Pigmentation Removal – Lasers, IPL, ND YAG
Pigmentation is the unwanted consequence of internal physical factors or other external factors like hormonal changes, sun exposure, skin type, trauma, and the skins natural aging process. The epidermal or superficial pigmentation usually affects the people with lighter skin tones. Skin pigmentation like sun spots, age spots, freckles is usually caused by sun damage. Dermal pigmentation or deeper pigmentation can be caused by trauma, side effects of medicines and other hormonal factors. Pigmented acne scarring, birthmarks, melasma are examples of dermal pigmentation.
However, pigmentation is not just restricted to the facial area. It is also found on the shoulders, neck, backs of the hands and the bikini area. Pigmentation can affect all skin colors, types and conditions. some forms of pigmentation may get aggressed by sun exposure.
Pigmentation Treatment Solution
There are a number of procedures that can assist in the reduction of various types of pigmentation. The options include-
Laser treatment- Laser pigmentation removal is a great way out of the trouble. It is such a method that uses laser light, which absorbs the pigment in freckles or age spots, without harming the surrounding tissue. The results may, however, vary from person to person. The number of treatment sessions required may also vary depending on the intensity of the pigmentation. Commonly most of the patients require 2 to 3 treatment sessions to clear most of the pigmentation. Some patients often report a slight stinging sensation during the laser pigmentation removal procedure. Some redness may still persist immediately after following the treatment, but that usually settles down within 2-4 hours.
- Recovery- The laser treatment for pigmentation can last for 30 to 45 minutes, though larger areas may take longer. Patients may feel some discomfort at the site of the treatment but the procedure is not painful. For the first 24 hours after undergoing the treatment, the skin may appear red and swollen up. The use of fragranced makeup, skin products or excessive exposure of the skin must be avoided for few weeks. Sunscreen with SPF30 or more must be used when going outdoors.
ND YAG- The q-Switch ND YAG, is a laser treatment that emits high energy light towards the affected area that helps to reduce the number of unwanted skin cells. This allows the skin to initiate the growth of new cells to replace the old ones. When the q switch mode is on, the laser produces two wavelengths out of which one addresses the target area and the other addresses the skin lesions. This laser can penetrate deep into the layers of skin without injuring the top layer of the skin and also stimulates the growth of collagen and other vital proteins which is important to achieve a healthy skin. However, it is a painless and swift treatment procedure that is suitable for all types of skin.
IPL- IPL or Intense Pulsed Light is also an extremely effective treatment for many types of pigmentation. It is a completely non-invasive treatment that uses light to absorb melanin (the dark pigment) and hemoglobin (the red blood vessels). This light gets converted into heat which damages the target cells without disrupting the skin surface. However, at the end of the treatment, the pigmented areas usually go darker and sometimes totally black which diminishes within 7 to 28 days depending on the area of treatment. The IPL treatment is most suitable for fair to olive skin tones. Dark to very dark skin tones is not suitable for the treatment.
- Procedure- Before beginning the procedure, the skin of the patients are cleansed and a cold gel is applied to the skin to help improve the conductivity. A cold air supply may be arranged directly on the face to keep the skin cool during the treatment. The therapist then applies the beam of light to the skin and then exposes the pigmented area to the strong light. At the end of the treatment, the skin is usually cleansed and protected with a UV protection cream.
- Recovery- immediately after undergoing the IPL procedure the skin may show up with some redness though makeup can be used to camouflage the effect. However, after few days the targeted area of treatment may appear red or brown that diminishes over few days. After that, the clear and bright skin will be visible. Patients are warned about the continued exposure of the skin to the sun or other harsh factors that may be a factor to develop skin pigmentation over time.
It is a non-surgical treatment that involves using very fine needle to inject the medicine into the middle layer of the skin. Vitamins, enzymes, glutathione, platelet-rich plasma are few products that are used to treat pigmentation. This procedure also helps in rejuvenating the skin, rebuilding collagen fibers.
Based on the type of pigmentation and the severity, superficial to deep peels are used to treat the condition. Usually, it takes 6-8 sessions 15 days apart to get good results.
Sup Light Peels: These are alpha hydroxy acid peel. They penetrate up to superficial layer i.e. stratum corneum. They are used to improve the appearance of mild skin, discoloration and to treat acne.
Medium Depth Peels: This medium depth peels penetrate deep into the epidermis and goes up to the basal layer. This treatment is used to improve age spots, sun damage, and moderate skin discoloration.
Peels used: Glycolic, pyruvic acid, modified jessner, no melon fend.
Deep Peels: This peel penetrates up to the dermis. They are used for deep skin rejuvenation and exfoliation for resistant stubborn pigmentation.
TCA – 30-50%
Glycolic – 70%
It is a minimal abrasive treatment. It helps in gently exfoliating the top damaged sun-tanned skin.
It helps in improving:
- Age Spots
- Reducing fine lines and wrinkles
- Eliminating large pores
- To improve hyperpigmentation
Factional CO2 lasers is used for non-surgical skin rejuvenation treatment to improve texture, wrinkles, and blotchiness.