Say Bye to Hyperpigmentation with Laser Treatments
Hyperpigmentation is a common condition that occurs when your skin produces too much melanin (the pigment responsible for skin tone). This causes dark patches, which can be unsightly. Luckily, the beauty industry is actively developing, and today, you can easily get rid of hyperpigmentation with laser treatments. Keep reading to learn more about this procedure, its side effects, and how much it costs.
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What is Hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is a skin condition associated with developing dark patches due to melanin overproduction. Usually, it appears on the face, neck, chest, and hands since these body parts are often unprotected from environmental factors. The most common causes of hyperpigmentation include sun exposure, hormonal changes, skin trauma, or genetics. Although this condition is not dangerous and occurs in up to 60% of all people, you can find it discomfiting.
There are many types of hyperpigmentation, but not all of them can be treated with laser due to the risk of scarring. Thus, you must always consult a dermatologist before initiating any interventions. Nowadays, only melasma, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), and sunspots can be safely removed by this treatment.
Melasma is a common type of hyperpigmentation caused by hormonal changes, usually during pregnancy or hormonal therapy.
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation appears after skin trauma or inflammation, such as acne or eczema.
Sunspots or solar lentigines are dark patches that develop under prolonged sun exposure.
What Types of Laser to Use?
Laser treatment for pigmentary disorders is a non-invasive procedure that targets the melanin in the skin, breaking it down and dispersing it. This procedure is safe and effective and can be used on all skin types. However, you should keep in mind that the results may vary from person to person due to genetic predisposition, repeated excessive sun exposure, hormonal imbalance, and medical disorders.
The choice of the laser depends on the specific type and severity of the skin discoloration. Here are a few examples:
Q-switched laser. It is a high-energy laser that produces short pulses of light and treats age spots and melasma.
Fractional laser. This laser uses a technology that delivers energy in tiny, controlled columns to the skin, creating microscopic channels that stimulate natural healing. Usually, it is used to treat age spots, melasma, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Pulsed dye laser (PDL). It selectively targets the hyperpigmented areas without affecting the surrounding tissue. Typically, PDL is used to treat post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and sunspots.
Side Effects of Laser Treatment
Before getting laser treatment, it’s important to be aware that, like any medical procedure, there may be unwanted reactions. These reactions are usually minor and consist of redness, swelling, and itching. However, in rare cases, you may experience blistering or scarring. It’s crucial to discuss any possible side effects with your healthcare provider before undergoing treatment. They will also help you determine which type of laser is best suited for your skin type and the number of treatments required for the best results.
How to Prepare for Laser Treatment?
You should avoid sun exposure and restrain using products containing retinol or glycolic acid for at least two weeks before the procedure, as these can increase the risk of side effects. Additionally, you should stop tweezing or waxing for ten days before treatment.
How Much Does It Cost?
The cost of laser treatment for hyperpigmentation can vary depending on the severity of the condition, the type of laser used, and the number of treatments required. Generally, it ranges from $150 to $500 per session, with multiple sessions sometimes being required for optimal results.
It is important to discuss the cost with your healthcare provider before undergoing the procedure. The specialist can help you to determine which type of laser is best for your skin type and the number of treatments needed for optimal results.
Does Hyperpigmentation Return After Laser Treatment?
While laser treatments can significantly reduce hyperpigmentation, it is not 100% guaranteed positive outcome. The likelihood of recurrence depends on the individual’s skin type, genetic predisposition, the severity of the dark spot, the type of laser used, and the experience of the healthcare practitioner. Moreover, you may keep practicing unprotected sunbathing, which, without a doubt, will increase the chance of returning to the starting point.
To minimize it, follow your dermatologist’s post-treatment instructions and take appropriate measures to protect your skin. This may include avoiding excessive sun exposure, using sunscreen regularly, adopting a good skin care routine, and managing any underlying medical conditions or hormonal imbalances.
Alternatives to Laser Treatment for Hyperpigmentation
Laser treatment is safe and effective for reducing the appearance of dark patches. However, there are other available options, including topical products, chemical peels, and microneedling.
Topical products suit those who want a more gradual approach. Choose creams that contain kojic acid, vitamin C, retinoids, niacinamide, licorice extract, or azelaic acid.
Chemical peels are a good option for those with mild to moderate hyperpigmentation. These peels use a combination of acids to exfoliate the skin and reduce the appearance of dark patches.
Microneedling is best for those with moderate to severe hyperpigmentation. It works by using tiny needles to create small holes in the skin, which helps to stimulate the production of collagen and reduce the appearance of dark patches.