Those who need skin whitening for areas of darker pigmentation, age spots and for their general overall appearance are no longer at the mercy of slow-acting creams and lotions. Laser technology has developed intense pulsed light (IPL) that will lighten hyperpigmentation patches with just a few treatments.
Causes for skin discolouration
There are several causes for skin discolouration. The most common are genetics, hormone changes, diet, prescription medication and unprotected, extended exposure to direct sunlight. After a few years, brown spots, freckles, and discolouration begin to appear and not go away. The different names for this discolouration are hyperpigmentation, chloasma, melasma, sun spots, freckles, liver spots and age spots. Laser treatments can completely remove or greatly reduce discolouration on the skin no matter what the cause.
The discolouration that happens because of sun damage is at the deepest level or dermis of the skin. As the skin naturally sheds dead cells, the discolouration gradually moves to the surface. This is why it may take several treatments to remove the spots permanently. The colour will be reduced after the first treatment and get clearer and clearer after each treatment.
The dark spots may get even darker immediately after the treatment. It is essential that the patient does not pick or rub them. They will gradually slough off after seven to 10 days. There may also be small blisters that will also heal quickly.
Most patients require two to three treatments, but the number of treatments depends on the type of discolouration and the skin type. The most difficult dark spots to remove are those that are caused by hormonal conditions including the pregnancy mask or melasma. These may require three or four treatments as well as a bleaching product.
HOW LASER SKIN WHITENING WORKS
The Fastest Results
Of all the methods for lightening scars, and other dark areas due to sun exposure or aging, laser whitening gives the quickest results. The high-intensity energy is absorbed by the melanin in the skin, which is what causes the dark spots. The light destroys the melanin. These treatments are performed by trained medical professionals who test the skin first to determine if the spots will respond well to the treatment. Most treatments require three treatments with a gap of two months between the treatments.
What the Dermatologist Looks For
The doctor or specialist will look at:
• The initial condition of the skin to determine what kind or laser to use
• The depth of the pigment that needs lightening
• The number of previous treatments
Laser whitening is also successful in cases where the patient has used creams containing hydroquinone to lighten their skin. This ingredient often leaves the skin with grey or blue-black tones. Laser treatments will also eliminate freckles.
Laser lightening may not be suitable for skin that has a very dark tone. This is because the laser targets the pigment in the skin with bursts of energy that cause heat, and any excess energy is absorbed by the surrounding untargeted cells. If a person has dark skin, the surrounding cells may be dark enough to absorb the heat energy, and this could cause blistering and discolouration.
There is a slightly lower risk of this happening with a Fraxel or erbium laser procedure because they use a gentler light than a CO2 laser. A dermatologist who has experience using these procedures will be able to determine which procedure is the best for each individual skin type.
It is definitely worth the time and effort it takes to get dark spots removed with a laser treatment. The difference in appearance is amazing, and the patient will gain confidence because they look their best.