Are pigmentation, sun damage, unwanted freckles brown spots or age spots spoiling the look of your skin, eroding your self-confidence, or making you seem older than your years? Then you should know that specialised lasers and IPL’s treat freckles & pigmentation effectively, safely and permanently. These light based treatments are non-invasive, suitable for both body and face, and deliver “cleaner” looking skin with improved clarity and a more even tone in just a visit or two.
How do lasers and IPL’s treat pigmentation and freckles?
These light based treatments are designed to selectively target dark concentrations of melanin, the molecule that gives pigment its colour. They beam highly concentrated pulses of light onto the skin where they are absorbed by the melanin in unwanted pigment. Rapid absorption of light energy heats the pigment, causing the destruction of melanin-rich cells and resulting in the eventual fading of the pigmentation or freckle. The surrounding skin remains untouched.
Does all pigmentation respond to laser treatment?
No. Laser and IPL works best on sun damage, freckles and age spots. Light based treatments are not ideal for hormonally based pigmentation, called melasma, or for pigmentation that appears after an injury or infection, called post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. These types of pigment respond best to skin lightening products.
Do I need IPL or Fraxel?
Whilst both treatments work well on pigment and freckling, they do so in slightly different ways and have slightly different outcomes. Our Broadband Light device is an advanced IPL treatment that very effectively eliminates suitable pigmentation in 1-2 sessions. The Fraxel not only removes pigment, but also penetrates more deeply into the skin. It is the ideal solution for those who not only want to erase pigment, but also want to improve the quality and texture of their skin.
What do pigmentation and freckle treatments involve?
- Your doctor will review your medial history to confirm your suitability for this treatment, discuss your concerns, photograph the area to be treated and decide on the appropriate pigmentation and freckle treatment for you.
- You may view before and after photos of other patients’ outcomes to give you a realistic expectation of your result, as well as photos of what you might expect to look like during our recovery.
- The light beams are emitted as controlled flashes or pulses. They are non-invasive and will feel like a series of quick stings, similar to a rubber band flicking on your skin. A cold gel (similar to ultrasound gel) is sometimes spread over the treatment area to help keep the skin cool and comfortable and to help focus the light beam. Laughing gas and/or numbing creams are available for those who need them.
- Protective glasses are worn throughout the procedure.
- You may experience a sensation of heat following each pulse and will be offered an ice pack if needed to help reduce this sensation quickly.
Is treatment painful?
The level of discomfort is different for every person depending on sensitivity; other considerations include the location and surface area to be treated, and whether Fraxel or IPL are used. Numbing cream and/or laughing gas will be recommended as needed and your preferences can be discussed with your doctor prior to treatment.
What should I expect after treatment?
Immediately following treatment pigmentation and freckles will darken and look more obvious before fading and ‘flaking’ away over 4-14 days, depending on which part of the body is treated and which laser is used.
Short term redness and sensitivity may develop in the surrounding skin and temporary swelling under the eyes may be experienced following treatment to the upper cheeks. Makeup may be worn immediately.
Read More about post procedural care.
How many treatments will I need?
One or two treatments a month apart usually suffice to eliminate the majority of freckles and pigmented blemishes, though more extensive or resistant conditions may do best over a short course of treatments.
How long will results last?
Results are long lasting with proper care and ongoing sun avoidance. An SPF 30 sunscreen should be used on a daily basis, at least for the first month after treatment and preferably lifelong. Your doctor may recommend a home skin care regime that will help maintain your improved appearance.
Am I suitable for pigmentation and freckle treatments?
Most people are suitable for pigmentation and freckle treatments, except those with very dark skin or those who are darkly tanned. Treatment is best performed when skin is at its palest. Superficial pigmentation such as that caused by sun damage (sun spots) and freckles respond best.
Certain types of pigmentation such as some birthmarks, moles, malignancies or melasma, which is often hormonally stimulated, are not suitable for this treatment.
Marks or moles that are unevenly coloured or black, are raised or thickened, itch or bleed, or have grown or changed shape or colour are not suitable for treatment and should be reviewed by a dermatologist.
Pigmented tags and nodules respond better to treatment using the Erbium laser.
Contraindications for treatment include:
- Pregnancy. Though no specific complications are anticipated, as a precaution we prefer not to treat pregnant women.
- Presence of active cold sores or other infections in the areas to be treated.
- Moles or suspicious lesions as described above.
- Use of Roaccutane for acne in the preceding 12 months, as this may compromise healing.
- Recent tanning, either natural or artificial, as this interferes with the absorption of light into pigment. Treatment should be postponed until the tan has faded.
- Seizure disorders that are triggered by light.
Keloid scarring, connective tissue disease, immunosuppression or autoimmune disorders, vitiligo or uncontrolled diabetes may be contraindications for this treatment. Your suitability for treatment will be assessed at your initial consultation.
Possible side effects and complications
BBL treatments are intended to be gentle and safe. However, the possibility of complications cannot be entirely eliminated whenever a skin procedure is performed.
Redness, swelling, pigment changes, blistering, crusting, infection and scarring are risks of any treatment that penetrates the skin.