Laser Treatment

Which Kinds of Birthmarks Can be Treated with Lasers?

Lori Haney, RN, MEPC, LSO No Comments

If you have a “birthmark” that you’ve always wanted to get rid of, Celibre Medical and class IV medical lasers can help.

Birthmarks come in one of two varieties: red or brown. Port wine birthmarks are red in color because they are made up of blood vessels close to the surface of the skin. Another term for this type of mark is a vascular birthmark.  Brown birthmarks are darker than your normal skin color. They can range from light tan to very dark brown. These birthmarks are comprised of melanocytes, which are the skin’s pigment (melanin).

Before we describe options for both red and brown birthmarks, it’s important to know that birthmarks are not usually a “one and done” process. Fading of most birthmarks will take several laser treatments for optimal results. In some cases, fading, rather than complete removal, is the end goal.

Class IV medical lasers can safely remove several types of birthmarks on all skin types (colors). Here is a brief list of some of the birthmarks that respond to laser treatment:

Café-au-lait

These are tan to brown birthmarks that usually appear in infancy. They can range in size from ½” to several inches across, are flat and have the same texture as surrounding skin. Café-au-lait spots can occur anywhere on your body.

Cafe-au-lait Los Angeles Birthmark Removal Laser before photoCafe-au-lait Los Angeles Birthmark Removal Laser after photo
Celibre Laser Birth Mark removal patient

Becker’s Nevi

Another pigmented birthmark, Becker’s nevi are often darker in color and larger than café-au-lait spots. They are more common in males, and while they’re often present at birth, people can also develop them in puberty. They generally affect only one side of the body (i.e. are unilateral), and will extend across the chest or shoulder, or down the arm. These birthmarks are more difficult to remove with lasers.

becker's nevi birthmark
Photo courtesy of Dermnet New Zealand

Nevus of Ota

Nevus of Ota are most commonly found in Asian, Hispanic or African skin types.  They often present as dark bluish or greenish patches at the temple forehead or eye, usually only on one side.  These birthmarks are successfully treated with high powered q-switched Nd:Yg lasers.

Port Wine Stains

Port wine stains (red, vascular birthmarks) can be small or large, and often involve the facial. The color can range from red to deep purple (hence the name), and they are always present at birth. Pulsed dye lasers are an effective treatment for port wine stains, and can often remove them entirely. Keep in mind, this process may involve several treatments that are spread over a long time period.

port wine birthmark removal los angeles laser before photoport wine birthmark removal los angeles laser after photo
Celibre Laser Birth Mark removal patient


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Can Laser Treatment Help Remove Birthmarks?

Lori Haney, RN, MEPC, LSO No Comments

Removing birthmarks with lasers can be a delicate and tricky process. No two are alike. Each has its own location, color, shape and size which makes laser treatment of birthmarks a highly-individualized process. Generally, birthmarks are either red or brown, and there are several different types of each. Examples of red or “vascular” birthmarks include port wine stains and hemangiomas. Brown or “pigmented” birthmarks include café-au-lait and nevus of Ota/Ito. The reason it is important to distinguish between these two groups is that they each require different yet specific lasers to treat them effectively.

Los Angeles Birthmark Removal Laser before photo

Los Angeles Birthmark Removal Laser after photo

Red, vascular birthmarks require lasers that target blood vessels, while brown, pigmented birthmarks need lasers that target skin pigment or melanin. It is also important to note that while many of both types of birthmarks can be fully removed using these lasers, sometimes the best we can do is fade the birthmark so that it’s not so noticeable.

Pulsed dye lasers use technology that targets hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is part of the red blood cell, so it’s a great target if we are trying to get rid of anything that has blood vessels. Vascular birthmarks respond very well to this type of laser, but usually take more treatments over a longer period: 6 to 10 treatments total to see full results. Again, sometimes we can get rid of red birthmarks completely, and other times, the laser fades them a great deal.

Q-switched lasers are the treatment of choice for pigmented or brown birthmarks. Because these contain melanin (skin pigment), they usually fade quickly with the proper treatment. Celibre Medical currently uses two q-switched YAG lasers for these types of spots, and we have found that most patients get full results or significant fading after just 3 to 5 treatments with either of our devices. We tell our patients that the sun can stimulate the pigment in the birthmark to return, so heavy, repeated sun exposure of the treated area should be avoided. Q-switched lasers are safe to use on any skin type (color). This is important to know because pigmented birthmarks can be more common in people with darker skin like Hispanics and Asians.

No matter which type of birthmark you have, Celibre has a laser that can safely and effectively remove it. We pride ourselves on being at the forefront of laser medicine and only use the latest, FDA-approved lasers to treat birthmarks. We’ve made sure that we’ve taken extra time and care in choosing our devices so that we can offer treatment to almost anyone with any type of birthmark anywhere on the body. Because of this, we have years of experience in treating a wide array of both types of birthmarks on all skin types. And this is why you can trust Celibre Medical to safely and effectively treat yours as well.


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Can I Scar After Laser Tattoo Removal?

Lori Haney, RN, MEPC, LSO No Comments

Tattoo removal lasers are powerful devices designed to specifically break apart tattoo ink that was meant to be permanent.  While they are both safe and effective in most cases, when used improperly, you can be at risk for unwanted side effects, including scarring.

los angeles laser tattoo removal before and after pictureslos angeles laser tattoo removal before and after picturesIf you are having or thinking of having laser tattoo removal, be aware of the possibility of side effects.  Choose your laser facility and practitioner carefully to minimize the chances of scarring and make sure you’re treated by someone who is highly experienced.  Doing your homework up front to find an experienced practice will limit the risk of scarring.

Scarring that can happen after laser tattoo removal generally falls into one of three categories: hypopigmentation (lightening of the skin), hyperpigmentation (darkening of the skin), or textural changes in the skin. Let’s talk a bit more about each of these and why they can happen.

Hypopigmentation after laser tattoo removal is somewhat common – and usually temporary. Remember, the laser works by delivering light energy to the pigment in the tattoo, and often, it is the same wavelength of light that is used to remove excess melanin in the skin. You may see a slight lightening of your natural skin tone where your tattoo was previously and this change often returns to your normal skin color after healing. However, it can be a more permanent change if you’re not taking care of your treated skin with proper sunscreen protection, having your treatments done too close together (without proper healing) or having treatments that are too aggressive (laser energy settings that are too high with bleeding during treatment).

Hyperpigmentation or darkening can also be a common, but is a temporary phenomenon, and is common with darker skin types. Even if your laser practitioner follows all the proper settings and precautions, it can still happen. The best way to avoid this unwanted side effect is to make sure that your laser practitioner is using a tattoo removal device that is right for your skin type (color).

Textural changes in the skin can happen with laser tattoo removal treatments that are done too aggressively. This may include energy settings that are too high for your skin and/or not allowing enough time to properly heal between treatments. Yes, we get it…you want your tattoo gone yesterday, but is it really worth the risk of trading a scar for your tattoo? We’ve seen scars from tattoo removal that look much worse than the original tattoo.

To minimize the risk of improper healing after your laser tattoo removal treatment, follow your practitioners post care guidelines carefully. Make sure you protect your treated skin and tattoo from the sun and keep the area well moisturized while healing.

Finally, make sure that your practitioner is licensed and credentialed to treat you with the device that they are proposing to use for your treatment. As common as laser tattoo removal is, you would be surprised to learn how little training some practices offer prior performing the treatments. Ask lots of questions and be your own advocate. When you do, your chances of having any unwanted side effect or scarring after laser tattoo treatment will be reduced dramatically.


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How Do You Treat Acne Scars?

Lori Haney, RN, MEPC, LSO No Comments

The answer to this question depends largely on what type of acne scars you have. There are several types of acne scars we treat.

  • Dark pigmented acne scars (brown spots in darker skin types).
  • Red pigmented acne scars (red spots in lighter skin types).
  • Textured acne scars (bumpy, rolling, disk shaped, pitted, ice pick, etc.)

Within these categories there are additional variables that determine how we treat acne scars.

los angeles acne scar removal with lasers before picturelos angeles acne scar removal with lasers before pictureTreating pigmented acne scars is very different than treating textured acne scars. In addition, treating brown acne scars is different than treating red acne scars and treating rolling textured scars is different than treating pinpoint or ice pick textured scars. For pigmented acne scars, there are three options – Pulse dye lasers for red acne scars, q-switched lasers for brown acne scars and depigmentation programs such as Cosmelan and our own proprietary program for getting rid of the brown acne scars without laser treatments.

For textured acne scars, we have several options including the Aramis and Q-switched lasers (with no downtime) and the Erbium laser for laser resurfacing (5-7 days of social downtime). To determine which type of laser we would recommend for your textured acne scars, we evaluate you in person to see how deep the scars are, what your goals are and what your preference for downtime vs. no downtime procedures is.


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Which Lasers Are Good for Wrinkles?

Lori Haney, RN, MEPC, LSO No Comments

Have you been considering laser treatments to improve your lines and wrinkles?  Because of the hype in our industry, you may be surprised to learn that not all lasers treat lines and wrinkles effectively.  We’re here to help you make sense of your laser options for smoother, tighter, firmer and younger skin. We’ll explain their similarities and differences as well as discuss why certain treatments might make more sense for you versus others that your friends or family members may have had.

First, it’s important for you to understand that there are two primary laser technologies proven superior for improving skin’s texture and laxity: CO2 and erbium.  Many different companies produce lasers using these two energy.  While similar, these types of lasers do  have subtle differences.

orange county laser resurfacing before photoorange county laser resurfacing after photo
Fractional Laser Resurfacing

So, which one would be the choice for you? The answer really depends on your goals.  Are you a 35-year-old who just wants a bit of smoothing and brightening? Or are you a 65-year-old who has smoked and sunbathed for the past 40 years? As you might guess, these two patients will require different laser resurfacing treatments.

More aggressive treatments (for more severe damage) will require more recovery time. The longest downtime is usually following fully ablative CO2 resurfacing. These patients will need 2 to 4 weeks for recovery. Other non-ablative resurfacing procedures (with less dramatic results) carry no downtime at all! Keep in mind that more aggressive treatments are usually a “one and done” type approach. No downtime procedures may require a series of treatments.

So how do these treatments work to smooth your skin and erase lines and wrinkles? Lasers use thermal (heat) energy to injure your skin. This precise injury forces your body to make new collagen. As your skin heals and new collagen forms, you see tighter, firmer skin.

In addition to CO2 and erbium, radio frequency treatments have also been developed to tighten skin. While the mechanism by which these work is different than lasers, the underlying “collagen remodeling” is the end result.

Just as technologies have evolved, so has our approach to laser resurfacing. Twenty years ago, full CO2 resurfacing was the only way to get younger, fresher-looking skin. The recovery times were long, and often complications occurred including permanent color changes and scarring. In 2005, the first “fractional” treatment was introduced. This technology allowed for “only a fraction” of the skin to be treated with the laser, rather than the entire skin surface. Not only did this reduce recovery time (to about a week) and complications, but the results were similar to traditional CO2 resurfacing. Today, fractional laser resurfacing is the preferred method to rejuvenate skin.

Fractional resurfacing treatments are excellent for improving fine lines under the eyes, smoker’s lines at the top lip, and crow’s feet at the sides of the eyes.

Too often consumers become focused on a specific laser done because they saw it on The Doctors or Dr. Oz.  Instead of focusing on a particular brand of laser, we suggest evaluating the practitioner using the laser. Look at before and after photos of patients with similar issues as yours and examine the results that your potential practitioner gets with the lasers they use.

Choosing a laser resurfacing treatment can be a daunting process, but with the help of a knowledgeable and skilled practitioner and a good understanding of the goals and limitations of the procedure, you can find the perfect fit for you.  Call us today for your free consultation.


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How Can I Get Rid Of Veins on My Hands?

Lori Haney, RN, MEPC, LSO No Comments

When you think about anti-aging treatments, you might think first about procedures to help your face look smoother, fuller, firmer and less wrinkled. But your face isn’t the only indicator of your age. In fact, many of our patients who’ve had effective facial rejuvenation come to us asking about other areas that they feel don’t “match” their face or give away their age. One of these areas is their hands.

Your hands are exposed to view every day. Depending on your profession or daily activities, they may draw more attention or even take center stage over your face! One of the most frequent complaints about aging hands are prominent, “ropey” looking veins on the backs of the hands. While there’s no great preventative treatment for this, there are effective ways to improve it.

Asclera is an injectable product that can be carefully injected into unwanted veins on the hands. It causes the treated vein to harden or “sclerose” and this triggers the process of the vein being slowly broken down and removed naturally by your body. The treatment is called sclerotherapy. If you’re thinking, “I thought that was a treatment for spider veins on the legs?” you’re right! It’s the same exact process, and it works just as effectively for unwanted veins on your hands.

This treatment is ideal for smaller veins, so if you still have larger ones that you don’t like, sometimes we can couple sclerotherapy with dermal filler treatments of Radiesse.  Radiesse helps to add back fullness to the backs of the hands. This can be an effective camouflage for larger veins. It also helps your hands look fuller, softer and smoother.

Don’t let your hands spoil your age. There are effective anti-aging solutions for your hands and we can help you decide which one is right for you!


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Laser Removal of Speckled Nevi Birthmarks

Lori Haney, RN, MEPC, LSO No Comments

Nevi is the fancy, medical term for “moles”. Most of us have at least a few moles on our skin. Chances are that no two of yours look the same, because nevi come in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors and textures!

One type of birthmark is a “speckled nevi”. These look like large, flat light brown patches with lots of darker, freckles within them. Sometimes they may fade during the winter and get darker in the summer or with sun exposure. If you run your fingers over the surface, they may feel a bit like sandpaper. If you’ve got one and you wish you didn’t, class IV medical lasers may be able to help.

Laser treatments for brown birthmarks isn’t always a sure thing. While many fade significantly, others don’t. We tell this to our patients up front and set their expectation for improvement in appearance and not necessarily total Removal. At Celibre Medical, we’ve had good success treating these types of birthmarks (and others) with q-switched laser technology. Q-switch lasers are safe for most skin types (colors) and they will often fade the brown pigment of speckled nevi birthmarks, while leaving the dark freckles behind.

While laser treatment of these birthmark can be challenging, we’ve found that by thoroughly discussing the ins and outs of treatment and results up front with our patients, they are very happy with their results.


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Removal of Brown Spots on the Lips

Lori Haney, RN, MEPC, LSO No Comments

Have you had freckles your whole life? Or maybe you have a darker skin type or a long history of sun exposure and you’ve noticed small brown spots popping up everywhere?  Whatever you call them – sun spots, freckles, birthmarks or brown spots—there’s a good chance that you have a few that you wish you didn’t.  One uncommon place for these spots is the lips. No one is happy with attention-drawing discoloration on such a highly visible area as the mouth! If you’re a woman trying to hide these, your lipstick shades are limited to the very dark end of the spectrum. And lip gloss is completely out of the question!

Many people worry that these spots are a sign of something bad, but in most cases they’re harmless. And if you’ve wondered about laser removal of brown spots on a sensitive area like the lips, you’ve landed on the right page! Lasers can safely and effectively remove dark spots from anywhere on the body, even the sensitive mucosa of the lips. The specific type of laser that we use at Celibre Medical Corporation for this treatment is the q-switched YAG laser.

The q-switched YAG laser is safe to use on anyone, regardless of their skin type or color. Treatments for brown spots on the lips are usually quick and relatively painless. Best of all, there is no downtime! Most people see improvement after just a single treatment and many get complete results after three!

Don’t struggle trying to cover up unwanted dark brown spots on your lips. Lasers offer you a unique, effective and safe solution!

Sun Spot Removal

brown spots on the lips laser treatments before brown spots on the lips laser treatments after
Sun Spot Removal Before and After Pictures

After laser brown spot removal, consider wearing lip protection that has SPF (sun protection factor) in it if you spend a lot of time outdoors.


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Birthmark Removal, How Many Laser Treatments?

Lori Haney, RN, MEPC, LSO No Comments

There are several types of birthmarksred birthmarks are vascular (made up of small blood vessels at the surface of the skin) and brown birthmarks that are made up of melanin (the skin’s natural pigmentation) that is darker than the surrounding skin. In addition, birthmarks come in a variety of sizes and density of pigment.

Long Beach Laser birthmark Removal before and after picturesLong Beach Laser birthmark Removal before and after picturesAlthough most birthmarks are effectively treated with class IV medical lasers, it is difficult to predict the number of laser treatments that are required for birthmark removal. The realistic expectation that we set for patients is that they have to be prepared for only improvement or fading rather than just complete resolution. In some cases we can get complete birthmark removal, but even in those cases, there is a possibility that at some time in the future, more laser treatments will be required if the birthmark reappears.

Although many birthmarks may resolve completely, it is impossible to predict which ones and with how many laser treatments. Most birthmark removal patients see good progress after three (3) aggressive laser treatments. After three treatments, if the patient is not making progress with their laser birthmark removal program, we sometimes advise them to stop because not every birthmark will respond to lasers. Most treatments do not involve any downtime, and laser treatments for birthmarks are usually less than 30 minutes.


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What Is Erbium Laser Resurfacing?

Lori Haney, RN, MEPC, LSO No Comments

There are so many different lasers for skin resurfacing that you might wonder which one would be good for you?  At Celibre Medical Corporation, the technology that we’ve found to offer superior safety and results with our patients is the erbium YAG laser.

Erbium is an older technology, but it works, and we know that it can provide consistent benefits with little risk for our patients. It’s a great procedure to consider if you have fine lines and wrinkles, acne scarring, or if you just want to improve the laxity and firmness of your skin.

Erbium laser resurfacing does this in two ways. First, it removes the outer skin layer (the epidermis) while it simultaneously deposits heat deeper in the skin (the dermis) to stimulate collagen production. When combined with the new epidermis that is generated after treatment, erbium laser resurfacing can produce brighter, tighter, healthier and younger looking skin!

You will most likely need more than one treatment spaced at least four weeks apart to achieve optimal results. If you work or have other commitments, you will also need some “social downtime” or recovery period.  This “downtime” lasts around 5 to 10 days following each treatment.  There is very little discomfort during your healing period, and most patients return to their normal schedules about five to seven days after treatment!

erbium los angeles laser resurfacing before pictureserbium los angeles laser resurfacing after pictures
Laser Resurfacing Before and After Pictures


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