Pigment Removal


Pigment Removal

Pigmented lesions are exceedingly common and are darker areas of the skin caused by excess melanin in skin cells. Some pigmented lesions are present at birth, such as birthmarks, and some are acquired over time, such as sunspots on sun-exposed areas. Key examples of pigmented lesions include: freckles, moles, age spots, cafe-au-lait spots, sunspots, Nevus of Ota, Nevus of Ito, Mongolian spots, etc. Most pigmented lesions are benign.

Light is released in short pulses that are readily absorbed by the high concentration of melanin found within pigmented lesions. The rapid absorption of light energy heats the melanin and causes the destruction of the melanin-rich cells.

Most people are suitable for treatment except for very dark skinned or tanned individuals. However, large, dark, mottled or raised pigmentation cannot be treated and may need to be checked by a dermatologist. Large, dark moles should not be treated, nor should lesions covering a large part of the body. The pigmented marks that respond the best are superficial lesions such as those caused by sun damage (sun spots) and freckles.
The treated area may feel warm and sensitive for the first few days post treatment. The lesions may darken and may appear more obvious before they fade and ‘flake’ away. Sometimes an initial whitening of the area is seen which quickly fades and the pigment gradually fades over the following few weeks.
The length of each treatment will depend on the type and size of lesion present, but a typical session will take 10 to 30 minutes.
Prior to treatment, a consultation is conducted in which a medical history is taken to confirm suitability for treatment. This is also a good opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have. Before treatment commences you must provide written consent and a small test patch will be carried out.
The light applicator is placed on the skin and a short pulse of light is released. The applicator is then moved to the neighbouring area and the process is repeated until the entire area is treated. With Q-Switched Laser treatments due to the power of the Laser energy delivered into the skin, a small amount of pinpoint bleeding may occur during the treatment, and a dressing may be applied after the treatment to protect the skin while it heals. During treatment protective eye wear will be provided.
Most patients describe the discomfort as mild and tolerable and no anaesthesia is required.
The skin that surrounds the pigmented lesion may become red immediately after treatment. Most people experience no other side effects and the redness usually disappears within hours to a few days. Very rarely a small blister may form or the skin may become temporarily lighter or darker.
The number of treatments will depend on the type and size of the pigmented lesion but typically 1 to 3 sessions are required at 4 to 6 week intervals.

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