Pigmentation and Melasma Treatment
Pigmentation and Melasma Treatment
Many of us have endured sunburns; the acute form of Sun damage to the skin, the reality is that the effects of sun-damaged skin increase with age. Over time we note the gradual changes (chronic) in our skin caused by the accumulation of sun exposure.
The pleasing bronze skin colour that they achieved as a teenager was desirable then; but now they are dissatisfied with skin damage arising from that over exposure.
Chronic sun damage results in either a cosmetic change in the skin’s appearance called “photo-aging”, which is evidenced by brown spots and other unsightly marks, or changes that are of medical and health concern such as skin cancers and pre-cancerous lesions.
What Causes Skin Pigmentation?
Melanin gives our skin its colour, whether dark or light complexioned, we all have varying amounts of melanin in our skin. Pigmented lesions are dark in colour simply because the melanin has become abnormally localized and concentrated in one area of the skin. High concentrations of melanin arise from several causes. Some types are present at birth, but most pigmentation occurs as a result of overexposure to the sun’s damaging rays, ageing, hormonal change (Chloasma) arising from several causes including some oral contraceptives, or pregnancy (Melasma).
We are now very aware of the adverse effects of over exposure to the sun and modern sun screens and other skin care products are directed at preventing, or at least minimising, damage to our skin arising from normal exposure and from “sun-bathing”.
While protection from the sun remains the best prevention from sun spots and related sun-damage skin disorders, there are treatments available for those already suffering from “photo-aging”, although most brown spots are easily ignored, many are quite conspicuous and can detract from your skin’s natural beauty and your feelings of well-being and esteem. Pigmentation removal depends on the type, location, and cause of the pigmentation.
Solar lentigos, As the name indicates, this is a direct result of sun exposure — the skin is reacting to the UV (Ultra Violet) rays from the Sun. Many of us have endured sunburns; the acute form of Sun damage to the skin, the reality is that the effects of sun-damaged skin increase with age. Over time, we note the gradual changes (chronic) in our skin caused by the accumulation of sun exposure.
Chloasma occurs quite commonly in women taking oral contraceptive tablets. The skin pigmentations usually develop slowly but may be noticed shortly after starting oral contraception or changing the brand or dosage strength, but may also occur after many months of use.
Melasma is triggered by sunlight and the incidence increase with age. Another important contributing factor is hormonal changes. Melasma is also called “mask of pregnancy” because it appears during pregnancy or shortly after childbirth. Oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy are known to aggravate pre-existing Melasma.
This can occur from skin trauma, infection, or inflammation as well as: acne, burns, inappropriate use of skin peels, other skin products,. Some chemical and mechanical treatments intended to improve the appearance of your skin can have an adverse effect over time or when incorrectly applied. Here are some examples of Dermal and Epidermal conditions which we often treat at Dezire Clinic:
- Solar lentigos
- Cafe-au-Lait Macules
- Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation and Dyschromia.
Treatment For Pigmentation Removal
Correct analysis is important to ensure that you receive the best most appropriate therapeutic treatment. The pigment can be near the surface – which is easier to remove or deeper in the skin – which is harder to remove. At Dezire Clinic we understand the distress and embarrassment that skin pigmentation can cause, particularly the darker blemishes and especially when covering larger parts of the visible skin.
The Q-Switch Laser is the most effective resource for Treatment of Deep Skin (dermal) and Superficial (epidermal) pigmented blemishes and lesions. Dezire Clinic has the equipment, experience, training and qualifications to provide safe an effective treatment of most types of pigmented blemishes and lesions.
Dezire Clinic has chosen the Q-Switch Laser for its proven effectiveness arising from the combination of high power and nanosecond pulses that deliver peak energy throughout the layers of the epidermis faster than the normal relaxation time of the tissue. The result is a safe, effective way to control the laser energy and safely achieve desired results. Laser has been engineered to remove.
It has two wavelengths in one laser, these are 532nm and 1064nm Nd: YAG. These wavelengths add flexibility to the treatment options for the skin blemishes and lesions that the Q-Switch, as with all Laser therapy treatments, the frequency and number of treatments will depend on your skin type, the area affected and the size of that area.
Contact Dezire Clinic to arrange a free consultation to discuss a treatment plan that suits your needs.
Treatment Of Melasma /Chloasma
While Melasma /Chloasma causes no symptoms other than the cosmetic discolouration, it can be distressing since it usually presents on the face, including the upper cheek, nose, upper lip, and forehead.
Types And Causes Of Melasma
Many clients present with Melasma more often and especially women when pregnant or using contraceptives or taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Some genetic link is indicated by the more frequent presentation of Melasma among men and women of German, Russian and Asian ancestry.. Melasma is also seen to darken over time and with sun exposure making it more noticeable as we age.
For Melasma that arises from pregnancy or using contraceptives or taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT); the discoloration usually reduces over a period of several months after giving birth or cessation of the oral contraceptives or HRT. For Melasma not associated with pregnancy, contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy, a range of treatments to reduce the prominence of the discolouration are available.
Benefits Of The Q-Switched Laser For Treating Melasma
The inherent nature of Melasma does make treatment a challenge since Melasma is a mixed dermal (deep) and epidermal (superficial) form of skin pigmentation. The pigmentation develops through these layers of the skin, effective treatment of Melasma has previously been difficult to achieve. While there are several other treatments available for reducing the discolouration of Melasma, therapeutic Laser treatment is increasingly being recommended as a safe and effective therapy for Melasma.
A substantial body of opinion has developed revealing that Q-switched lasers used by Dezire Clinic are especially effective because the machine can deliver 2 classes of therapeutic laser. The ability to deliver different laser forms, appropriate for the various types of lesion is especially necessary for treating Melasma because it presents as dermal (deep) and epidermal (superficial) pigmentation. It allows the operator to select:
- A wavelength of 532nm suitable for treatment of near surface (epidermal) skin pigmentations, as well as
- A wavelength of 1064nm that is more suitable for treatment of pigmentations in the dermal (deep) layer of the skin.
At Dezire Clinic we understand the distress and embarrassment that skin blemishes such as melasma can cause. Dezire Clinic therapists have established that the Q-Switch is the most effective resource for treatment of skin blemishes such as Melasma, because of the functional ability to select and deliver the laser wavelength best suited to the depth of the discolouration.
Dezire Clinic therapists have the experience, training and qualifications to provide safe and effective treatment of all types of skin pigmentations. Contact us to arrange a free consultation to discuss a treatment plan that suits your needs. Our experience shows that 8-10 treatments weekly will ensure significant improvement and in some cases complete fading of Melasma. One maintenance treatment every 8 weeks is recommended to maintain achieved results.
What will my skin look like after the treatment ?
The surrounded skin will look slightly pink and the treated lesion may appear darker. The redness will subside within 2 – 4 hours.If your treatment required down time, slight redness may remain for a few days (3 – 5 days). It can be easily be covered with makeup. The redness will eventually subside.
Are There Any Precautions To Take During Treatment?
Melasma is a dermal condition and has a tendency to reappear especially due to the sun exposure. Meticulous use of sunscreen is a must! As with all laser treatment, you must avoid exposure to direct sunlight before treatment, during treatment and for some weeks following treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
What types of brown spots or pigmented lesions will laser remove?
The Q-Switch laser is most commonly used for removing brown age spots, freckles and many types of brown birthmarks. We will identify your specific type of lesion and discuss the removal success rate associated with it.
Is it safe?
Yes. The Q-Switch laser produces a controlled beam of light specifically intended for the aesthetic treatment of pigmented lesions and approved for that use. The laser light, although bright is not strong enough to penetrate the skin below a depth of 1mm so it cannot damage other organs. The Q-Switch laser used by DezireClinic for Skin Rejuvenation is one of the safest lasers available today.
Can Laser remove my normal skin pigment also?
The laser light was designed for its properties that selectively target dark concentrations of melanin. If after removal of the abnormal concentrations of melanin treatment continued on normal skin; some whitening could occur. However, your body’s natural regenerative processes would replace the normal melanin after a period of time, returning the skin to its natural colour.
Are there any Precautions to take during treatment?
As with all laser treatment, you must avoid exposure to direct sunlight before treatment, during treatment and for some weeks following treatment. At Dezire Clinic, our experienced qualified therapists will advise you based on your skin type and the nature of the treatments that you are receiving. Sunscreen agent with SPF > 30 must be worn daily.
Does it hurt?
The level of discomfort is different for every person depending on sensitivity; other considerations include the location and surface area to be treated. Most clients do not request any pain control during treatment and relate the discomfort as comparable to mild sunburn. Your therapist will discuss your options with you based upon your own tolerance and the body area to be treated.
Are there any possible adverse side effects?
A small percentage of persons treated may experience side effects (unwanted outcomes), these side effects are usually temporary and mild, though can be more severe and longer term. They include:
Scarring though rare and more likely with darker skin types, it can occur with all skin types and especially if the required precautions (relating to sun exposure and some medicines) are not followed, before, during and after treatment
Hyper-pigmentation (darker skin) can occur because of inflammation caused by laser treatment and a brown mark arises that usually takes some months to fade with the assistance of lightening agents;
Hypo-pigmentation (lighter skin): laser treatment can cause a loss of skin pigmentation in the treated area. This pigmentation usually returns but can take up to 18 months and in very rare cases can take so long that is considered long lasting.
How does it look afterwards?
After the treatment, the area will feel hot, similar to a sunburn, sometimes for up to several hours. Discomfort disappears over the next few hours, a scab or crust will develop over the area, and this looks darker than the original lesion. This will last between 12-18 days depending on the size and site (longer on arms and legs). When the scab comes off, the area will be pink for another couple of weeks and then will return to its final colour.
How much area can be covered in one treatment?
At least 80% of all common pigmented lesions are removed with one treatment. If a lesion covers a large area, your therapist may advise you to treat the area in several stages, to avoid unnecessary discomfort.
How long will the healing process take?
Everyone heals at various rates depending on the depth of treatment, the particular areas treated and your own health and condition. Noticeable results are typically seen in a few weeks. Some areas may take up to 12 weeks for the full treatment benefits to become apparent.
What are the possible unwanted effects of Laser treatment?
Lasers have been around for decades and are proven safe and approved for use, occasionally we see some mild unwanted effects including redness, swelling, and light bruising of the treated area. These side effects typically endure for only a few days, less frequently there may be a more noticeable change in skin pigmentation after treatment.
Increased pigmentation (Hyper-pigmentation)
This is more likely to occur in those individuals with darker skin. It may also occur if you expose your skin to the sun and solariums within three months after treatment. Whenever you go outdoors in the first three months after laser therapy, you must always wear effective sunscreen protection on the treated area for example an SPF 30 sunscreen plus a good physical barrier such as a foundation or zinc cream.
Decreased pigmentation (Hypo-pigmentation)
A small number of patients develop a lighter skin colour in the treated area. Skin colour usually returns to normal within 18 months.
Can the excess pigmentation come back?
Common pigmented lesions do not return. Some lesions may return after a period of several months to a year. However, the procedure can be repeated with similar results. The conditions that we treat vary in extent and severity from client to client. Consequently, each client response to any treatment does vary, and we are unable to guarantee individual results. Unprotected sun exposure on the area will most definitely stimulate the Melanocytes and the treated lesion/s will return. New pigmentations can also arise, and be successfully treated.
What type of post-treatment care is necessary?
A shower can be taken the next day, but avoid scrubbing the treated area. Since most common pigmented lesions are caused by exposure to ultraviolet sunrays, it is imperative that you always wear sunscreen. Failure to wear a protective sunscreen will allow further sun damage to occur and result in new pigmented lesions.