Laser for Pigmentation

Skin pigmentation is a common skin problem in Singapore. Everyone regardless of age and sex suffers from skin pigmentation to a certain extent.

Freckles, age spots, melasma and various birth marks are commonly referred to as skin pigmentation.

Before pigment laser was invented, topical cream and surgical excision are the only ways to treat skin pigmentation.  Modern lasers can now treat pigmentation more effectively without causing too much damage to the skin.


What is a laser?

Laser is simply a device that produces an intense beam of coherent light. Different types of medical laser can be used to treat and improve various skin conditions. Skin pigmentation can be treated with pigment laser, which is designed to break down pigmented lesions.

How does pigment laser work?

Melanin gives our skin its colour. Skin pigmentation is darker in colour simply because melanin is abnormally concentrated in the particular area of the skin. Laser machine delivers a beam of light that targets melanin. This light is then absorbed and converted into heat energy which disperses the group of melanin cells, or destroys the skin cells carrying the melanin molecules.

This effectively breaks down the pigment cells and lightens skin pigmentation over time.


What do I need to know before undergoing laser treatment?

Consult a qualified doctor to get a professional assessment so the best treatment regime can be recommended to you. It is important to get the correct diagnosis before starting treatment. Different types of skin pigmentation are treated differently.

Most skin pigmentation often requires a combination of treatment such as topical pigment cream, laser treatment and sunblock for optimal results.


Is pigment laser painful?

Pigment laser is very tolerable but it can be uncomfortable for some people.  Numbing cream can be applied onto your face to numb the skin before treatment. Treatment intensity and duration depends on the types of pigmentation.


What results do I expect?

Most skin pigmentation conditions require more than 1 session of laser treatment. Mild freckles and age spots usually resolves satisfactorily after 3-5 laser treatment.

However, other pigmented lesions such as melasma and birthmarks will often require multiple sessions. Sometimes, they may not respond well to laser treatment.

Therefore, it is important to have a consultation with a doctor before undergoing pigmentation treatment.


What happens after laser treatment?

Follow up is usually arranged in 3-4 weeks. Depending on the types of pigmentation, post laser recovery time can vary from 2 to 7 days.

You will be advised to be very generous with sun screen. It is absolutely necessary because excessive UV ray exposure can darken the treated area during recovery period and also trigger the formation of new pigmented lesions.


Any side effects?

Pigment laser treatment is generally safe in trained hands. Some side effects may include:

1) Unwanted skin darkening

Adverse darkening of the skin can potentially occur in treated areas and is more common in people with dark skin tones. Excessive exposure of the treated area to the sun can trigger this.

It is also more common in deep skin pigmentation condition such as melasma and birthmarks.

2) Unwanted Skin lightening

Abnormally light spots can appear in treated areas after laser treatment. This is usually due to over-treatment or adverse reaction to laser treatment. This is more common in people with dark skin tones.

3) Infection

Infection from pigment laser is very rare with meticulous post treatment care.


Is pigment laser always very effective for skin pigmentation?

This really depends on the type of the skin pigmentation. Some pigments such as melasma and birth marks may not respond well to laser treatment. Some may recur after a series of treatment. Some may even respond adversely to laser treatment.

Therefore, it is important to get a proper assessment and advice before initiation of pigmentation treatment.


If you wish to find out more, visit us at S Aesthetics Clinic to speak to our doctors.