Facial pigmentation is a very common problem in Australia. The majority of pigmentation is caused by damage to the skin by the sun. Some pigmentation is due to hereditary factors, while are others may be due to interaction between the sun and hormones.
The most distressing and difficult to treat facial pigmentation is that due to interaction between the sun and female hormones. It is of course exclusively a complaint seen in women. It is due to an interaction between oestrogens and Ultraviolet light. It is seen most commonly in women of Asian descent or those who tend to have an olive or darker complexion. The pigment tends to be symmetrical and occurs on the forehead, cheeks,top lip and chin. It tends to be more obvious in summer than in winter. This pigmentation known as Melasma, can occur in two forms – epidermal ( superficial ) or dermal ( deep ) .
The former tends to be darker in intensity while the latter tends to light. Correct assessment of any facial pigmentation has to be undertaken prior to any treatment as peels or laser or Intense Pulsed Light ( IPL ) treatments to dermal melasma can in fact make the pigment worse. As yet there are no safe treatments that can clear Melasma. In some individuals, Melasma can be improved with IPL or Fraxel treatments, but once again careful assessment and patient selection is important. To complicate matters, Melasma is not always symmetrical and may appear as a large sun damaged spot.
Sun damaged pigmentation or age spots also known as Lentigines and freckles (Ephilides) are very effectively treated by Intense Pulsed Light treatments. Often a single treatment is all that is required to clear the lesions. These lesions are selectively targeted by the pulsed light and the heat created burns the pigment sparing normal skin. The pigment becomes darker as it is damaged and as it migrates through the skin layers and eventually exfoliates leaving a clear patch of skin. Following treatment the face fells hot and maybe reddish like a sunburn. This settles in about 2 hours.
The hands and arms may also be treated with Intense Pulsed Light.
Sun damaged skin of the face as well as fine lines may also be treated with Co2 laser – Ultrapulse treatment.
Cost of Treatment
Costs are dependent on the area that needs treatment and the modality that is used for treatment.