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    What is a dermatologic surgeon?

    One of the most innovative and progressive medical subspecialties, these ASDS experts perform medically necessary and cosmetic treatment and procedures to improve skin health and beauty.

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    From aging skin to skin cancer...

    No one is more qualified to help than an ASDS member dermatologist. Each year, these skilled doctors perform 5 million cosmetic procedures and 2.6 million skin cancer treatments.

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    One American dies of melanoma almost every hour

    The good news: With early detection, melanoma has an almost 100 percent five-year survival rate. Schedule a free skin cancer screening today.

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    From crow's feet to spider veins...

    You'll look and feel your best when ASDS member dermatologists combine their training and expertise with the widest range of options available.

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Laser/Light Therapy for Birthmarks

In laser/light therapy, an intense but gentle beam of light is used on birthmarks without damaging surrounding tissue. 



  • Birthmarks are highly treatable with laser/light therapy.
  • Lightening of 70 to 90 percent is a realistic goal.
  • Treatments can be repeated every one to three months, depending on birthmark type, until the patient's goal is achieved.
  • Pain and recovery time is minimal.
  • Procedure is non-invasive.


As with any treatment, there are risks associated with it, though they are minimized in the hands of a qualified ASDS docotor. These include:
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Discoloration
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Crusting

Estimated cost

Treatment costs average several hundred dollars. Since most medical insurance companies consider laser/light therapy a cosmetic procedure, treatment usually isn't covered. Factors affecting cost include:
  • Type of skin condition being treated.
  • Size of skin condition being treated.
  • Location of skin condition being treated. 
  • Number of office visits required for treatment.
  • Need for anesthesia, tests or prescriptions. 

Preparing for the procedure

Before the procedure, an ASDS doctor will usually review the patient's medical history and conduct a physical exam. This is the time for the doctor and patient to discuss expectations, potential risks and outcomes of the procedure. Patients also should avoid:
  • Sunbathing, tanning beds, waxing and any chemical peels or collagen injections for two weeks prior to the procedure. 
  • Perfumes, deodorants or any potential irritants in the treatment area before treatment.
  • Taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements for a doctor-specified time before treatment due to increased risk of bleeding. 

What to expect after the procedure

  • Patients may not see any significant changes until several weeks after the surgery. 
  • Treated area may be pink or red for four to eight hours after treatment. 
  • Patients may feel a slight stinging sensation similar to a mild sunburn in the treated area. This sensation usually subsides within four to six hours. Cool packs or moist cloths may be applied to reduce the sensation. 
  • Mild swelling in the treatment area usually dissipates within several days. 

In addition, patients should:

  • Avoid applying makeup, lotion, perfume, deodorant or any potential irritants to the treated area for either 24 hours or until all signs of redness and stinging have dissipated.
  • Apply a good moisturizing lotion to the treated area twice daily for the duration of the treatments and for at least three months after the final treatment.

Finding a doctor

Visit "Find a dermatologic surgeon" and choose "Laser/light Therapy" from the dropdown menu. In 2013, ASDS dermatologists performed nearly 2.25 million laser/light/energy-based procedures, up from 1.68 million in 2012. Because ASDS doctors are trained in a variety of the best and latest techniques, they are the most qualified to evaluate and select the best treatment choice based on the individual patient's condition. 


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