Skin discoloration can be one of the peskiest things to treat with skincare products, as no one is really in the business of waiting for improvement if they can help it. Enter VBeam: a beauty treatment from Candela that targets discoloration and pigment issues via a vascular pulse dye laser, as David Shafer, MD, FACS, explains.
Within the VBeam family, “Perfecta and Prima are both advanced lasers that help treat a broad range of skin conditions, whether it be rosacea, acne, wrinkles, or stretch marks, among others,” Shafer says. Not only can these lasers help smooth complexions, but they’re also really great treatments for scars—so much so that patients undergoing surgical procedures at Shafer’s clinic also have the option of adding VBeam to treatment packages.
Here we’ll break down everything you need to know about VBeam Perfecta laser treatment.
Meet the Expert
What Is VBeam Perfecta?
VBeam Perfecta is a brand of pulsed dye laser used to treat vascular lesions, Anna Chacon, MD, explains.
According to Shafer, advanced pulsed dye lasers, like the VBeam, can target the vessels and capillaries with gentle light bursts, heating problem spots evenly in micro-bursts, which results in a firmer skin texture.
Benefits of VBeam Perfecta
- Targets vascular lesions, redness, and skin discoloration
- Patients often also report noticeably firmer skin
According to Chacon, the treatment targets vascular lesions and redness like rosacea, spider veins, port wine stains, and cherry angiomas aka little red raised freckles due to clumped blood vessels, and more, by selectively targeting hemoglobin with a specific wavelength. Are you sensing a theme here? Yup, VBeam Perfecta seems to target skin conditions with redness specifically.
Aside from these conditions, Shafer also adds that patients “often report having noticeably firmer skin, less redness, and fewer visible capillaries” after treatment.
Another bonus of the VBeam Perfecta is, as with all beauty treatments, the potential for improved self-confidence. It’s no surprise that when you feel good about your skin, you also feel better in general. So it makes sense that patients who believe their skin has improved through VBeam treatments also tend to feel more confident and socialize more, says Shafer.
How to Prepare for VBeam Perfecta
While VBeam is considered a gentle laser for most skin types and doesn’t require a ton of prep work, you’ll still want to avoid major sun exposure for at least four weeks before a session as well as any heavy scrubbing or exfoliation before treatment, to cut down on potentially traumatizing your skin, Shafer says.
Afterward, Chacon recommends you still stay out of the sun, don’t plan anything super important immediately after treatment, and know that while bruising is rare, it’s possible.
What to Expect During a VBeam Perfecta Treatment
“During the treatment, you can expect to feel some tingling and slight irritation,” Shafer says. It’s not uncomfortable, Chacon says, but instead feels like a quick zap on your skin. One neat thing about the VBeam Perfecta specifically, Shafer says, is that it has a built-in safety function that uses a spray of cold air with each pulse of the laser (meant to prevent overheating or other damage to the skin), so it shouldn’t get too hot. Your provider should also equip you with goggles to protect your eyes from the bright flash of light.
VBeam Perfecta vs. IPL Photofacial
Shafer says that IPL (intense pulsed light) is one similar treatment for treating facial redness and helping with sun-damaged skin. However, while VBeam targets vascular lesions, IPL works by using light energy to absorb into the tissue of the skin, which then increases collagen production.
Shafer says that “VBeam is noted to achieve results in far fewer sessions than IPL and can better address issues such as rosacea and broken blood vessels.” Plus, the built-in cool puff safety feature makes VBeam Shafer’s recommendation over IPL.
Potential Side Effects
Chacon says potential side effects can include swelling, bruising, redness, and photosensitivity. And, while every patient is different, Shafer says that some mild swelling is also common. “You may also feel some itching or irritation from places the laser may have hit the skin, which is very common and is often a sign of healing, as well,” Shafer adds. Rarer potential side effects can include a risk of scarring and hyperpigmentation.
Shafer says three to five treatments total are recommended for optimal results, and he says the average cost of a single treatment ranges from $400 to $800. Later down the line, annual maintenance treatments may be recommended by your provider, depending on the condition you’re treating.
Naturally, the more severe the condition, the more sessions it’ll take, Chacon says. She also recommends taking "before and after" pics to assess the progress of your treatment.
Aftercare is pretty minimal, Chacon says, and very similar to what you’ll have to do for prep beforehand: sun protection, sun avoidance, and, as Shafer suggests, staying away from harsh scrubbing or exfoliation.
Shafer also recommends avoiding participation in activities that might heat up your skin, like hot showers or strenuous exercises. “Since the skin has just undertaken a strong heat sensory experience, it's very vulnerable to damage or irritation from additional overheating and irritation," he says. "So it's best to let the skin breathe before resuming any typical skincare routines."
The Final Takeaway
If you’re looking for a way to treat red-colored skin discoloration directly, VBeam Perfecta is one of your best treatment bets. While alternative treatments exist, VBeam Perfect targets those problems directly instead of working to counteract the problems by boosting collagen production, like IPL does. It’s also more efficient than IPL and has the added benefit of the built-in safety puff of air, which helps with comfort, healing, and peace of mind. This treatment is also relatively low maintenance, with general prep and aftercare that should be easy for most to follow for optimal results.
Shafer says that oftentimes patients can see small capillaries targeted by the treatment disappear immediately, but typically, you’ll see results four to eight weeks after each treatment, with results lasting from six months to two years, he says.
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