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How does laser treatment work?

Our Cambridge Laser Clinic recommends the Candela V Beam 595nm as its gold standard Pulsed Dye Laser (PDL). It is the most peer reviewed laser in the world and has the ability to specifically target excess blood (haemoglobin) within the skin without damaging the surrounding tissue. It is our recommended laser platform for over 95% of all port wine stains.

The characteristic diffuse redness of a port wine stain is caused by massive numbers of permanently dilated microscopic blood vessels so densely packed together that we are unable to see the individual vessels and hence visualize a uniform blanket of redness.

Laser light energy is absorbed by the blood within the numerous tiny veins, heating up the vessel wall, which collapses, dissolves and is then absorbed by the body.

Resistant port wine stains, including mature, blue, thickened lesions may require additional more complex treatments utilizing the Cynosure Cynergy 595nm Multiplex mode. This advanced laser has the ability to deliver a 595nm PDL pulse followed by a 1064nm Nd Yag pulse with a precise timing between the emissions. The PDL pulse creates Metheamoglobin that has 3-5 times the absorption at 1064nm than normal Haemogobin. As a result the laser penetrates more deeply (over 4mm) than a standard PDL (1.5mm max) and as far less energy is required, its safety profile is increased. This laser is also our recommended choice for darker skin types.

How effective is laser treatment?

Port wine stains vary considerably and do not always respond to laser treatment in a predictable manner. The treatment works most effectively on the face but excellent results are also achieved on the extremities. Mature, bluish, thickened port wine stains are the most difficult to treat and often require more complex intervention utilising multiplex modalities.

It should be noted that we are unable to guarantee complete clearance of the unwanted port wine stain.

Port Wine Stains Pretreatment


Port Wine Stains Post-treatment


How many treatments are needed?

We recommend 4 to 10 sessions at 8 weekly intervals to achieve optimal results. The treatment is moderately painful but made more tolerable by cooling the skin’s surface during the procedure. All port wine stain treatments at Cambridge Laser Clinic are delivered utilizing protective skin cooling using forced cold air (ACC) or cryogen spray (DCD) to ensure any unwanted heat transferred to the skin is quickly removed.

Are there any side effects?

The main side effect is bruising (purpura) in the form of round purple spots (7mm in diameter) that fade after 7 to 10 days. Occasionally blistering and mild crusting occurs, this settles in a few days. Long-term side effects such as pigment change and scarring are rare.

Is the treatment safe?

There is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that laser treatment can lead to skin disorders or an increased risk of skin cancer. The Candela V Beam and Cynosure Cynergy Pulsed Dye Lasers (PDL) are sold worldwide. Both are fully cleared by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA and have full CE clearance for Europe.

Who performs the treatment?

All port wine stain treatments at our Cambridge Laser Clinic are performed personally by Dr. Nathan Holt. He has delivered in excess of 5000 pulsed dye laser procedures over a 15 year period and is regarded as one of the UKs leading experts.

All consultations are free of charge so why not call our team of experts today?