What Is Pigmentation?
Natural pigments in your skin are produced by special cells called melanocytes. This pigment is known as melanin. It determines the colour of the skin, hair, eyes, and other body surfaces. Fair-skinned people have lower levels and dark-skinned individuals produce more melanin.
However, in some parts of the body we can also experience a disruption in the production of melanin, causing pigmentation issues.
Different marks and skin deficiencies may interfere with your desire for a flawless skin. More commonly, they are age spots, freckles, or melasma and rosacea. Each condition has different treatments, according to their causes.
Skin pigmentation treatment in Singapore has many types. One of the most popular is the application of laser for pigmentation. Each procedure should be planned carefully, considering pigmentation, skin type, and other characteristics.
Causes Of Pigmentation
Sun Damage/Exposure to UV Light
UV light in any form causes hyperpigmentation. It may come from UV rays emitted by the sun or by a tanning bed. It can cause sunspots, melasma, freckles, and solar lentigines. The sun has different rays, and the UVA rays causes melanocyte damage. Similarly, collagen and other important proteins are damaged when your skin receives UV light.
It is a common cause of pigmentation problems to occur among pregnant women. Typical issues include small, dark patches, which is commonly referred to as melasma.
Certain medications can trigger melasma by making your skin more sensitive to the UV light by the sun. A classic example is thyroid medications and some drugs to treat ovarian problems.
Inflammations and Wound Healing
Skin inflammation problems in psoriasis, eczema, and acne cause brown spots and healing issues. It temporarily triggers a change in the production of skin pigments, too.
Common Types of Pigmentation Concerns
It is one of the most common forms of skin pigmentation. It has a genetic component to it. They usually appear in individuals with a fair complexion, especially when they are repeatedly exposed to UV rays from the sun. An over exposure to the sun will usually result in a darker appearance or development of more freckles across the face and body.
They are also known as sun spots or liver spots, and look like hyperpigmented spots with a clear edge. The colour ranges from brown to black and may appear on different parts of the body. They are triggered by sun ultraviolet light exposure, and the severity depends on the duration of such exposure and intensity of UV light. Some of them transform into melanoma and skin cancer, which is why they should be examined by your specialist every year.
Also known as chloasma, melasma is a type of pigmentation located in the deepest layers of the skin. It causes brown patches in the skin, and does not have a distinct or very clear border. It is more common in females, due to sudden hormonal changes. UV light exposure worsens the condition, as well as certain medications, stress, and pregnancy.
This type of pigmentation issue responds to skin injury, usually as a result of friction, burns, aggressive clinical treatments, and acne. It usually resolves spontaneously after some time. However, it can be treated and improved with the application of topical products.
Treatments for Pigmentation
There are many types of pigment condition, and only an experienced doctor will diagnose them correctly and assign an effective treatment depending on what is causing pigmentation issues. Topical creams is popular treatment, along with Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) and other facial laser treatments available in Singapore.
Intense Pulse Light – IPL
Intense pulse light or IPL is a type of treatment that uses laser for pigmentation problems. It is non-ablative and non-invasive, using high-intensity pulses to treat hyperpigmentation problems.
Facial laser treatment uses very intense light for a very short time. The dose is controlled carefully to obtain the best results by destroying target cells while leaving the surrounding tissue intact. Intense pulse laser and other laser treatments work similarly, using laser light, and choosing the wavelength according to the target. However, laser therapy uses one wavelength and IPL uses a band of wavelengths.
How Does IPL Or Laser Treatment Help To Treat Pigmentation?
These well-controlled energies are directed to the skin and absorbed by the pigmented cells and coloured elements in the skin. The usual pigment targets are haemoglobin in red blood cells and melanin in the hyperpigmented areas. Light energy is converted into heat by the pigment, which in turn help to break down melanin in the cells. It is also designed to reduce blood vessels that supply oxygen and feed this trouble area. Precision targeting of the laser energy addresses pigmentation while leaving its surrounding skin unharmed.
Laser Treatment For Other Types Of Pigmentation
Apart from treating common pigmentation concerns, IPL and laser treatment can also help to improve the appearance of the following conditions.
- Veins/Vascular Lesions
- Port Wine Stains
- Age Spots
- Sun-damaged Skin
- Uneven Pigment
- Brown Spots
- Acne & Acne Scarring
What to expect from IPL and Laser Treatments
A typical IPL or laser session is short and last for 15 to 30 minutes and downtime is minimal. After the procedure, you can apply make-up and return immediately to your daily routine or work.
Laser therapy is pigment-selective, and appropriate for skin rejuvenation, to manage pigmented lesions, and other applications. It reduces post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, freckles, age spots, melasma, birth marks, and some types of tattoo. Treating the skin periodically is also useful to rejuvenate the skin and improve skin tone because it stimulates the production of collagen.
Unwanted lesions and other pigments may take a while to disappear and usually do after repeated sessions. It is common to experience skin that feels tighter, lighter pigments, and smoother texture after several treatments.
In 95% of cases, tattoos can be lightened after applying laser therapy. Green and yellow pigments are the most difficult to disappear and may require a combination of laser technologies to address them.
After the procedure there will be no downtime, and the individual can go back to the normal routine after treatment, with regular sunscreen protection as one of the few indications.
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