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Laser for Pigmentation
Beauty is about being comfortable in one’s own skin. Everyone wants a flawless skin. The truth is, it is not hard to have a pigmentation free skin.
Skin pigmentation is a huge problem in Singapore. In fact, most people you know, regardless of age and sex, have problems with skin pigmentation. It is especially a beauty concern among women. Skin is our largest and most visible organ. Therefore, having pigmentation can have a big impact on the way others see us, and the way we see ourselves. Age spots, freckles, melasma and various birth marks are commonly referred to as pigmentation.
We can easily get rid of skin pigmentation these days. Before the laser days, surgical excision is the only treatment option for pigmented lesions. This often leads to unsightly scar formation. Modern lasers can now treat pigmented lesions without causing damage to the skin.
What is a laser?
It is a device that produces an intense beam of coherent light. It can be used to treat and improve skin conditions*.
There are many types of lasers catered for different uses. The most commonly used laser for skin pigmentation is a Q-switch Nd:Yag laser.
A Q-switch Nd:Yag laser typically looks like this.
How does it work*?
Melanin is what gives our skin its colour. Pigmented lesions are dark in colour simply because melanin is abnormally concentrated in one area of the skin. Laser machine delivers a beam of light that targets melanin. This light is then absorbed and converted into heat. It then disperses the group of melanin cells, or destroys the skin cells carrying the melanin molecules.
What do I need to know before undergoing laser treatment*?
Consult a doctor. A doctor needs to assess your pigmented lesions to recommend the best treatment regimen for you. Inform your doctor if you are on any medication. It is best to avoid sun exposure and excessive facial products or makeups 1 week before the laser treatment.*
Laser cannot be used if you are pregnant. Do tell your doctor if you are pregnant!
Is it painful*?
It can be uncomfortable for some people. The impact of the laser feels like a snap of a rubber band. Do not worry. A cream is applied onto your face to numb the skin before treatment. Treatment duration depends on your skin condition. After a laser treatment, the area will feel similar to that of a sun burn. Any discomfort will typically disappear within a day or two.*
What results do I expect?
More than 1 sessions of laser treatment is usually required for most pigmentation. Freckles and age spots usually resolves satisfactorily with 1-2 sessions. However, pigmented birthmarks such as café-au-lait spots and Becker’s nevus will require multiple sessions. Follow-up reviews are usually scheduled at intervals of 6 to 8 weeks.*
What happens after the treatment*?
Some swelling and redness can occur but all these should resolve within 1 to 2 weeks. Do not scratch or pick on the treated area. You should avoid sun exposure or direct heat contact. You should also avoid abrasive skin care products such as scrubs. You will be prescribed a gentle skin cleanser or antibacterial ointment for the treated area.*
Be generous with sun screen! It is absolutely necessary because sun exposure can darken the treated area during healing and also cause new pigmented lesions.
Any side effects*?
It is generally safe. Some rare complications include:
1) Skin darkening
Darkening of the skin can occur in treated areas and is more common in people with dark skin tones. Exposure of the treated area to sun can worsen it. Fortunately, it usually resolves within 4 to 6 months.
2) Skin lightening
Light spots can appear in treated areas after several treatment sessions. However, these areas usually darken or re-pigment after 4 to 6 months. In rare cases, it can be permanent.
This is rare. You should follow all post treatment care instruction to avoid this from happening. Inform your doctor immediately if it happens.
Are lasers always very effective* for pigmentation?
This really depends on the cause of the pigmentation. Some lesions such as dark-coloured birth marks may not disappear completely. Some may recur after multiple sessions of treatment. Therefore, it is important to get a proper assessment and advice before initiation of treatment.
Any reason why I cannot have a laser treatment?
Hypopigmentation (lightening of skin) cannot be treated with laser.
If you have photo allergy (skin sensitivity to light), you cannot have a laser treatment because it will trigger a serious reaction on your skin.
You cannot have a laser treatment if you are pregnant.
It is important to get a correct diagnosis before deciding on the best treatment option. If you wish to get your skin pigmentation treated with laser, please consult a doctor to get a proper assessment.*
Call us at 62350338, or visit us at #07-07 Pacific Plaza (Scotts Medical Center) to find out more. You will be surprised what our laser treaments can do for you!
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*Note: The outcomes and results of this medical procedure may vary from person to person. Outcomes and results may not be guaranteed.
Important note: The Ministry of Health of Singapore does not allow the publishing of before and after photographs and patient testimonials in advertising materials. If you visit our clinics for more information, we will be happy to show you more photographs and pictures of our patients.