A pigment called melanin is what gives skin its colour and is produced by cells called melanocytes in the skin. If these cells become damaged the production of melanin in the skin can be affected.
Pigmentation is an umbrella term used to describe pigmented lesions which occur as a result of melanocyte damage. Such pigmented lesions are often called sun damage, age spots, liver spots and freckles.
They are hypermelanocyctic areas typically induced by prolonged UV exposure from the sun, the natural ageing process or congenital factors.
Pigmented lesions can vary widely in shape, depth, size and can be found on both facial areas and the body. They can be either flat or raised and are usually just a benign cosmetic concern.
The quickest, safest and most effective way to remove unwanted pigmented lesions is by using an Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) laser system. Whilst other treatments (like microdermabrasion) can be used to treat pigmentation, we find that IPL gives much faster and dramatic results as the light is able to penetrate deep enough into the skin to directly target the damaged melanin cells rather than just treating the surface of the skin.
Our medical grade Lynton Lasers IPL system releases short pulses of light that are readily absorbed by the high concentration of melanin found within pigmented lesions such as freckles and age spots. 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 most effectively are superficial lesions such as those caused by sun damage e.g. sun spots, age spots and freckles.
Prior to treatment you must initially attend a consultation appointment during which the treatment process is explained in detail. Medical history details are obtained in order to determine suitability for treatment.
If we are able to proceed a consent form must then be signed before a patch test is performed, this must be carried out at least 48 hours prior to the first treatment.
The treatment area is cleansed before a conductive gel is applied on the lesions being treated. Protective eyewear is worn by both the client and the laser operator. The light applicator is placed on the skin and a short pulse of light is released.
If multiple lesions or a large area is being treated the applicator is then moved to the neighbouring area and the process is repeated until the entire area has been treated. The skin is then cleaned and cooled before aloe vera is applied.
Most clients liken the sensation to an elastic band flicking against the skin each time a pulse of light is delivered into the skin. A slight heat is often felt also but most clients describe the sensation as mild and tolerable, no anaesthesia is required.
The treated area may feel warm and sensitive for the first day or two post-treatment. Most treated lesions, be it one age spot or several freckles, usually darken after the treatment before becoming dry then flaking off the skin after a few days.
A clearer and more even skin complexion is revealed once the darkening has subsided, full results are usually seen around 4 weeks after treatment.
The skin that surrounds the pigmented lesions may become red immediately after treatment. Most people experience no other side effects and any redness usually disappears within hours.
Very rarely a small blister may form or the skin may become temporarily lighter or darker but all such effects will subside.
The length of each treatment will depend on the type of lesion and the size of area being treated, but a typical session will take 10 to 30 minutes.
The number of treatments will depend on the type and size of the pigmented lesion e.g. a darker, deeper age spot may require more treatment compared to superficial freckles.
Typically between 1 and 3 sessions are required at 4-6 week intervals.
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