Pigmentation of the skin is a very common problem particularly on areas exposed to the sun. Excess pigment can give a much more aged appearance to the skin than wrinkles and lines. Medical Lasers can be a very effective treatment option in removing unwanted pigment.
Lasers are a second line treatment for pigmentation and should only be considered after simple cheaper topical treatments have been tried first. The many years of experience we have had in treating pigmentation, have made us aware of when is the best time to consider the use of lasers to reduce and remove unwanted pigmentation.
We know that there is no one ‘best pigment laser’ that suits everyone with every pigment problem. As a long established clinic with a range of Pigment Laser options, we can choose the most appropriate laser to get the best result, and this is the key determinant of successful laser treatment of pigment.
Pigment is due to melanin in the skin. Pigment lasers target excess melanin and aim to shatter the pigment into smaller particles which the body’s natural scavenger system can then remove.
The lasers we have at Collins Cosmetic Clinic that we can use to treat pigment include the:
It is important to weigh up a number of factors in selecting the best laser option to treat pigment. These include the cause of the pigment (sun damage or hormonal), pattern of distribution (localised or generalised), skin type (particularly if Asian or dark skin types), darkness of the pigment and depth of the pigment below the surface of the skin (superficial, deep or a mixture).
Pigment lasers can remove excess pigment quickly and safely resulting in significant improvement in the appearance of your skin.
It actually can vary significantly depending on the many variables of type and extent of pigmentation, the type of laser used and the level of improvement required. This will discussed fully before any treatment proceeds but can vary from $350 for spot treatments with a DIODE laser to $880 for widespread pigmentation with a FRAXEL laser.
With sun damage it may require 2-3 treatments and for hormonal pigmentation it can be 4-6 treatments to get significant improvements.
A series of treatments are needed with hormonal pigmentation, especially if Asian or very sensitive skin, as being too aggressive with laser treatment can actually worsen the condition.
With laser treatment we are trying to control the condition causing the pigmentation. With sun damage much of the damage is from years before and further pigment will still usually come out in the future whether you have laser treatment or not. Laser treatment will get it under control and greatly improve the appearance and by using sunscreen and avoiding direct sun it will slow the rate of more pigment developing.
With hormonal pigmentation (Melasma) we do not cure the condition with laser treatment we just improve the appearance of the skin. Whatever treatment you have for Melasma, and even if you get complete clearance of pigment, if you get excess sun on the area again in the future it will darken and sometimes can come back even stronger (what we call Rebound Melasma). This is why laser is only part of any program to treat Melasma and why daily sunscreen and sun avoidance are key components of any treatment strategy for long term results.
A special prescription cream may be necessary before any laser treatment. Skin preparation is particularly important when treating hormonal pigmentation (Melasma). Without proper preparation there is a potential risk of laser treatment of your hormonal pigmentation actually making the pigmentation worse, what is called PIH (Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation).
Sun exposure also needs to be avoided before laser treatment of pigmentation and if there is any tan, laser treatment may need to be deferred.
Immediately after laser treatment of pigmentation a cold pack and a special soothing cream are applied.
Pigment areas typically darken in the short term after laser treatment and look worse for a variable period but typically last for 1-2 weeks on the face and can be longer on the limbs. Often the treated areas can be slightly raised like a cat scratch and it is very important that trauma is avoided. The use of a topical cream such as Centella, Vitamin E or Aloe Vera applied twice a day until the skin has cleared is recommended.
Before and after images are presented purely as a reference point of the results that can be achieved. Everyone is unique and outcomes will vary and realistic expectations need to be discussed on a case by case basis.
Got questions? Or ready to book in? Contact our experienced and friendly team to start your journey to healthy skin with us.