Do you ever wish you could retain the skin you had when you were still a baby? Flawless, poreless, pristine skin - these are the characteristics we wish to see whenever we face the mirror. Sadly, as we age our skin undergoes wear and tear. Our face usually gets the first signs of symptoms of skin ageing.
Pigmentation is just one of the many signs of skin ageing. What is it about and how do lasers help treat it? Read on.
What is skin pigmentation?
Skin pigmentation is a condition that occurs when the body produces melanin excessively in one part of the skin.
What does skin pigmentation look like?
Skin pigmentation occurs in different shapes, colour, and sizes. It makes the skin colour look uneven and may appear as small marks to large patches on the parts of the body that are sun-exposed.
What are the causes of skin pigmentation?
Skin pigmentation can be caused by extreme exposure to the sun without proper protection, diseases affecting the skin, and injuries that cause skin inflammation.
What are the types of skin pigmentation?
There are several types of skin pigmentation. These are:
- Freckles - This condition is characterised by small brown spots that are commonly spread out on the areas of the face or body that are always exposed to the sun.
- Melasma - This condition occurs on the face and is characterised by brown coloured patches that are symmetrical. Women are highly at risk of developing this type of skin pigmentation, as well as individuals with darker skin tone. This skin pigmentation is harder to remove. Causes of melasma include hormonal imbalances, pregnancy, and exposure to the sun without proper protection.
- Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation - This condition is a result of an inflammation, infection, or injury to the skin. This is common for people suffering from skin diseases, such as acne and eczema.
- Solar Lentigos - Commonly known as age or sun spots, this condition has more distinct outlines and are wider in diameter as compared to freckles. The face, arms, and hands are the areas where solar lentigos usually appear.
What laser treatments are used to remove skin pigmentation?
What is a Q-switched laser?
A Q-switched Nd:YAG laser is a device that generates energy-charged laser beams to penetrate through the skin in nanoseconds. These light beams target and break down the excess pigmentation into tiny particles that are then naturally absorbed and eliminated by the body.
What is a Pico laser?
Picosecond laser is a second-generation technology that was developed from the Q-switched laser. As compared to nanosecond lasers (Q-switched), Pico lasers are able to release light beams at a faster rate—think one trillionth of a second! Pico lasers emit short pulsed light beams into the skin quicker than earlier laser designs. This characteristic is crucial as it lessens the damage done on the surrounding layers of the skin. Lasers that were developed prior to Pico lasers placed a high risk in causing hyperpigmentation to the skin surrounding the treatment area as the laser beams took a bit of time to be released.
Picosecond lasers effectively eliminate pigmentation by destroying it into a powder-like matter that gets absorbed by the body and released as waste by the immune system.
How many sessions are needed to successfully remove skin pigmentation using a Q-switched laser?
The number of sessions needed to successfully remove skin pigmentation using a Q-switched laser will vary from one person to another and will depend on the severity on the condition of their skin.
- Freckles - 2 to 4 sessions are usually enough to remove this type of skin pigmentation.
- Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation - 3 to 5 sessions are usually enough to remove this type of skin pigmentation.
- Melasma - Despite repeated sessions, Q-switched lasers are not able to successfully remove this type of skin pigmentation.
- Solar Lentigos - 2 to 4 sessions are usually enough to remove this type of skin pigmentation.
How many sessions are needed to successfully remove skin pigmentation using Pico laser?
Patients may only need 1 to 2 sessions to successfully remove less challenging skin pigmentation like freckles, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and solar lentigos with the use of Pico laser. In recent developments, it has been found that Pico lasers provide promising results in dealing with the removal of melasma.
Which of the two lasers give the best results when removing skin pigmentation?
Both lasers, when used on other skin pigmentations aside from melasma, are able to give optimum results. The only difference would be on the number of sessions required to obtain successful outcomes. Pico lasers, given that they work 10 times faster than Q-switched lasers, is your best choice if you want to remove skin pigmentation quickly with fewer treatments.