comparable to traditional resurfacing, but without the down-time. Instead of 2–3 weeks of not being able to leave the house, patients are typically presentable within 5–7 days*, though some feel best with another few days. If desired, lighter treatments can be administered, but results are not as significant. The difference between fractionated CO2 and traditional CO2 laser resurfacing is in the way the laser energy is delivered. The same wavelength of CO2 laser energy is used (10,600nm), but instead of all of the skin underneath the handpiece being treated, the energy is distributed in a dot matrix manner. In other words, microscopic holes are punched into the skin in a computer-generated pattern; in a way, it is like aerating your skin. Only approximately 20% of the skin is actually treated, leaving the remaining 80% non-ablated, creating a much faster healing time with excellent results and less chance of infection. The percentage of skin being treated can be adjusted if the physician administering the treatment deems it appropriate.
Skin Treatment Results
Within the first few weeks after treatment, results include tightening of the pores, lessening of fine lines, improvement of crepy skin texture and rough sun-damaged areas, reduction of acne scarring, and removal or reduction of sun spots and redness. The skin appears fresher and rejuvenated. After 30 days*, the collagen remodelling begins; tightening occurs and continues for the next 3–6 months*. A recent study using fractionated CO2 resurfacing of the skin showed collagen remodelling as early as seven days after the treatment and persisting up to at least three months, through the measurement of heat shock proteins. (The study did not measure collagen beyond three months.)
Other fractionated lasers (Fraxel, Pixel, Pearl, Profractional, etc.) use similar technology, but fractionated CO2 is the most effective, more aggressive way to resurface the skin safely. The SmartXide Dot system has full Canadian and FDA approval. The face, eyelids, neck, chest/décolletage area, arms and hands can be treated. In order to obtain optimal results, specific instructions for pre- and post-treatment must be followed.
Please ask your physician about possible risks and reasonable down-time expectations, and how they can be best accommodated. While many patients are comfortable with as little as five days of down-time, some feel best after ten days – it varies for each individual and skin type. Typically, it is best to plan on at least seven days. More details are below in the pre- and post-treatment care instructions.
The following is a general overview of the procedure – some perceive it to be more intense than is stated:
The procedure and expectations will have been explained to you thoroughly and you will have had the opportunity to ask questions and review the video above.
- A brief medical history will be taken and an examination of your skin performed.
- For one month prior to the procedure, sun exposure, tanning beds and tanning creams are to be avoided.
- Do not wear sunscreen or makeup to your appointment.
- You will have pre- and post-treatment photographs taken which are confidential – as is your entire medical file. This is for you and the physician only, in order to document your progress.
- You will need to wear special goggles during the procedure to protect your eyes against possible accidental exposure to pulsed light.
- You will have a topical anesthetic applied to the treatment area to numb the skin and make the procedure more comfortable. The topical anesthetic is applied and left on for 45–60 minutes. Often, other forms of anesthetic or blocks may be given to anestheitize the skin. If this is an integral part of your treatment plan, this would have been discussed with you by the doctor during your consultation.
- If your treatment involves the eyelids, protective eye shields will be placed on your eyes prior to treatment.
- During the laser treatment, your skin will become warmer and warmer. We will cool the skin with a cold air stream and iced cloths, and also provide you with a blanket.
- You will be given detailed post-treatment instructions as well as samples of the cleanser and occlusive ointment.
- Valacyclovir (Valtrex) is an effective antiviral medication to minimize your risk of a cold sore arising post-treatment that could jeopardize your final results. Ensure that you start your prescription three days before treatment and take it for the full seven days post-treatment. If you suspect that you are getting a cold sore despite this medication, double the dose to two tablets twice a day and call the office @ 250-860-9919.
- We include this prescription in your procedure package to ensure that you have the necessary prescription for your treatment. Should you leave the clinic without booking your future treatment and then book an appointment at a later date, you would be covered by the medication prescription.
Pre-Treatment Pain Management
- You can take some Extra Strength Tylenol for discomfort two hours prior to your laser appointment. If you take anything stronger, you must have a driver. If you are having a more aggressive treatment, Tylenol # 3 may be prescribed as well as an oral antihistamine to help with itching.
- Anxiety: Even though this is a well established and tested procedure, some people become very tense. We encourage you to discuss this with us – we can help.
- If you would like to listen to music on your personal player, bring it with you.
- Please ensure that your cell phone is switched off.
- One can’t exactly predict how quickly one heals from this procedure as people heal at different rates. You need to be informed of the potential down-time required to recover from this procedure. Most patients are back in their own makeup and return to work within 5 –10 days*. Often, it might take 4–6 weeks* for the pink appearance to diminish.
- Some possible skin reactions we observe include redness, itchiness, swelling, crusting, milia, and breakouts. These can be mitigated by following the post-treatment instructions and usually resolve in the first few days.
To maximize your results from your skin rejuvenation, please read this carefully. If you’re unsure or have any questions with regards to your treatments, please ask or phone the clinic for instructions, clarification and/or reassurance.
Immediate Post Procedure
- To maximize your results from your skin rejuvenation, please read this carefully. If you’re unsure or have any questions with regards to your treatments, please ask or phone the clinic for instructions and reassurance. (250-860-9919). Press 4 as your option to reach or leave a message for the Nurse Manager during regular business hours. For emergencies and after hours, you can contact the physician via their cell phone at the numbers provided on the second page.
- Depending on the depth of treatment, the skin may have an appearance ranging from pink and shiny to grey. Rough texture may last an average of 1–5 days*. Skin may have a red and swollen appearance and you may experience some pinpoint bleeding.
- Everyone heals differently and at different rates. Depending on the type of treatment, some people find that they can have a rough texture for more than one week and have a pink, sunburnt appearance for 4–6 weeks*.
- Ice packs are vital for the first 3–4 hours after laser therapy is completed and may be required afterward, during the first 24 hours. This will help relieve any swelling and discomfort. You can use frozen peas wrapped in a damp cloth or place wet facecloths in the freezer and apply when they are very cold but not frozen.
- To decrease swelling, for the first night post-procedure elevate your head in bed, using two or more pillows. Cover your pillow with a towel as it may get stained by balm applied to the treatment area.
- During the initial 24 hours, an ELTA balm covering on your treated area will help ensure hydration. Please ensure that you keep hydrated – drink plenty of water throughout the days following the procedure.
- Your skin may feel a little crusty and sandpapery for the first few days. Please do not pick at it! Allow the skin to slough off naturally.
DAY 1 (First day after the treatment)
- You can wash your face with the provided non-allergenic gentle Cetaphil cleanser. Add a small amount to your palm, add water and create a foam. Apply to face and rinse off with warm water. DO NOT SCRUB! You will not be able to remove all the balm and that’s ok. Repeat application of ELTA balm after each wash. Cleanse your face a..m. and p.m. every day. Following these instructions will maximize healing and minimize discomfort. If irritation or burning occurs with the wash, wait and try the following day.
- Also see Pain Management below.
DAY 2-3 (Vinegar soaks)
To help minimize the itch on Day 2 or Day 3, you can apply vinegar soaks to the treated area. If you are not experiencing a lot of itchiness, this step can be skipped.
- Fill a large clean bowl with cold tap water and a few ice cubes. Add one tablespoon of white vinegar for every cup water. Place a stack of 4x4 gauze or 2–3 clean facecloths nearby.
- Take a few damp, almost dripping wet gauzes or face cloths and apply over treated area, replacing them before they dry out. You may want to repeat 2–3 times for 15–30 minutes each time. Not everyone will be able to do these soaks or even require them; they are an option for decreasing the itch.
- After the compresses have been applied and removed, pat area dry with a clean towel and reapply the ELTA balm.
- We have included a hydrocortisone cream 1% (topical steroid) that you can use to help alleviate the itchiness; this can be applied sparingly morning and night. This is only to be used in the short term and not all patients will require it. Some patients find the addition of Benadryl, an antihistamine, helpful to decrease itchiness. This medication can make you drowsy unless you choose the non-drowsy formulation. Don’t drive while on this medication unless you've chosen the non-drowsy form.
- You will be applying the ELTA balm for the initial 3–5 days post procedure until you have peeled.
- After this time, you may start to apply your own moisturizer. If you choose to do so, use a moisturizer without any perfume, dyes, or alcohol.
- Try a small amount of moisturizer in a discreet area (possibly along the jawline) to determine if you can tolerate it and it will moisturize effectively – we don’t want you to feel dry. If it isn't moisturizing enough or you react to it, then return to the ELTA balm and try your own the next day. Everyone will heal differently and at different rates depending on many factors including the intensity of the treatment. You may require more time using the balm.
- At this time, you may be able to tolerate your own moisturizer and makeup. Again, some patients will require more time to peel and heal depending on the type of treatment. These are guidelines only. If you are having a series of rejuvenating treatments, you may be back in makeup and resuming activities in 4–5 days*. Others will require more down-time and have to adjust their post treatment accordingly. They may require one week to ten days of actually down-time and up to one month for the pink appearance to diminish. However, this would be the exception.
- We recommend Extra Strength Tylenol for the first hours post treatment. Do not use anti-inflammatories like Advil or Ibuprofen. Tylenol #3 may be prescribed if a more aggressive treatment is performed.
- Ensure that you finish the course of Valtrex medication post laser treatment.
- Please return as scheduled for follow-up appointment.
If you have any concerns or questions, please contact the clinic immediately.
A Q-switched laser is used to treat the following symptoms/conditions based on skin pigment:
- Skin blemishes
- Skin tags, moles and lesions
- Brown skin spots, dark skin spots, etc.
- Sunspots, age spots and sun damage
- Tattoo (tattoo removal)
Ideal Laser for Skin Spots/Moles & Tattoo Removal
At Lakeshore Vein & Aesthetics Clinic, you can trust our physicians and certified laser technicians to deliver safe and effective laser treatment. A Q-Switched laser (aka Qswitched Yag Laser) is used in various procedures. Its beam of light is of a specific wavelength which, when applied to the skin, is absorbed by coloured pigments in the skin (e.g. melanin or tattoo ink pigments).
Laser Tattoo Removal
The new Q-Switched laser is excellent for removing tattoos. The laser disrupts the tattoo pigment into particles that are naturally swept away by the body's lymphatic system. Depending on tattoo size, full removal takes an average of 6–8 treatments spaced 3–5 weeks apart. Note that some ink colours respond better to the treatment than others (e.g. dark blues/greens are removed far easier that yellows/whites). Different colours require different wavelengths.
Outcomes/expectations: most tattoos are considerably improved, and many are effectively fully removed. Some areas may show a shadow of the former tattoo, which gradually clears. Some colours are more easily removed than others.
Q-Switched Yag Laser: Effective for Brown Skin Spot Removal
Commonly used for removal of brown age spots on the face, chest, hands and arms and for tattoo removal. This laser also removes permanent makeup (aka tattooed makeup).
Q-Switched lasers are a safe and effective method of treating age spots and tattoos. It is performed by Lakeshore Vein & Aesthetics doctors skilled in the use of lasers. Possible side effects include blistering and crusting after the treatment. Dark glasses are worn to protect the patient’s eyes from the light.
For laser treatment of tattoos, the skin is most often numbed with a local anesthetic, though this is not usually required for small age spots.
Our nurses or physicians will consult with you and review the pre-treatment procedures. The skin being lasered must not be tanned. If the patient has a history of cold sores in the area to be treated, a prescription for an anti-viral medication will be given to you by the physician to be started the day before the laser procedure and taken for a few days afterwards. Patients who have had Accutane for acne may not have laser for at least six months (and possibly up to one year) after stopping Accutane.
The treated skin reddens immediately after the procedure. An antibiotic ointment will be applied to the area and a dressing applied. Some redness and crusting may last for 7–14 days.
Patients are asked to apply antibiotic ointment and a bandaid to the treated area for 1–2 weeks. It is important to protect all your skin from the sun every day by using sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, as well as by wearing sun protective clothing.
The V-beam laser targets abnormal blood vessels in the skin and has a well-documented history for the safe and effective treatment of vascular lesions. It is so safe, in fact, that it has been used to successfully treat port wine stains on infants as young as a few weeks old.
A V-beam laser is used to treat the following symptoms/conditions also based on skin pigment:
- Spider veins or telangiectasia
(eg. small veins around nose, tiny varicose veins in nostrils)
- Skin blemishes
- Red skin spots
- Sunspots, age spots and sun damage
- Scars (scar removal, eg. acne scar removal)
How does the V-beam Pulsed Dye skin laser work?
The V-Beam delivers a gentle burst of yellow light to the skin. The light is specifically absorbed by the blood vessels in the treatment area without damaging surrounding tissue. The treated blood vessels are reabsorbed by the body over time, much like a bruise would be.
How is the skin treatment done?
The patient is given safety goggles to wear as eye protection against the laser light, and then the hand piece is placed gently over the area to be treated. A spray of cooling mist is felt just prior to each laser pulse which acts to protect the surface of the skin as well as decrease discomfort associated with the laser. The laser pulse is then applied, feeling much like the snapping of a rubber band on the skin.
One treatment will result in some improvement, but 2–4 treatments* are usually necessary to produce the best results. The number of treatments required is highly dependent on the size and depth of the targeted vascular lesion. Treatments are generally done 4–6 weeks apart.
Possible side effects are usually transient, lasting no more than a few hours or days. These include bruising, redness, and swelling in the treated area. Newer advances in this laser technology have allowed us to effectively treat blood vessels with minimal or no bruising in a large number of cases. Permanent side effects such as scarring are rare.
Book a consult today for treating visible blood vessels (Telangiectasia), raised strawberry-like lesions (Rosacea), red, raised or thick scars, red birthmarks, reddish stretch marks, or Rosacea of the face, neck, or chest.
Elite laser: Alexandrite & Nd:Yag. The Elite laser contains the Nd: YAG (1064 nm wavelength) and the Alexandrite (755nm wavelength). The Nd:YAG is the wavelength that targets veins. The Alexandrite is the wavelength that helps correct browns (pigmentation).
An Elite laser is used for the following conditions/symptoms:
- Unwanted hair (aka permanent laser hair removal)
- Skin spots: red, brown, etc.
- Sunspots and sun damage
How is the skin treatment done?
To increase your comfort, a topical anesthetic cream can be applied to the treatment area a half-hour before the procedure, but in most cases we have not found this necessary.
The patient is given safety goggles to wear as eye protection against the laser light, and then the hand piece is placed gently over the area to be treated. The laser pulse is then applied, feeling much like the snapping of a rubber band on the skin.
An individual consultation defines a patient's most effective treatment. Expected results are discussed and realistic treatment outcomes are established to suit your skin type and lifestyle. Cost and duration of treatment is determined during your personal consultation. Customized packages are created for each patient. It all depends on your needs and expectations: we provide expert recommendations – and you choose the right treatment for you.
Price range and number of treatments required can vary greatly with each patient – again, a personal consultation is required – but here are some typical ranges:
- CO2 Laser: $500 to $3250, depending on area treated. (Often a single treatment delivers great results, though many love the outcome and have treatments every two or three years thereafter.)
- Q-Switched Laser: min $150 (for one solar lentigo); but all pricing based on consult.
- V-Beam Laser: min $100 (for one spot); but all pricing based on consult.
Investment price is per treatment, and optimal results are typically achieved with an ongoing treatment plan including a skin care regime with sunscreen etc. Taxes not included.