There are many different kinds of skin pigmentation. Common pigmentary conditions include eg. solar lentigenes, freckles, melasma, etc. For superficial epidermal pigment, pigment lasers (ie. 532 laser or Ruvy-Touch laser) can be used to treat these conditions.
HOW IS THE PROCEDURE PERFORMED?
The pigment lesions are usually pre-treated with a depigmentation cream eg. hydroquinone 4% cream applied twice a day for 3-4 weeks before laser is performed.
On the day of the laser treatment, the face is cleansed and numbing cream applied. Oral analgesics can be prescribed, depending on the pain threshold of the patient. The 532 laser or Ruvy-Touch laser is applied to the pigment, which results in erythema and a mild frosting to appear. A mild topical steroid and sun screen is applied thereafter. Over the course of 5-10 days, the treated area will scab and fall off, leading to lightening of the pigment.
WHAT IS INTERVAL BETWEEN TREATMENTS AND HOW MANY TREATMENTS WILL I NEED TO SEE RESULTS?
The interval between treatments is typically between 3-4 weeks. The number of treatments needed to see appreciable results will largely depend on the type of pigment being treated, eg. freckles may clear after just a single treatment, solar lentigenes may need up to 2-3 treatments before significant lightening of pigment is observed.
ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS?
For asian skin, there is an increased risk of Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) post-treatment with pigment laser. This is usually prevented with the lowest possible settings being used with adequate treatment intervals observed. Topical steroids have also been observed to reduce the incidence of PIH.