What is Skin Pigmentation?
Skin pigmentation is uneven skin tone on your body which can occur due to various reasons such as UVA rays which penetrate and affect your skin and cause ageing or hormonal changes. The pigmentation can range from freckles on your skin to significant brown patches which appear on your face, hands, shoulders or other areas of your body.
Common types of skin pigmentation include:
Freckles - Freckles are developed after repeated exposure of skin to sunlight, especially if you have a fair complexion. The pigmentation is visually darker in summer and fades away in winter.
Solar lentigines - This pigmentation is also famously known as liver spots or sun spots by many. This type of pigmentation is caused by UV sun exposure and can occur anywhere on the body. Lentigines can be light brown to black in color. This pigmentation should always be monitored as it can develop into skin cancer or melanoma.
Melasma - This kind of pigmentation is more rooted in the skin’s dermis. Individuals with this pigmentation have large brown patches with a non-distinct border on the face. The cause for this pigmentation is unknown. However, it seems to be stimulated by a hormonal increase and is often prominent in women.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation - Acne, burns, and friction can be the cause of this type of pigmentation. This type of pigmentation often resolves with time and topical treatments.
Benefits of skin pigmentation treatment
Skin pigmentation treatments are non-invasive laser treatments. They are incredibly successful in removing freckles and melasma. Additional benefits include:
- Correcting changes in the skin due to aging
- Even skin tone regardless of skin type
- Correcting changes in the skin which occur due to exposure to the UV sun including solar lentigos
- Stimulate the production of collagen in the body which helps restore the youthful appearance of the skin
Following a treatment for skin pigmentation, the patient will go home with smooth and vibrant skin. The patient will observe a substantial change in the skin texture.
What types of pigmentation respond well to skin pigmentation treatment?
At Aesthetix, the laser treatment for skin pigmentation corrects many pigmentation types. These include freckles, acne, solar lentigines, melasma, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Through the use of our microlaser peel, patients receive a smooth and youthful skin which lasts for a long time.
Is skin pigmentation treatment safe?
This non-invasive treatment does not require you to go through surgical procedures. With a qualified cosmetic surgeon, skin pigmentation treatments are safe and effective. The recovery time for this treatment is minimal.
However, patients should always keep in mind that any procedure comes with some side effects. Side effects of the laser treatment for skin pigmentation include abnormal healing, changes in skin color or infection. Existing conditions in patients such as cold sores, acne, and other skin disorders may increase the chances of side effects.
However, to minimise risks, this should be discussed with our cosmetic surgeon, Dr Russell Hills, before the treatment begins.
How is skin pigmentation reduction performed?
At Aesthetix, there are multiple types of pigment reduction treatments performed.
Microdermabrasion treatment can help with acne and freckles. This treatment uses a machine which purifies the skin by extracting dead skin with the help of crystals. Microdermabrasion only retrieves 10-15 micros of your skin.
However, a microlaser peel is a full epidermal peel. It extracts 20-60 microns from your skin. This procedure goes deeper into the skin’s epidermis, leaving you with smoother skin.
The Excel V laser can also be used to treat freckles and lentigines as well as diffuse pigmentation
Melasma can now be treated with the Picosure laser using the Focus Lens Array which requires multiple treatments and can result in significant lightening of the pigmentation.
Chemical peeling is also used to treat uneven pigmentation and melasma and can be performed as an in room procedure or as a day surgery procedure depending on the depth of peeling.
Other non-laser treatments include topical treatments such as creams which can be used in combination with the above treatments and strict sun protection needs to be observed with all of the treatments.. However topical treatment is generally not long lasting, and you may notice pigmentation resurfacing after a few days.
What can be expected after the skin pigmentation treatment?
With microdermabrasion, you can go back to your regular activities after an initial 24 hours following treatment. Some pink or reddish skin may be visible. However, this should resolve within 24-48 hours of the procedure.
Because a microlaser peel treats the deeper layer of the skin, it takes approximately 2-4 days for a patient to recover. The affected area may look like a sunburn with minor sloughing and itchiness.
Recovery after the Excel V laser can take from 2 to 7 days and the Picosure laser is usually less.
Chemical peels can cause some redness and peeling of the skin which can last for a few days to a week.
How long will the improvement last?
After the completion of the treatment, the pigmentation generally does not come back. Common pigmentation like lentigo and freckles have less chance of returning. However, some lesions may return after a period of several months to a year.
Unprotected sun exposure can most definitely stimulate the return of pigmentation. However, further treatment can take care of this problem. Each person responds differently to the procedure. Therefore it is essential to create a plan which suits your individual needs in consultation with your cosmetic surgeon.
How to prepare for the skin pigmentation treatment
It is essential to avoid exposure to direct sunlight before treatment, during treatment, and weeks following the procedure. Every skin type and their needs are different. Therefore, based on your skin’s condition, your doctor will advise you of the precautions you must take.
Before the treatment, we advise that you clean your skin by showering and do not apply any lotion or oils to the treatment area unless advised by the doctor. If the treatment area has excessive hair, we advise you to shave before the procedure.
Most importantly, be sure to inform your doctor of any medications you may be taking before treatment.