Can Laser Reduce Pigmentation? OK, let’s talk pigmentation!
Our skin cells contain a pigment called Melanin which is produced by cells in our body called melanocytes. Melanin is responsible for our skin colour. The darker your skin tone, the more melanin you have. Actually, melanin plays an important role in protecting the skin. You see, when some people are exposed to the sun, they tan, however some don’t, they just burn!
Why is that? The amount of melanin you have in your skin determines this. As melanin production increases, our skin will begin to tan and darken.
When you tan, it’s your skin’s emergency response to help filter out UV damage occurring by absorbing UV light.
The melanin is a great absorber of light, so for it to effectively absorb the light, it produces dark pigments to capture the UV light preventing UV damage from penetrating further into your skin. It sounds amazing, right? Well, Yes and……..No!
Yes, great protection, thank you melanin. But unfortunately, the overproduction of melanin can be dispersed unevenly on your skin. This can show in forms of dark pigment spots or patches on your skin; from face to hands and chest. And that’s what can cause our skin to look more aged and unevenly toned.
It’s important to note, not all skin pigmentations are created equal – There are different types of pigmentation problems, not all are from the sun. I know what you are thinking, but a pigment is a pigment! Visually, Yes. But it’s important to determine the possible cause to ensure the right treatment is prescribed.
The different types of skin pigmentations are:
- Liver Spots or Age Spots are also known as Solar Lentigo are flat tan spots usually found on the hands, face, back and shoulders. It is mainly due to an ageing of the skin and is more prominent in people who are regularly exposed to the sun. These spots are characterised by uneven patches of light brown to black skin pigmentation.
- Melasma is most prevalent in women and believed to be caused by overproduction of melanin triggered by oestrogen and progesterone hormones. Being prescribed the contraceptive pill, hormone replacement therapy or being pregnant combined with sun exposure can cause melasma. This is also known as “pregnancy mask”. Melasma will develop gradually and is most commonly found on the cheek, nose, lips, and forehead.
- Post-inflammatory pigmentation is caused by an overproduction of melanin due to an inflammatory response to skin trauma. Common causes of skin trauma are acne, dermatitis, infection, skin injury, allergic reactions, certain medications, diseases or surgical scarring.
- Genetic Conditions. Birthmarks can be characterised as two distinct types, Pigmented birthmarks (blue to dark brown) or Vascular (red) birthmarks.
On the flip side of this, you can also have an under production of Melanin contributing to irregular skin pigmentation.
At Brunswick Health, we are serious about pigmentation treatment – Zapping pigmentations randomly with lasers without a proper examination to determine the cause, is just not on!! It may even result in making the pigmentation darker if the wrong frequency is applied. Something, unfortunately, we have seen all too often mostly because unqualified staff with a “one treatment fits all mentality” are employed.
The treatment of uneven skin pigmentation will depend on a host of factors including the type of pigmentation, cause of the pigmentation, and the layer of skin in which the pigmentation occurs. Most hormonal pigments will not work with laser treatments. Hormonal pigments are best broken down by using skin needling, whereas, sun spot damage can be treated effectively with laser light. At Brunswick Health, our dermal clinician Niydalh has extensive experience in both Skin Needling and Laser therapy so he will make the right choice to get the best results for your pigmentations. We use the world renowned technology, Dermapen for skin needling and the Palomar technology for our laser treatments for pigmentation.
In some cases, a combination of both treatments is required to get the desired outcome. During your initial consultation and examination, Niydalh will discuss your pigmentation concerns and recommend possible treatments to give you the best outcomes. Some pigmentation problems may need to be looked at by a dermatologist, now that’s something other clinics won’t tell you! They will just zap and hope for the best. If it’s a dermatologist you need, we will refer you to the best in the industry.
For the best advice and treatments to help you achieve younger, more beautiful looking skin, call us on 9380 8099 or click on the link below for an online appointment request.
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