Pigmentation Removal Treatments: A Guide from a Doctor
Face acids, retinols, chemical peel, lightening creams, dermabrasion, microdermabrasion, IPL therapy, Laser peel. The list goes on for treatments for pigmentation. Mind boggling for the layman. Pigmentation problems are common in our climate where we are easily exposed to sunlight.
But for many of us the treatments for pigmentation in Singapore are methods that we have little knowledge about, which methods suit our skin better? What are the side effects? How much is the cost? How many times of treatment are needed? A skincare doctor is the best person for answers of questions swirling in your head.
What is the Correct Diagnosis for Pigmentation?
A skincare specialist doctor is able to properly diagnose your pigmentation problem before advising on treatment options available. Generally this involves two steps. Firstly, the doctor carries out a visual inspection. The doctor will look at your skin to point out what type of pigmentation problem you are suffering from. An ordinary person may not be able to see the difference between freckles and Solar Lentigo for instance. Pinning down the right type of pigmentation will lead to the correct treatment needed. The second step if needed is a skin biopsy. The doctor will remove a small piece of skin for examination in a laboratory if he suspects skin cancer. The lab test will tell the difference between an age spot and skin cancer. The doctor will use a local anesthetic when he does the biopsy. A delay in treating will lead to the pigmentation problem become harder to remove.
Common Pigmentation Types
There are many common pigmentation types. These include Melasma. Symptoms are patches on both sides of the cheeks, or forehead. This is prevalent usually in older women of darker skin and they develop it due to hormones, age, vascular or sun exposure. Freckles are small spots scattered like pepper thrown on the skin. These occur usually on the nose and cheeks and are frequently found on younger people. Solar Lentigo resembles a bronze coin, they form as single or more spots on the face.
These are round in shape and uniform in colour and they are due to long periods under the sun. Hori’s nevus are groups of blueish grey patches on the nose, cheekbones or forehead. They are found often in middle aged Asian women and it usually runs in the family. Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation occur after injury to the skin with inflammation or infection, such as through squeezing of pimples or the use of unsuitable cosmetics. These are defined and feathery looking. Seborrheic keratosis or age spots are warty looking rough bumps found on older people with textures you can feel and often mistaken as moles.
Common Pigmentation Treatments
For the treatment of mild cases of melasma, the doctor will usually prescribe medical creams and sunblock. Melasma treatment in Singapore cost about $60 to $180 for topical creams and $50 to $100 for quality sunblocks. The doctor will watch out for side effects such as stinging of the skin, itching or redness. For more serious cases of melasma, the doctor may suggest laser or other forms of medical technology eg Sylfirm X. A series of about 10 sessions upwards is needed to see some visible and sustainable results.Melasma laser treatments packages can cost between $1500 to 3500. In some serious cases of melasma, some patients may require chemical peels and oral medications.
The same kinds of treatments goes for Post-inflammatory Hyperpigmentation. Seborrheic Keratosis or age spots are treated with electrocautery or ablative laser surgery with just 1 to 2 sessions lasting each of 10 to 20 minutes are needed. Creams are applied to alleviate the pain after such treatments and cost about $300 to $1000. Recovery time is 3 to 7 days. Treatment for freckles and solar lentigos include topical medicated cream such as hydroquinone. For more stubborn pigmentation, lasers can be used costing about $800 to $1600 for 2 to 3 sessions. There is a recovery period for each session to allow for scabs to form and the whole treatment takes about 2 to 3 months. Intense Pulse Light devices can tackle some freckles or solar Lentigos costing less at about $150 to $300. Hori’s naevus due to its deep seated pigmentation, lasers are used with 8-15 sessions and it takes about 3 to 10 months to see results. Treatment packages can cost about $2500 upwards.
Chemical peels can be used to treat fine lines and hyperpigmentation and there are superficial peels and deep peels. The former targets mild skin discolouration, using alpha hydroxy acids of AHAs, the acid is applied to penetrate only the upper layer of skin. Medium chemical peels are done by a qualified doctor using glycolic acid leaving it long enough to penetrate the dermal layer to remove damaged skin cells. It addresses sun spots and freckles, and can smoothen out skin. Even deeper peels are done using phenol and it can penetrate into the lower layer of skin riding the patient of serious age spots, freckles and scars.
This is an exfoliating technique that uses a high speed rotating instrument to remove the outer layers of the skin so as to stimulate new skin and smoother skin. This procedure is used to address sun damage, fine lines, rosacea, uneven texture and acne scars. An anaesthetic will be applied to numb the skin, the doctor will move the rotating instrument over the skin applying constant pressure to remove the skin, the procedure range from a few minutes to an hour. After the procedure your skin will be covered with a wet dressing. For more serious skin conditions, more than one session is required. This technique is now seldom used due to the risk in patients with sensitive skins and possible downtime. Procedures with less side effects and downtime are more popular with patients.
Laser treatments for pigmentation in Singapore are used to remove dead skin one layer at a time. Depending on the type of pigmentation being treated, some possible side effects include redness, swelling, acne, itchy skin,and hyperpigmentation. This method is more targeted as it is able to address the problemed skin and leave healthy skin alone. The pros of this method is that it requires little down time, and the patient can see faster results, with the production of collagen.
Expected Improvements After Treatment
Treatment results vary according to each individual’s condition and severity and lifestyle factors. In general our doctors advise seeking treatment early.
Doctor Tips to Prevent Pigmentation
Hori’s Naevus does not come back so quickly once treated. The same goes for PIH if there is no skin irritation or inflammation. However freckles, solar lentigo and melasma can relapse as these are prone to recur again with sun exposure. Hence the importance of applying sunblock regularly and investing in one that is of quality. When shopping for a sunblock look for PA+++ or broad spectrum coverage for ultraviolet A&B labels as well as one that is of the 30-50 SPF range. Remember to use sunblock even when indoors or during cloudy weather. Overall, stick to the skincare regime recommended by your doctor.
Doctor Tips to Save Money for Pigmentation Removal Treatments
Below are some tips on saving money for pigmentation removal treatments.
Ask the doctor if laser treatment is really necessary
If you are having PIH, melasma, solar lentigo and freckles, topical creams are suffice to do the trick. Creams cost about a few hundred whereas laser treatments mean coughing up thousands of dollars.
Go for results instead of the latest technology
Although the latest technology methods sound very impressive, you can save quite an amount if you choose a method that leads to results rather than something that is new. For example conventional lasers with proven results already used by doctors over a long period of time can be more cost effective compared to the latest technology. The right doctor carrying out the procedure makes the difference.
Suss out your doctor to check his experience and skills
To find an experienced and skilled doctor ask questions including how many patients has he treated for a specific problem such as solar lentigos, ask to see the photos of patients before and after treatment, and ask if there are other treatment options besides lasers.
Eeva Medical Aesthetic Clinic is one clinic you can be assured of that you are in safe hands. Here lady doctors are patient and experienced and will hear out the woes of pigmentation patients giving them a detailed examination before advising on possible treatments. Besides doing an accurate diagnosis, the doctors can advise on maintenance tips to prevent your pigmentation problems recurring.
Some treatment options at the clinic include the Korean CuRAS Laser. This is a pigmentation lessening and brightening laser. The new laser is FDA and CE approved. It boasts a M1064 setting tailored for melasma toning fading melasma spots away. It also reduces the pain during the procedure with its fractional handpiece reducing dermis damage and shortening down time. It is able to target pigmentation removal in Singapore, stimulate collagen growth with heat penetration and brighten skin.
Next comes the Klarity Brilliant Gold Toning Laser. This is a non ablative laser treatment meaning it does not burn the outer layer of skin and therefore no down time recovery is needed.
Sylfirm X is a Silicon Valley developed laser treatment that uses repeated ultra-short pulses to treat abnormal blood vessels. It treats melasma, redness, PIH, acne scars, and makes skin young again. Harnessing the SR3 technology, it uses electrodes to penetrate the dermis layer to treat melasma, hyperpigmentation to clarify skin tone and radiate skin.
At the clinic you can opt for the Pigmentation Treatment Twin Combo Laser that combines the Klarity Brilliant Gold Toning and CuRas pigmentation laser. This package reduces pigmentation, clarifies skin and makes the skin radiant.
Solving your pigmentation really boils down to choosing the right doctor who will make an accurate diagnosis of the pigmentation in order to prescribe the right treatment plan for your specific condition . Eeva Medical Aesthetic Clinic is helmed by experienced doctors with 40 years of experience in the medical and aesthetic field. Over the years the clinic has treated patients with problems including melasma, freckles, solar lentigines, Hori’s Nevus and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. The doctors are able to customise a treatment plan suited to your preferences, schedule and budget. Check out the clinic’s website to make an appointment.