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Pigmentation


All pigmentation is made up of melanin. Melanin as well as protecting the skin from ultraviolet rays also it conveys colour to the skin and hair.  An increase in the amount of exposure to ultraviolet radiation will result in an increase in the amount of melanin in the skin and cause a tanning effect.
 
What are the different types of pigmentations?
 
There are different types of skin conditions that are classed under pigmentation
  • Brown age spots or liver spots - These area accumulations of melanin in the upper layer of the skin usually as a result of sun exposure. They can also occur on any area of the body that is exposed to ultraviolet radiation.
  • Freckles - These are small spots of concentrated melanin that are stimulated in the sun
  • Café - au - lait spots are light brown spots that can appear on any area of the body
  • Birthmarks - abnormal skin colouration that occurs at or just after birth
  • Hemangioma - Tiny blood vessels that bunch together and vary in severity
  • Port-wine stains - Abnormal development of blood vessels and appear as pink , red or purple marks on the dace, trunk, legs or arms. 
What laser do i use?
 
There is no correct answer to this question as it depends on numerous factors
  • size of lesion
  • depth of lesion
  • type of lesion
  • location of lesion
  • skin type
It is usually not advisable to treat darker skin types due to the risk of hypo pigmentation (lightening of the skin)
 
Laser approach to pigmentation
 
Laser light is absorbed by the melanin where it is converted to heat causing a break-up in the pigmentation and destroys the blood vessels that feed the pigmentation. The laser is absorbed by the darker areas of the skin which is why it is specific to pigmentation disorders. This is site specific so the surrounding tissues are largely unaffected causing a rapid healing response.
 
What should i expect from the treatment?
 
Laser treatment involves delivery of high energy short pulses to the target area and as it impacts with the skin the sensation is that of a rubber band snapping. There are very little side effects associated with the treatment but mild swelling and redness is to be expected.
 
Cost
 
Every clinic will vary in price of treatments but you can expect to pay from £50 per treatment depending on the nature of the pigmentation. Most conditions can be treated with one visit.