What to Do with Bruised Skin After Pulse Dye Laser?

I just had Pulse Dye Laser to remove some spider veins on my chin and around my nose. I have considerable bruising; it has gone from bright purple to a red-purple. I leave for a ski vacation and was wondering what I need to do to protect my skin. I have been applying polysporin. What else could I be doing and how long will the bruising last? My girls are embarrassed to be seen with me!

Doctor Answers 5

Ice, lycogel and make up with a SPF

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Ice should have been done early on, but make up such as Lycogel can help conceal the bruising and discolouration. 

The MOST important thing is to photo protect especially if you are going for a ski vacation as this can give you considerable sun exposure and skin darkening. 

Rest assured, this will all settle within a week. 


Dr Davin Lim 
Laser Dermatologist

Pulsed dye laser aftercare

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After pulsed dye laser, the skin will appear dark purple.  It is important to keep is very moist.  I suggest Bacitracin application about four times per day.  The purple skin is also very sensitive to sunlight and exposure to sunlight can cause the skin to significantly darken and delay healing and the final result.  I suggest using both a barrier (sunhat) and Zinc based sunblocking cream.  Once the skin has returned to baseline, the sun can be more easily tolerated.  This takes about  2 to 4 weeks after treatment. 

John L. Burns Jr., MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Pulsed dye laser bruising treatment.

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Unless the skin has open blisters, you need not apply any kind of antibiotic ointment for bruising. Do not use Neosporin or Mycitracin (they both contain neomycin) as these antibiotic ointments can cause an allergic or hypersensitivity reaction with repeated application in as many as 10% of users!

The bruises will resolve on their own, can be covered by camouflage makeup if desired, and may go away quicker with oral and topical arnica montana, which are homeopathic remedies which I have found to be helpful. (I use arnica for my facelift and eyelid lift patients!) Your color changes indicate the bruising is already reabsorbing.

You should not frostbite your treated skin; protect the treated areas with a scarf or face mask, and do not sunburn the area either.

Like a black eye, the bruising is usually gone by 1-3 weeks, 2 weeks being the "average." Everyone is different. It's just that the bruising from pulsed dye laser can be so dramatic in appearance; I understand what your girls think! Safe skiing!

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 reviews

Brusing after laser treatment

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The pulsed dye laser is the best laser to treat broken blood vessels on the face. Depending on the size of the vessels, there may be some brusing after the treatment. Vessels that are located on the nostrils or that are larger than about 0.5 mm are a little more resistant to treatment. In these cases the energy needs to be turned up and there can be some brusing. For smaller, finer vessels, however, there is rarely any brusing after pulsed dye laser treatment.

The bruising should get lighter every day and should be clear within 10-14 days. As long as there is no break in the skin you can apply cover-up to conceal the bruise. Many of my patients have also found that applying a thin layer of arnica cream 3 times per day and gently massaging it into the skin helps speed up the recovery time. Polysporin is an antibiotic and will not help clear up the bruise. Polysporin is helpful to use whenever you have a break in the skin or an open wound and want to prevent infection.

Jordana S. Gilman, MD
Washington Dermatologic Surgeon

Bruising after pulse dye laser

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Bruising after pulse dye laser can be treated with Arnica ointment or pills.  I prefer Bruise-Stick medicated ointment for bruising. 

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.