Skin pigmentation treatment- know your pigmentation type
The most important aspect for safe and effective pigment removal is identifying the type of pigmentation you have, and matching an appropriate treatment for your specific problem. I utilize over 8 pigment lasers and over half a dozen types of chemical peels to treat all forms of skin pigmentation from hormonal pigmentation, dark circles, freckles, and age spots. Matching the correct treatment to the TYPE of pigmentation will give the best results.
1) Age spots and brown pigmentation
With India’s high UV index, premature aging is common. Age spots, brown pigmentation, warts and wrinkling are all signs of age and sun damage. Lasers and various types of peeling agents can treat brown pigmentation, age spots and wrinkles. What type of treatment I use will depend on the depth and type of pigmentation, as well as other associated features such as wrinkles and skin texture. Your skin type will also play a major role in what type of treatment I perform.
Facts on treating pigmentation and age spots
Premature ageing can present as brown spots and dots, as well as warts and lumps
Superficial pigmentation can be treated with Tribeam laser
Using my own High-Density protocols, one treatment of Tribeam laser can improve pigmentation by as much as 90%
CO2 lasers can also treat deep pigmentation but also address skin texture and most importantly deep wrinkles
Chemical peels and creams can help with mild pigmentation
Melasma is a special form of brown pigmentation and is treated differently to age and sun related brown spots
After laser, adhering to a pigmentation prevention program is vital to achieve long lasting results
What causes spots and brown pigmentation?
Brown spots and skin pigmentation can be due to a variety of causes, and a diagnosis is absolutely essential before treatment. If diagnosed incorrectly, pigmentation can actually WORSEN with treatment. A classic example is melasma- skin pigmentation that is caused by excessive overproduction of melanin (brow pigment) by skin cells. This condition should be treated with creams and peels before laser.
Other causes of pigmentation include sun exposure (actinic pigmentation), freckles, and skin ageing.
Rarely, skin cancers on the face can mimic age spots, and hence a diagnosis is essential before treatment.
What treatments are there to remove age spots and pigmentation?
Age Spots Treatment
Most of my treatments are laser and light based procedures. This gives the greatest improvements in skin pigmentation and age spots. The ideal treatment will depend on your diagnosis. Very mild skin pigmentation and brown spots can respond to creams, conversely long standing pigmentation will only improve with lasers.
The 3 methods to improve skin pigmentation include-
- Creams– these are prescribed to help maintain your skin after laser treatment for pigmentation. They can also be helpful in reducing pigment due to melasma, and very mild forms of sun damage. Sunscreen forms the basis of your daily skin care regime.
- Chemical peels– can be used for mild pigmentation and freckles. I have replaced high strength TCA peels with Laser as laser treatment is less painful and gives a better result.
- Lasers – this is the mainstay of removing age spots, sun spots and pigmentation. Depending on the depth of pigmentation, I use a particular laser.
What is the advantage of laser over chemical peels for treating pigmentation?
Lasers are associated with quicker healing times and are more accurate compared to TCA chemical peels. Do I still perform TCA peels? Yes, however only on request by patients who have had them done before.
Lasers such as TRIBEAM and CO2 deliver precise energy levels with predicable depths. The result is better and more even clearance of age spots, and brown pigmentation with less side effects and quicker recovery times.
Mild chemical peels such as AHA/ Glycolic Acid, lactic acid and VITA peels are great for melasma, and very mild cases of skin pigmentation due to sun damage.
Can creams help decrease my pigmentation?
Age Spots Treatment
Some types of pigmentation can be improved with creams. Dark pigmentation such as melasma is a classical example where we use creams and gentle peels instead of laser to treat this condition. Mild freckles and very early sun induced pigmentation can be improved with a mixture of prescriptions.
In most cases of pigmentation, lasers are needed to markedly improve your skin texture.
How long is the recovery time following laser treatment for brown spots?
Recovery depends on the diagnosis of age spots and brown pigmentation.
Brown pigmentation can either be superficial or deep. Deep pigmentation present for a long time will be associated with longer ‘down times’.
As a guide-
Sun damage treatments, freckles, and flat brown spots- 5-7 day skin recovery.
Marked sun damage, wrinkles, warts, raised brown pigmentation- 9-10 day skin recovery.
In the majority of cases, the Tribeam laser can improve superficial pigmentation with the least amount of downtime. If your skin pigmentation is raised, example age warts, then recovery is longer as I use an ablative laser such as CO2. All pigment treatments are tailored according to the type of pigmentation that you have.
Are laser treatments painful?
I ensure patient comfort levels by using a very strong local numbing cream prior to the laser.
Why is melasma different for age spots and pigmentation?
Melasma is a very special form of pigmentation. This condition is due to genetics, hormones, and sun exposure. Why is this different from other types of skin pigmentation? It is because melasma is often made worse with IPL, and high energy lasers.
The cause of melasma is excessive pigmentation by overactive pigment-producing cells. Treating this condition with IPL or certain types of lasers can accelerate the production of melanin- making pigmentation worse. Melasma is best treated with creams, and gentle lasers such as Q switch low power laser.
Melasma treatment can be effective in the majority of patients. This type of skin pigmentation is commonly seen in Indians due to its high UV rating. It is a unique form of hormonal pigmentation that is mostly seen in women. Melasma can be improved by up to 80% with a combination of prescription creams, gentle chemical peels, and special lasers.
What is the cost of age spots treatment and pigmentation?
The cost will depend on what treatment is required to address pigmentation and age spots. I will always tailor a pigment treatment program based upon your skin type, and the type of skin pigmentation that YOU have.