IPL Treatment – My (fairly painful) experience of getting rid of Thread Veins

I mentioned in my previous post about the CACI jaw/jowl lift that my next post would be about my experience with IPL to get rid of thread veins around my nose, so here we go.

Thread veins (telangiectasia) are tiny, thin blood vessels that lie close to the surface of the skin and look red or in some cases purple. They are sometimes referred to as ‘spider veins’ or ‘broken veins’, despite them being slightly enlarged, not broken. There are various causes for thread veins, including genetics, sun exposure and acne. None of these apply to me as I was lucky enough not to suffer from acne, none of my family suffer from thread veins and I avoid the sun unless covered in the highest factor sunscreen. I have, however, had several sinus operations over the years and I’m sure the trauma to my nose area caused the problem. There were too many to get rid of totally but I had a few that were very noticeable and refused to be covered properly by concealer or foundation. I tried lots of different colour corrective primers as well, the best of which was probably L’Oreal anti-redness CC cream. I needed a longer term solution, so did a bit of research and opted for Intense Pulsed Light Technology (IPL) treatment.

IPL is marketed as a safe and effective solution to vascular concerns, not only facial such as rosacea and thread veins, but also can be used on the hands, the decollete and leg veins. Unlike lasers that employ only one colour of light, IPL uses a wide spectrum which are used in conjunction with filters. The light is absorbed by the blood vessels, heating them to a point where they are destroyed. After treatment, the vessels are reabsorbed by the body, leaving little or no trace of the original lesion. It’s especially good on people with fair skin because the laser zones in on colour, which is great for me with my very pale skin. I found a local clinic which had very good reviews and was run by qualified Consultant Dermatologists, and went in for a patch test. They took my medical history and did say that I might find it more painful than normal because of the area around my nose being sensitive anyway. However, as usual vanity won over and I went ahead.

I had to wear special glasses to protect my eyes and a layer of gel was put on the trial area. A light applicator was placed on the skin and a short pulse of light released. I had been told to expect a sharp pain like an elastic band being flicked at my face and it wasn’t too bad at all, cold air was then blasted at the area. I could see an immediate improvement on the chosen vein. It’s important to wear a high factor sunscreen for the duration of the treatment and several weeks afterwards as the skin is very sensitive, I went for Heliocare factor 50.

I was going to need a couple of sessions, a month apart, to treat the more prominent veins. The first treatment went well but the second was extremely painful as they were zapping a couple veins right on the side of my nose. Luckily that was my last visit as I’m not sure I would have gone back! However, it does work, my very prominent veins are now gone; I still have plenty of small ones but I can cope with those.

So, how much did this cost? The patch test was £25, redeemable against my first session and then each session was £70. Not exactly cheap but most people don’t need a lot of sessions. In my case it was definitely worth it. Can I recommend it? Well it does work, but you do need a fairly high pain threshold.

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