Laser treatment for pigmentation

 

Beauty is about being comfortable in one’s own skin. A lot has been said about flawless skin. The truth is, it is not hard to have a pigment free skin!

IMG-20150313-WA0007

Skin pigmentation is a widespread problem in Singapore regardless of age and sex, and is especially a beauty concern among women. To make things worse, they usually appear on the face. Age spots, freckles, melasma and various birth marks are commonly referred to as pigmentation. Pigmentation can have a hefty impact on the way others see us – and the way we see ourselves. A person’s face, after all, is perhaps the very first thing you notice about her/him, since skin is our largest and most visible organ.

With advanced technology these days, we can easily get rid of skin pigmentation. What I am talking about here is laser treatment for pigmentation. Before the development of laser-specific lasers, most pigmented lesions could be treated only with surgical excision, often leading to unsightly scar formation. Modern lasers can now treat pigmented lesions without causing damage to the skin.

Melanin is what gives our skin its colour. Pigmented lesions are dark in colour simply because melanin is abnormally concentrated in one area of the skin.

What is a laser?

It is a device that produces an intense beam of coherent light. It comes with different wavelengths to target different tissues or molecules. It can be used to treat and improve skin conditions. It is also used in surgeries for cutting purposes.

There are many types of lasers in the market catered for different uses. The most commonly used laser for skin pigmentation is a Q-switch Nd:Yag laser.

A Q-switch Nd:Yag laser typically looks like this.

Cost JET TR

How does it work?

As mentioned, melanin is responsible for skin pigmentation. Laser machine delivers an intense beam of light that targets melanin. This light is then absorbed and converted into heat, which either disperses the group of melanin cells, or destroy the skin cells carrying the melanin molecules.

What do I need to know before undergoing laser treatment?

You need to consult a doctor. A doctor needs to assess your pigmented lesions to recommend the best treatment regimen for you, to answer any questions that you may have, and to give you post treatment care advice.

Inform your doctor if you are on any medication.

It is best to avoid sun exposure and excessive facial products or makeups 1 week before the laser treatment.

Laser treatment should be avoided if you are pregnant. Do tell your doctor if you are pregnant!

 

Is it painful?

It is not painful, but it can be uncomfortable for some people. The impact of the laser feels like a snap of a rubber band. A numbing cream is usually applied on your face before the treatment to minimise discomfort. Treatment duration varies from 5 minutes to 1 hour depending on your skin condition. After a laser treatment, the area will feel similar to that of a sun burn.  Any discomfort will typically disappear within a day or two.

What results do I expect?

Most pigmented lesions require more than 1 sessions of laser treatment. Freckles and age spots usually resolves satisfactorily with 1-2 sessions. However, pigmented birthmarks such as café-au-lait spots and Becker’s nevus will require multiple sessions. Follow-up reviews are usually scheduled at intervals of 6 to 8 weeks. Your doctor will suggest the best treatment regimen for you.

What happens after the treatment?

Some swelling, redness, bruising or crusting can occur but all these should resolve within 1 to 2 weeks. Do not scratch or pick on the treated area. You should avoid sun exposure or direct heat contact. You should also avoid abrasive skin care products such as scrubs. You will be prescribed a gentle skin cleanser or antibacterial ointment for the treated area.

Be generous with sun screen! It is absolutely necessary because sun exposure can darken the treated area during healing and also cause new pigmented lesions.

Any side effects?

Laser treatment for pigmentation is generally safe with minimal complications such as:

1) Skin darkening

Darkening of the skin can occur in treated areas and is more common in people with dark skin tones. Exposure of the treated area to sun can worsen it. Fortunately, it usually resolves within 4 to 6 months.

2) Skin lightening

Light spots can appear in treated areas after several treatment. However, these areas usually darken or re-pigment after 4 to 6 months. In rare cases, it can be permanent.

3) Infection

This is rare. You should follow all post treatment care instruction to avoid this from happening. Inform your doctor immediately if it happens.

Are lasers always very effective for pigmentation?

This really depends on the cause of the pigmentation. Some lesions such as dark-coloured birth marks may not disappear completely. Some may recur after multiple sessions of treatment. Therefore, it is important to get a proper assessment and advice before initiation of treatment.

Any reason why I cannot have a laser treatment?

Hypopigmentation (lightening of skin) cannot be treated with laser.

If you have photo allergy (skin sensitivity to light), you cannot have a laser treatment because it will trigger a serious reaction on your skin.

You cannot have a laser treatment if you are pregnant.

It is important to get a correct diagnosis before deciding on the best treatment option. If you wish to get your skin pigmentation treated with laser, please consult a doctor to get a proper assessment.

Dr Sii Sik Liong is a very experienced doctor in clinical and aesthetic Dermatology, and has practised in different hospitals in Singapore and the UK for many years.

Email: doctor@drtanandpartners.com

Visit us at:

Dr. Tan & Partners @ Scotts (GP, Skin and Aesthetics Center)


View Larger Map

Address 
Scotts Medical Center
#06-06
9 Scotts Road, Pacific Plaza
Singapore 228210

Telephone: 
+65 66942348

Opening Time: 
Mon, Wed and Fri
8am-9pm

Tue and Thurs
8am – 5pm
Sat 8am-1pm

Sun and PH closed


RELATED ARTICLES:

Nose fillers

Dermal fillers

Skin cancers

Botox

Acne

Feel free to email your queries, feedback and suggestions on what other topics you want to see in the comments section below.


www.womens-health.sg

Women’s Health Forum

Hey Gal friends! Our lady doctors have launched a health forum specially for women only!

If you have health tips or you need health advices, join us.

For Women. From Women

Join in the discussion!

5 Comments

  1. Hi, i burnt my leg(7cm wide) around early this year, it healed with polyclinic cream silvadane(?) But left a 2cm wide brown discoloration with pink skin in the middle. I went back and got recommended for hiruscar, used it for 2 months and blisters started showing up, soon enough the area that i used the cream on became inflammed, and now slightly red/more brown. What can be done for this?

    • It is about back to a 7cm wide patch now since i just anyhow rubbed the cream here and there. Im scared of side effects of lasers/peeling

    • It is best to come in to let us assess it visually so we can recommend the best treatment option for you. Laser treatment may be a good treatment option. Peeling may not work. Although very safe, not all discolouration can be treated with laser.

Leave a Comment