Cosmetic procedures such as laser skin resurfacing are becoming more popular these days as people look for ways to turn back the hands of time. One of the side effects of this type of procedure or any type of surgical procedure is bruising. Unfortunately, bruises can go through a variety of vivid color changes that are quite visible, and they can take up to 2 weeks to completely heal. Bruising that happens after procedures involving the face usually require downtime since most people don’t want the world to see them with a bruised-up face.
What Causes It?
Bruising after a procedure occurs when small capillaries are damaged, causing blood to leak out into the tissues underneath the skin. Almost any type of surgical procedure leads to bruising since tissue is manipulated using instruments, which causes capillaries to leak. Some people bruise more easily than others, and they tend to be more visible on people with lighter skin tones. Bruising is more prominent in areas that have a lot of blood vessels, and they’re more common in females due to their greater amount of subcutaneous fat.
Bruising is usually worse in people taking certain medications that interfere with platelet function or clotting factors. Platelets and clotting factors are important for stopping bleeding when the surface of the skin is injured. Some medications that interfere with this include aspirin, anti-inflammatory medications and supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids or fish oil capsules and vitamin E. Some vitamin deficiencies can make bruising worse, especially deficiency of vitamin K.
You can’t completely prevent bruising after a procedure, but you can reduce the severity by stopping medications that interfere with blood clotting and discontinuing vitamin E and fish oil capsules prior to a procedure. Eating a healthy diet that contains vitamin K prior to surgery or laser treatment may also help. Vitamin K is abundant in green, leafy vegetables and broccoli.
There are steps you can take after a procedure to reduce the amount of bruising. After a cosmetic procedure or surgery, most surgeons recommend ice packs to reduce swelling and bruising. Keeping the area elevated also helps to reduce swelling and bruising.
One treatment that may help is vitamin K cream. A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study carried out on 22 volunteers and published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology showed that vitamin K cream reduced bruising when the volunteers applied it after a laser procedure, although it wasn’t effective when they put it on it before the procedure. Some plastic surgeons now recommend this treatment to patients after a laser treatment.
Another natural treatment for bruising is an herb called arnica. Arnica is a mountain herb that has been used for the homeopathic treatment of a variety of conditions for centuries. No one knows exactly how it works, but it appears to have an anti-inflammatory effect. In a study published in the Archives of Facial Surgery, researchers discovered that arnica reduced bruising and swelling better than a placebo after facelift surgery. There are creams available that contain this herb alone and in combination with vitamin K for synergistic bruise-fighting power.
There are also camouflage cosmetics available that help to disguise discolorations and bruising. It’s a good idea to have these on hand before a procedure or laser treatment.
The Bottom Line?
Post-procedure bruising is a distressing problem for many people, especially when they’re in a visible area such as the face. Topical treatments containing arnica and vitamin K may reduce the amount of bruising, but it’s still a good idea to keep ice and camouflage cosmetics on hand until healing is complete.