Pigment issues in the skin are a common reason for visits to Laser Away. At Laser Away, we will review your medical history, examine the area of concern, and determine the best course of management.
The most common pigment issue we see on the face is sunspots or sun damage. Melasma, post-inflammatory pigmentation, and dark circles under the eyes are the other common pigment issues.
We do see many people that feel that they look better with tanned skin and will bake in the sun or in sunbeds to achieve it. Unfortunately, that same sunlight that we love also is the culprit that delivers damage to our skin. It is the UVA and UVB rays in the sun that cause aging of our skin cells leading to wrinkles, sun spots, and higher risks of skin cancers.
Protecting the skin from further sun exposure is key for all types of pigmenting issues. We generally recommend the following sun precautions for healthy skin:
The clinical name is solar lentigos and these are areas of sun damage in the skin which the body tries to protect by making more pigment to cover the damaged area. With repeated sun exposure, the areas get darker, larger, and deeper.
There are several treatments that can be used for sunspots. Topical skin lightening creams can be used on the areas to reduce the darkness of the sunspots. This treatment is gradual, has not down time, requires daily application, and can take months to see the best effects.
For people who are looking for faster or more dramatic results, they can get medical grade facial peels, photofacial (BBL) treatments, or Pixel laser resurfacing.
Melasma is a common condition seen more commonly in women and it usually starts in the child-bearing years. When the pigmenting occurs during pregnancy, it is often called chloasma or the “mask of pregnancy”. The most common melasma is seen as blotchy irregular shaped light or dark-brown pigmenting on the face – typically upper lip, nose, cheeks, chin, forehead, and sometimes the neck. It is most often on the sun-exposed areas.
Unfortunately, melasma has proven to be difficult to treat. To generalize, there are two types of melasma – a more superficial type and a deeper pigmenting type.
The more superficial melasma is well treated by topical skin-lightening creams and more dramatically by the use of photofacial (BBL) treatments, medical grade facial peels, or Pixel laser resurfacing.
The more deep melasma will not benefit as much from the more superficial treatments with skin-lightening creams and facial peels. This type of melasma will require the photofacial (BBL) in combination with multiple treatments with the Pixel resurfacing laser.
This type of pigmentation can occur after any trauma or inflammation in your skin. Acne, infections, eczema, allergic reactions, burns, or skin trauma can cause post-inflammatory pigmentation. It is more common in people with darker coloured skin but can occur in anyone.
Treatment should be done with caution as some treatments used for pigment (e.g., lasers and peels) can sometimes make things worse. It is important to have a professional evaluate your skin and plan your treatment. Skin lighteners, sun protection with sunblock, and time are often the best treatments.
There are many theories as to what causes dark circles under the eyes. Small veins, lymphatics, and pigment deposits may all be part of the problem. There is likely a genetic component as to why people have dark circles (you will often see them in a parent or grandparent if you have them).
While there are many treatments offered, there is no cure and no well proven treatments. At Laser Away we most often offer one of our eye creams to help tighten up the skin and lighten the area. The creams area usually applied daily and take 1-3 months to see best results.