PIGMENTATION AND LASER TREATMENT
What is pigmentation?
pigmentation is the discoloration or darkening of the skin that occurs when the melanin level in the skin becomes higher than usual. This phenomenon is usually common in older men and women. The discoloration is usually red, brown, pink, purple, etc. but it can also be black making the area of pigmentation darker than the other parts of the skin. Most times it remains dormant until the skin is exposed to direct sunlight for an extended period of time. The excess melanin can either occur in the epidermis layer of the skin or in the deep dermis layer.
What causes pigmentation?
Even though the gene plays a great role in causing pigmentation, lifestyle or dietary habits can increase its probability. Dietary habits like excessive consumption of processed foods and lifestyle habits like smoking are examples. However hormonal imbalances also play a substantial role in causing pigmentation, especially in pregnant women.
What is the effect of Hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation due to its external occurrence in the body has been known to cause emotional and social stress in its victims. It also reduces the attractiveness of the skin and might cause discomfort in its host.
How can I prevent pigmentation?
Like mentioned above, a healthy lifestyle plays a significant role in preventing Hyperpigmentation. Healthy food should be taken at all times. Unhealthy habits like smoking should be avoided. Furthermore, natural skin care products should be used; the skin should be protected from direct sunlight in other words too much skin exposure should be avoided.
What are the frequent types of pigmentation?
To treat Hyperpigmentation, it is necessary to recognize the kind of pigmentation it is.
- Freckles: this is common amongst light skin people, and it is caused by constant exposure to direct sunlight so it usually appears in summer and fades during winter. Freckles are dark spots in the skins that occur as a result of a long period of exposure to the sun.
- Melasma: these are large brown patches with irregular borders that occur as a result of excess melanin deep within the dermis. Hence it is a type of pigmentation that occurs in this region. It is usually common in women and most probably caused by an increase in hormones. The exact cause of Melasma is unknown.
- Solar Lentigines: unlike Melasma pigmentation, these have regular borders and can occur in any part of the body. It is usually referred to as liver spots or sunspots. As the name implies, it is caused by exposure to the UV rays from the sun or other sources. These types are extremely dangerous because of their tendency to metamorphose into skin cancer and melanoma. Once Solar Lentigines is identified it is important to go for regular checks with qualified dermatologists.
- Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH): This is always caused by burns, injury, acne, friction, chemical peels and skin abrasion. This type of Hyperpigmentation fades away with time although it can come up again with time.
What are the classifications of pigmentation?
The different classification of pigmentation includes Generalized, Localized, Hyperpigmentation, Hypopigmentation, Depigmentation, Congenital, and Acquired.
- Generalized Hyperpigmentation: this kind of pigmentation is common in Addison’s disease patients and Hemochromatosis; when Addison disease is more prominent in scars, within the mouth, and in skin folds and when Hemochromatosis is more prominent in genitals, skin folds, and sun-exposed skins. It also occurs in afamelanotide patients.
- Localized pigmentation: this kind is not caused only by abnormal melanin, it also occurs as a result of deficiencies in hemosiderin or externally-derived pigment. It is easily recognized with thickened skin, pigmented purpura, skin cancers and post-inflammatory pigmentation.
- Congenital Hyperpigmentation: this occurs when melanin-producing melanocytes are located in the dermis. It is transmitted by the gene; from the parent to the offspring.
- Acquired pigmentation: these kinds develop during the patient’s life
How is Hyperpigmentation treated?
There are various methods for treating pigmentation defect, but only two will be discussed in this article namely Fraxel dual laser and lutronic spectra method. Other methods include Alexandrite 755nm, Harmony XL Pro laser treatment.
What is Lutronic Spectra method?
This method makes use of a Lutronic Spectra which is a mild laser that uses nanosecond laser pulses to reduce skin pigmentation. It targets 5acne scarring, irregular pigments, and other irregularities.
How does LS work?
The laser pulse is used to penetrate the skin tissue where it heats up the melanin within the cells. As the body heals itself the heated up melanin are ejected from the body. The laser pulse used in this method is mild on the skin hence it is commonly used for Melasma.
Is there a particular wavelength used for the laser?
Yes, there is. There are four different wavelengths used namely; 532nm, 585nm, 650nm, and 1064nm measured in nanoseconds.
How long does LS process take?
25 minutes is needed to apply the carbon and 20 minutes is needed for the LS procedure. No Anaesthetics is required. The duration also depends on the area being treated.
How much is the LS procedure?
The price depends on the largeness of the area that will be treated and its deepness. However, the cost of the treatment ranges from $200 to 425 dollars.
What is Fraxel Dual Laser method?
Commonly used for improving skin texture this method is the safest because it leaves the skin intact. In fact, it improves the appearance of the skin after the operation because it stimulates collagen production (collagen improves healing of cells and its rejuvenation). This method is extremely effective and fast because it targets 40% of the skin at the same time. Furthermore, it’s healing only takes four days.
What frequency does the Fraxel Dual Laser method operate in?
1550 and 1927, and this frequency is used to target the epidermis and dermis layers of the skin. It can be used for all the various types of pigmentation.
How long does this process take?
Unlike the Lutronic Spectra method that takes up to 50minutes, this method only takes 20 minutes to complete. However, this time can vary depending on the location, size, and condition of the affected area.
How much is the Fraxel dual laser method?
Like that of LS, this also is determined by the condition of the skin. It is, however, safe to point out the range of $700 and $1000 per session. Up 4 to 6 session is required for optimum treatment within three weeks space.
What are the benefits of using these two methods?
Well, fresher and younger skin is guaranteed. However, as expected the texture and tone of the skin will be improved, and the fine lines around the eyes will be reduced. Of course, the brown pigments that are discoloring your face will be eliminated. It is, however, important to point out the need for the use of moisturizer after treatment to remove the dry flakes that will ensue after the treatment.