After your child has had skin laser treatment

This information explains how your child might feel after skin laser treatment and how you can best care for them.

Looking after your child’s skin

  • The area treated with the pulsed dye laser will probably seem bruised and may feel like mild sunburn for 5 to 10 days. The skin will be very fragile and needs gentle handling. Some lasers do not cause much surface bruising, but your child’s skin still needs care afterwards.
  • Please make sure that you bring in some unperfumed moisturiser to apply after laser treatment. Unfortunately, we can no longer supply moisturiser after laser treatment. Suitable types of moisturiser include:
    • Diprobase® ointment
    • Dermamist® spray for larger areas of treated skin
    • Aloe vera gel – this may sting a little when applied
  • All are readily available in most chemists and supermarkets. You could also get this on a prescription from your GP.
  • Apply the moisturiser to the treated area three to four times a day for 10 days or more frequently if the skin is itchy or dry.
  • Your child will be able to have a bath or a shower, but do not use bubble bath or rub the treated area with soap for one week.
  • The treated skin will be dry and may crack or form a crust or blister. If this happens, you should contact your laser nurse who will arrange for an antibiotic ointment such as Bactroban® to be applied two to three times a day for five days.
  • Your child should avoid PE, games or swimming for three weeks after treatment to prevent damage to the lasered skin.
  • Your child should not use camouflage cream for at least five days after treatment.
  • You can relieve any discomfort soon after treatment by putting an ice pack on the treated area. Paracetamol is also helpful. Children under 16 years old should not have aspirin or any medicines which contain it unless prescribed for other reasons.

Using sun blocks

It is important to follow these instructions about sun block creams. Sunlight can cause birthmarks to turn brown, particularly after laser treatment. This may be permanent and can also delay your child’s next treatment.

You should not expose your child’s birthmark to strong sunlight while they are having laser treatment and for at least a year afterwards.

Your child should use a total sun block (factor 30 or higher) at all times in the UK from March to October.
If you are visiting a sunny country at any time of year, your child should wear sun block all the time. Your child should put sun block on at least four times a day:

  • first thing in the morning
  • lunchtime
  • mid-afternoon
  • early evening
If your child is at school, they should apply sun block before each break time, at lunchtime and before going home.

Your child should re-apply the sun block after swimming, even if the bottle says its waterproof.

Your child should stay out of direct sun between 11am and 3pm, when the sun is at its strongest.

Your child should wear a hat with a peak or wide brim when outdoors if possible. Babies should always have an umbrella to shade their pram or buggy.

Compiled by:
The Birthmark Unit in collaboration with the Child and Family Information Group, GOSH.
Last review date:
December 2018