In fact, you can. There exist three main ways in which you can safely and effectively remove a birthmark through medical means. These ways include surgery, laser therapy, and taking certain medications. So can you remove a birthmark without surgery?
Can You Remove a Birthmark Without Surgery?
Although birthmarks do not present as hazardous to your health, there remain several reasons that an individual might find themself interested in removing one. Some of these reasons include cosmetic preferences, along with a wish to boost one’s confidence.
Fortunately, if you find yourself looking to effect these cosmetic changes in yourself without having to resort to surgery, the other options available should offer a patient viable choices in moving forward with their operation.
Lasers work as a powerful medical tool that can help to eliminate damaged layers of outer skin, leaving the skin with a healthier and more natural ambiance and even tone. The versatility of lasers has proven quite wide.
Laser therapy is highly effective for certain scenarios and types of birthmarks. The energy from a laser converts into heat, which can serve to shrink or fade the marked presence on the skin. This works particularly well for red birthmarks, café au lait marks, or congenital vascular birthmarks.
Laser therapy is the most effective at the infancy stage, so should one steward a child who is afflicted with a birthmark, it would be prudent to consider this type of surgery while the child is still an infant. That being said, laser surgery is also appropriate for older children and adults.
There remain a few considerations to take into place in the few days following a laser surgery procedure:
- Keep the affected area clean and out of the sun
- There remains a possibility that the affected area will peel
- Give the area about a week to heal
- There may appear some faint presence of the birthmark remaining
- For the first 24 hours after the surgery, there may appear redness, discoloration, swelling, bruising, or irritation.
There remains also a strong possibility that your doctor will ask you to stop smoking, drinking alcohol or taking blood thinning medications for several days before your procedure takes place.
Many patients will only require one laser session to complete the removal of their birthmark and achieve their desired appearance. However, some patients will need multiple sessions in order to fully remove evidence of the mark.
Those seeking laser treatment might also consider follow-up treatments that complement the laser treatment and enhance its results – procedures such as microdermabrasion and IPL therapy work as possible options.
Taking medications to remove birthmarks proves also more effective in infancy. During this time, the physical makeup of both the mark and the host remain more pliable physically.
Some of the medications a physician might prescribe include Beta-Blockers. This works as a medication typically employed on those suffering from high blood pressure. Beta-blockers have the ability to shrink blood vessels and reduce blood flow. This allows certain kinds of birthmarks to reduce in size and color, such as hemangiomas.
Another class of drug that can help reduce the size of birthmarks like these are known as Corticosteroids. These also prove adept at shrinking blood vessels. And they can minimize hemangiomas.
Both of these kinds of drugs are only efficacious in the first year of life, which is the only time that a birthmark will actually be growing on an individual. Medications will typically shrink a birthmark down to a small enough size that it can subsequently see removal easily by either surgery or laser.
A Point to Remember
One thing to keep in mind if considering medication is the set of side effects present with these medications. Many of the treatments used for the purpose of eliminating birthmarks come with some side effects that should be considered, including:
- Possible Constipation or Diarrhea
- Occasional Sleeping Problems
- Slowed Heart Rate
In most cases, a regiment of regular usage over a period of 14-18 months will prove necessary. This time helps ensure the cosmetic changes desired by eliminating the birthmark remain permanent. We recommend that the prescribing physician slowly decreases the amount of medication used by the child patient over time, rather than an abrupt cessation.
It is also prudent to inform your doctor about any other medications you might be taking, to avoid possible contradictory reactions between the two sets of drugs. This is something to be considered on a patient-by-patient basis. Contact the Lombardi Institute of Dermatology to learn more today.