What Is Pigmentation?


Dark spots, age spots, sun spots, liver spots....

What is Pigmentation?

UV radiation present in sun light stimulate your ‘pigment cells’ called Melanocytes to manufacture the pigment called Melanin. This is responsible for your tan and also sun damage and your unwanted sun spots. These sun spots may take 10-20 years to develop, so if you notice some showing now it’s likely they could have been caused when you were in the sun as a young child.

Excess skin pigmentation also known as ‘hyperpigmentation’ is usually caused by an over active melanin-productive system. This leads to excess production and clumping of melanin, and the appearance of light or dark brown spots of pigmentation on the skin.

Reasons For Skin Pigmentation Problems

  • UV radiation – in most cases, especially in areas of high UV radiation levels like Australia, skin pigmentation problems can be caused by excessive UV exposure from the sun. It is the most common cause of pigmentation

  • Hormonal – as seen in Melasma or Chlorasma. This is a type of pigmentation usually caused by pregnancy or the oral contraceptive pill (OCP). It is more common in darker skin types.

  • Birthmarks & Acquired Pigmentation – Skin pigmentation can be present at birth (birthmarks) or they can appear in childhood or even adulthood. Examples of these include Cafe au Lait spots, Spilus Naevus and Hori’s Macule.

  • Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) - This can be the result of a physical trauma to the skin eg a burn or cut. It can also result from acne or a medi-cosmetic treatment. It usually resolves spontaneously but if can take several months or years.

How Do You Know What Type Of Pigmentation You Have?

A skin check by a specially trained certified doctor is always the best place to start before any medi-cosmetic procedure to ensure that these ‘sun spots’ aren’t pre-cancerous or a Basal Cell or Squamous Cell Carcinoma (BCC/SCC) or even a Malignant Melanoma. On site we have all facilities necessary for these skin checks.

We then recommend having a comprehensive skin assessment by our medi-cosmetic nurses. Our skin consultation includes a digital skin analysis using clinical imaging to see the extent, depth and type of pigmentation below your skins surface. This is vital information as it dictates how we treat your pigmentation concerns.

If you do suffer from pigmentation, be reassured there is help available, but choose wisely where you go to get that help. Inappropriate or too aggressive treatment can be disastrous but with the correct treatment approach and the guidance of experienced professionals, you can regain control of your skin and start to get your confidence back.

Treatment for Sun Spots, Pigmentation & Melasma

At Laserclear Cosmetic Clinic we specialise in the treatment of sun spots, pigmentation, melasma and premature aging caused by damage from sun exposure. We offer a tailored range of:

  • Medical Grade Peels & products including skin lightening agents - This offers a gentle approach with minimal downtime which take a longer period of time with up to 6 treatments for optimal results.

  • Medical Grade Lasers including our popular ‘Limelight’ Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) photo rejuvenation system. This offers a non-invasive approach to treating pigmentation effectively with minimal discomfort and noticeable improvement not only in pigmentation but in skin tone and texture after only 2 treatments.

  • Medical Grade Pearl & Pearl Fractional Laser is specifically designed for those who need a more invasive treatment and is best suited to those whos skin has developed wrinkles, lines or crepiness on the skin surface from premature aging caused by sun exposure. We are the only clinic on the central coast that offers Pearl & Pearl Fractional laser for skin resurfacing guaranteed to give you great results after just 1 treatment.

What are Medical Grade Peels?

Medical grade peels include a wide range of exfoliating procedures that produce a peeling effect on the skin. The aim of any peel is to remove the skin’s outer layer, the stratum corneum which is composed primarily of dead cells. The removal of this layer enhances the creation of the healthy layer beneath. When performed properly, peels can effectively diminish the appearance of age spots, sun damage and fine lines with little to no trauma to healthy cells. Using medical grade ingredients, peels encourage gentle, effective skin renewal and are an excellent way of treating pigmentation caused by sun damage.

Is a peel benifical for me?

Practically anyone can benefit from a peel. Whether you’re looking to address a specific skin concern, improve texture and tone, address sun damage concerns or simply refresh your complexion peels can be customized to fit your needs. Before any peel, our medi cosmetic nurses will assess certain key elements such as skin type, skin density, sun damage and natural hydration to see which peel is right for you.

How often should I have a peel?

Peels vary in strength and efficacy so recommendations for the frequency of a peel can vary from as little as 1 week up to 6 weeks apart. The type of peel and the time between each peel will vary as the skin starts to respond and strengthen. For best results a course of peel from 2 to 6 is recommended depending on peel type and skin concerns. Below is an overview of some of our the most popular peels we offer but our consultation and skin analysis will tailor a peel combination that is ideal for you.

Are all peels the same?

Peels can vary in strength, depth and intensity and depending on the choice of peel our staff recommends, you may either experience a mild flaking of the skin known as metabolic peeling which achieves dramatic results without irritation or recovery time. Our deeper dermal peels produce moderate peeling and redness of the whole face 3-5 days after the procedure. Your specific skin concern, along with our comprehensive skin assessment, unique combinations and comprehensive range of peels will help establish the most effective solution for you.

Chemical Peels Skin Selection
  • Lactic Peels

Lactic peels have many benefits for the skin. Lactic peels are a popular choice for a first-time peel or for those with sensitive skins as lactic acid is found in dairy products and is metabolised naturally in the body. Therefore, it minimises the chance of an allergic reaction. They exfoliate the surface of the skin removing the layer of dead, dry skin cells, toxins, and debris that are on the skin. They also help the skin to maintain it’s ideal PH level. Stimulation of natural collagen production will even out skin tone and texture and improve hyper pigmentation of the skin, fade sun spots which will brighten and lighten the skin, and improve the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

Lactic acid peels also help to improve acne and dry up oily skin. They are therefore ideal for people who suffer from excess sebum as they gently exfoliate the skin to unclog oil-filled sebaceous glands and deep clean pores refining pore size and reducing the appearance of open pores.

  • Vitamin A Peels

One of the best features of a Vitamin A peel is that it is non-acidic and it works at the deeper dermal layer so you do not feel any burning or experience peeling and yet the results are outstanding. With aging, cell turnover of the skin slows down, which means that thick, dead, sun damaged cells remain on the surface of your skin. The Vitamin A peel stimulates collagen and elastin production and increases blood and oxygen flow to the skin essentially feeding the skin from the inside out, a process that takes only a few weeks. This along with the exfoliation of dead skin cells improves sun damage and fine lines. Pore size improves and the skin is softer and smoother. You may experience some flaking of the skin a couple of days after the procedure

  • Vitamin C Peels

Vitamin C peels are ideal for those concerned with sun damage. Their powerful antioxidant properties help to brightens and renew whilst protecting the skin from free radical damage caused by sun exposure. An anti-aging must that’s gentle enough even for sensitive skins. Vitamin C peels also penetrates deep into the skin to help restore collagen production and elasticity improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. They also helps reduce the appearance of brown spots and other types of sun damage, reduce inflammation and irritation, both of which cause a cascade of damage and fade post-breakout red marks by improving skin’s natural healing response.

  • Jessner Peels

Based upon salicylic acid, lactic acid and resorcinol, our Jessner peels are used primarily as a preparation peel for medium to deep peeling such as TCA but can be used effectively to treat areas of hyperpigmentation, (melasma's in particular). After treatment, the skin will look younger, tighter and fresher than it did before due to its composition & strength. Ideal for a more mature, sun damaged skin its collagen stimulating qualities ensure great results every time with only a mild peeling effect expected.

  • TCA Peels (Trichloroacetic Acid) 25% and 40%.

Our TCA peels are available in two different versions 25% (which provides medium-depth remodelling) and 40% (which offers the deepest & therefore more efficient remodelling). TCA peels will improve colour, freshness, texture, skin tone and improve fine lines and wrinkles. They also help to remove superficial discoloration, such as age spots and are ideal for those who want a deeper peel with minimal down time. As these are higher strength peels they contain a topical anaesthetic to mimimise discomfort & peeling of the skin is expected from day 2 until about day 5.

What is Limelight?

Limelight is an advanced programmable Intense-Pulsed Light (IPL) treatment, a non-invasive approach to targeting sunspots and pigmentation. It also has the advantage of improving skin tone and texture associated with aging and sun damage by stimulating collagen production and improves discoloration, redness and broken capillaries. It is commonly called a ‘photo rejuvenation facial’.

What areas can be treated?

Limelight is ideal for your face, neck, décolletage or any areas of the body that has brown spots, skin redness or tiny veins. These previously difficult to resolve concerns now respond really well to this treatment.

How does Limelight feel?

Patients can expect a mild pinching or stinging sensation when the pulse of light is delivered. It causes minimal discomfort but an anaesthetic gel, zimmer cooling system and cool gel are all available at Laserclear Cosmetic Clinic to ensure that your treatment is not just effective but comfortable.

How does this treatment work?

Using a Limelight IPL hand piece areas of the skin are heated quickly absorbing the IPL light and becoming hot. This light penetrates the tissue and is absorbed by the melanin when treating sun spots or blood when treating red spots, red veins or redness damaging these targets. The heat breaks down the pigmentation which then rises to the skin’s surface and flakes away naturally within 1-2 weeks. Red cells are broken into tiny particles which are filtered away through the lymphatic system in your body. These processes remove the injured tissue giving the skin a more even tone and texture and a more youthful appearance due to collagen stimulation generated by the heat.

What happens after the treatment?

Immediately following treatment brown spots will start to darken and your skin may appear red and may be mildly swollen. This typically lasts a few hours but can last a day or longer. Aloe vera gel and ice is applied after the treatment to cool and soothe the skin. Make-up can be applied immediately after your treatment to cover the redness.

When will I see results?

Within 1 week on the face and up to 3 weeks on other areas the darkened spots will flake off and fade. Diffuse redness or tiny veins will decrease and mottled complexion and skin tone and texture will improve within 3-4 weeks.

How many treatments are recommended?

Usually only 1-3 treatments are required 4-6 weeks apart. Additional treatments may be recommended, especially for excessively sun damaged skin.

Will the spots and redness reappear over time?

New brown spots, tiny veins and diffuse redness may appear with new sun damage therefore maintenance treatments annually are recommended. Good skin care is important – always remember to apply broad-spectrum 50+ SPF sunscreen when outdoors to minimise further sun damage and to decrease the reappearance of new spots and redness. Using skin care products with antioxidants such as Vitamin C and skin lightening agent also help with maintenance. Avoiding prolonged periods of sun exposure also helps.

Can Limelight be part of a combination therapy?

Yes. Our tailored approach addressing individual concerns often includes peels and lightening agents which can be used to maintain the results of the Limelight’s IPL technology. Adding a skin lightening agent designed to tackle pigmentation to your skincare regime helps reduce reoccurrence of pigmentation and can help turn back time.

What is Pearl Laser?

The Pearl laser is an ablative resurfacing laser that targets pigmentation but is also a skin tightening solution to improve fine lines and rejuvenate sun damaged skin. With as little as 3 days down time this one off treatment offers amazing results for those concerned with more extensive sun damage including sun spots and redness,

What is Pearl Fractional Laser?

Pearl Fractional is a new, fractional laser designed to improve imperfections due to aging, scarring and sun damage. Used in combination with Pearl laser (referred to as Pearl Fusion) it offers the best combination with minimal recovery time. Clients notice improvement not only in pigmentation but an overall smoother, brighter complexion with noticeable improvenment in crepiness and deeper wrinkles.

What does Fractional mean, (how does the Pearl Fractional treatment work)

Fractional therapy describes a treatment that affects only a fraction or small percentage of the skin. With Pearl Fractional, laser pulses treat damaged cells deep in the skin. During the procedure, the laser uses heat to create tiny holes deep in the skin. This fractional treatment selectively removes columns of tissue leaving the surrounding skin intact. The process shortens healing time and removes sun-damaged tissue which then stimulates the body’s own processes for creating new collagen growth resulting in healthy, new skin, full of fresh collagen. This plumps the skin from below, repairing sun damage and other skin imperfections.

How many treatments are recommended?

Most patients will see a significant improvement between 30% to 70% after just one treatment.

In cases where there is severe scarring or sun damage, more treatments may be necessary.

Who is a candidate for Pearl Fractional?

Patients with light-to-medium skin tones and moderate skin imperfections due to sun damage, aging, post acne scarring or trauma scarring will benefit from a Pearl Fractional treatment.

What areas of the face can be treated?

Pearl Fractional can treat the entire face and is uniquely effective in the delicate periorbital (around the eyes) and perioral (around the mouth) areas. These areas often show the first signs of aging and can be the most challenging to treat.

How does a Pearl Fractional treatment feel?

Most patients describe the treatment as a series of fast, hot pinches. A topical numbing cream is applied to the skin prior to treatment to alleviate some discomfort and oral analgesia and local anaesthetic can also be used. A zimmer cooling system is also available at Laserclear Cosmetic Clinic to ensure that your treatment is not just effective but comfortable.

Are there any restrictions on my activity after Pearl Fractional Treatment?

After treatment, the skin looks sun burnt, is red and swollen. Pin point bleeding and oozing is also a common post procedure effect. Little discomfort is reported after treatment and is easily managed with the correct aftercare. During post care, patients apply an occlusive ointment to the skin for four to five days, specific make up can be used within 24 hours afterwards if desired. Most client take 5-10 days to fully recover. It is very important that there is little or no sun exposure during the recovery period.

Can Pearl Fractional be part of combination therapy treatment?

Many patients have a Pearl Fractional treatment in combination with other cosmetic therapies. These include Peels and Limelight. For further information visit www.cutera.com.au

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