Through years of exposure to the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays people often develop raised or flat spots on the skin which are dark brown, tan, or even blue-black. It’s not unusual to have larger areas of splotchiness due to uneven skin tone, on the face, neck, hands, arms and chest. Commonly these areas are often referred to as moles, sunspots, freckles, birthmarks or age spots. Medical terminology categorizes these conditions as pigmented lesions.
Through the proper use of a laser device or Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) device these pigmented lesions can be easily and painlessly removed. The laser light or IPL is directed to the area of pigmentation where the energy is absorbed by the lesion. This absorption of energy by the lesion causes the pigment to break up. Initially, the treated pigmented lesions appear slightly darker. However, over a period of approximately 7-10 days the lesion will begin to develop a fine crust, which will flake off, leaving your underlying skin with a smooth, and natural skin tone. Most pigmented lesions can be removed in one or two treatments. Larger or deeper lesions, melasma (mask of pregnancy) or areas of splotchiness may require more treatments.
Since treatments are non-invasive and are usually accomplished in less that 30 minutes, patients need not take time off work or interrupt their busy schedule to get their skin back to its beautiful, natural , healthy color.
Is it painful?
By cooling the skin prior, during, and after treatment most patients do not find this procedure painful, although in some cases there might be a minimum amount of discomfort. The feeling has often been described as being snapped by a rubber band on your skin. For patients that are extra sensitive to pain we can prescribe a topical anesthetic cream to be applied 45 minutes before coming in for the procedure, but few patients find this necessary.
After the procedure the pigmented lesions get darker, is this noticeable?
Immediately after the procedure the pigmented lesions might be surrounded by mild erythema (redness) which usually dissipates in 1-2 hours. Usually even the patient may not notice that the lesion itself has gotten darker, but this darkening may occur over a couple of days.
Am I allowed to use makeup to cover the treated areas?
There is no problem with covering the area with makeup immediately after treatment.
Are there any special skin care procedures I must follow after being treated for the removal of these pigmented lesions?
No, there are no special requirements. However if you are using retinA products or glycolic acids, you should discontinue them for several days before and after a procedure. As with any good skin care regimen we recommend that you wash your face in the evening, before bed, and apply a suitable moisturizer. Of course during the day you should always wear a moisturizer that contains a UVA and UVB sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 (this is true whether or not you have any procedure performed). LaserMed also stocks a complete line of physician based skin care products that can speed up the healing process of laser based procedures.
Which areas can be treated?
Individual spots can be treated for isolated occurrences or the whole area of the face, neck, chest, arms, and legs can be treated if necessary.
Is the treatment safe?
Yes, the treatment is very safe. It is the recommended treatment by the American Academy of Dermatology. The chances of scarring or hypopigmentation are less than 2% and even these rare cases resolve over a couple of months.
How much does it cost?
Charges are based upon the size of the area to be treated and the number of sessions required. Most pigmented lesions can be treated in 2-3 sessions and costs start at $300 per session for the whole face or the chest, but less if individual lesions are being treated. Fractioned CO2 removes sun damage in one treatment. LaserMed Skin & Vein Clinic also offers Care Credit Patient Payment plans.