It can be overwhelming to find the best treatments for pigmentation removal. There are many products and procedures available, all with varying degrees of effectiveness. It is important to do your research before deciding on a treatment because not every treatment will work for everyone. This article will explore some of the most effective pigmentation removal treatments that can remove or lighten dark patches caused by discoloration in skin tone from sun damage, melasma, acne scars, or any other cause.
What is Skin Pigmentation?
Pigmentation is basically defined as dark color dots, spots or patches on your face or body. Pigmentation disorders are very common in Singapore due to its intense hot weather. In fact, some pigmentation problems can be seen in almost every household!
We will look at the types of pigmentation:
Freckles are common in Asian individuals and are associated with sun exposure. They usually appear as small round brown spots on the face and shoulders, most commonly seen on the bridge of the nose or cheeks. Freckles can sometimes be bothersome because they tend to grow darker during summer time when there is increased exposure to UV rays from solar radiation (usually observed after teenage years).
Melasma is a darkening of the skin tone due to uneven pigment production. Melasma commonly appears on the face, but can also appear in other parts of the body including lips, eyes, armpits and neck area. Dark patches will appear slowly over time with exposure to sunlight and may become more noticeable in women during pregnancy or when taking oral contraceptives.
Melasma is usually caused by an increase in melanin production (pigment) due to hormonal changes such as puberty, pregnancy or underlying thyroid disease (most common cause).
Hori’s nevus is a rare, congenital pigmentation disorder usually seen in children. Small brown patches appear anywhere on the body and are permanent. The lesions are more common among females. Because these spots have no hair follicles, they do not tan like normal skin would. They also may fade with time after starting puberty.
Liver spots or solar lentigines (liver spots) are flat to slightly raised areas of discolored skin. These growths typically occur in areas exposed to the sun including face, hands and arms but can develop on other parts of the body as well.
Treatments for Skin Pigmentation
What works best? What is the most effective treatment for skin pigmentation? The answer differs from person to person as no one has exactly the same skin condition, and thus a single solution will not work effectively on all types of discoloration in your skin. Your dermatologist is best to determine which treatment works best for you.
The following are the most commonly used procedures for skin pigmentation:
Pico Laser Treatment
Since the laser targets only the pigment in your skin, there will be no damage or change to surrounding tissues in the body and hence less risks involved. Pico lasers have been shown to improve discoloration without leaving any significant side effects. This device allows you to control its energy levels from low (gentle) up to high (superficial), depending on your comfort level and the severity of pigmentation that you want removed.
Carbon Laser Peel
Carbon laser is another option for pigmentation treatment. This procedure uses ultraviolet light to activate the chemical reaction that removes dark patches of skin. The process is painless and has no recovery time, so you can return to work the same day as your procedure.
Over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription topical medications can also be used for pigmentation treatments. Hydroquinone bleaches and lightens patches of discolored skin by interfering with the production of melanin. Melasma is usually treated with hydroquinone followed by a chemical peel to help reduce irregular pigmentation on the skin.