Pigmentation Treatment in Singapore
Pigmentation & Freckles Removal Treatment
All of us want to have that flawlessly smooth and blemish-free skin. Unfortunately for the Asian skin, this may involve a little bit more of attention and effort.
While often admired for their porcelain-like skin complexion, being more prone to hyperpigmentation issues than any other ethnic races certainly gets in the way of a spotless skin. It is no wonder why skin lightening or brightening products rank among the most in-demand cosmetic products among Asians to treat skin discoloration issues from freckles, age spots and melasma.
Compared to other races, Asians are known to produce more melanin, which is a pigment that gives your skin, hair and even the eyes their color. More than being a determinant of your skin color, melanin actually holds a great benefit in protecting your skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays of the sun.
However, increased exposure to the sun stimulates the production of melanin. When overproduction of melanin occurs, this results in the pigmented sections of the skin. Apart from excessive sun exposure, skin pigmentation can also happen from skin inflammation, such as acne. This can darken even further when exposed to sunlight.
The good thing about skin pigmentation is that these are generally harmless and are nothing more than just cosmetic concerns. However, these unsightly skin discolorations get in the way of your quest for flawlessly smooth skin. But just like any other skin concern, there are definitely effective ways to address your skin woes.
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1. What are the common types of skin pigmentation?
There are different types of pigmentation. So that dark spot on your face could very well be different from that found on other parts of your body. Here are some of the common types of skin pigmentation.
This is a common type of hyperpigmentation that is characterized by brown to gray-brown patches on the face, more specifically on the cheeks, forehead, chin, nose, and above the upper lip, often triggered by sun exposure or hormonal changes. While both men and women are likely to develop melasma, it is often more common among women. It is also referred to as Chloasma or the mask of pregnancy when present during pregnancy.
Also known as freckles, these light brown to reddish small circular spots are often revered as a beauty mark in some people. But for others, it can be a major skin flaw. Freckles are caused due to an uneven distribution of melanin at one area of the skin, which occur either by genetics or excessive sun exposure. Freckles caused by sun exposure are often much darker and irregular in shape compared to a simple freckle.
c. Solar Lentigines
These are also popularly known as age spots or liver spots. As the popular name implies, this skin pigmentation occurs in older skin and usually begins to manifest after the age of 40. These are often light brown to black in color and are usually located in areas of the skin often exposed to the sun. Apart from the natural aging process, lentigines can occur earlier due to excessive sun exposure, as well as frequent use of tanning lamps or beds.
d. Cafe-au-lait macules
Derived from its meaning “coffee with milk”, café-au-lait macules or spots are characterized for its light to dark brown color. They are typically oval in shape not more than 5 to 15 mm in diameter and usually appear during infancy or childhood. While it can develop in any part of the body, café-au-lait macules are usually found in the trunk area. However, the presence of several café-au-lait spots in the body may indicate systemic disorder.
e. Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation
This is a type of hyperpigmentation that is caused by an increase in melanin production due to an inflammatory response. This happens when a trauma occurs in the epidermal or dermal layers of the skin, such as acne, skin injury, dermatitis, skin infection or allergies. This can result in dark pigmented patches, which usually come in dirty brown to rusty brown in color on the areas where the injury or inflammation is previously present.
Birthmark is a skin pigmentation that is neither caused by genetics or sun exposure. In fact, the exact cause is still unknown. However, the overgrowth of blood vessels, melancolytes and fibrosis, as well as the imbalance of the development of the skin cells, contribute to the development of birthmarks.
There are two distinct types of birthmarks. Pigmented birthmarks are a result of the overproduction of melancolytes, which include moles and café-au-lait. Vascular birthmarks, on the other hand, are caused by vascular irregularities on the skin’s surface.
The above-mentioned skin discoloration disorders are categorized as hyperpigmentation, where there is an overproduction of melanin. On the other hand, vitiligo is a type of hypopigmentation disorder, where there is a loss of pigmentation. It can affect any part of the body and usually appear in blotches.
3. What are the available treatments for pigmentation?
Treatments for uneven skin pigmentation can range from the simple to the more aggressive treatments. Such treatments include:
a. Sun Protection
This is not entirely a treatment, but rather a prevention for pigmentation issues to further occur. Prevention is better than cure, as they say. It is recommended that you should apply an SPF 30 broad-spectrum sunscreen 20 minutes prior to sun exposure, making sure to reapply throughout the day.
b. Home Remedies
There are several home remedies that have been known to be effective in treating hyperpigmentation. While these kitchen solutions are cheap and convenient, improvements in lightening the dark spots are not as dramatic and as significant as with professional treatments.
c. Topical Creams
Beauty products or prescription creams formulated with skin lightening ingredients, such as glycolic acid and azaleic acid, are excellent in correcting skin pigmentation through regular use.
d. Chemical Peel
While prescription creams are effective solutions to skin discoloration, the results may not be as immediate. Chemical peel is an intensive treatment that is excellent in correcting skin pigmentation by using chemicals of different strength to peel off targeted layers of the skin (Rendon 2010). As the old skin layer is slough off, the process results in the resurfacing of new skin layers to reveal a smoother and blemish-free skin.
This aesthetic treatment uses rough crystals or other abrasive substances to buff out the outer layer of the skin. This procedure helps in stimulating healthy cell turnover, which can help reduce pigmentation problems (Shim et.al, 2001).
e. Skin Laser Resurfacing
Another efficient treatment for skin discoloration is the use of non-ablative skin laser resurfacing treatment (Ho et.al 1995). Delivering high pulses of energy, it directs heat to targeted areas of the skin and destroys the melancolytes without damaging the surrounding areas. This is an effective treatment in eradicating uneven pigmentation.
3. What is the best treatment for me?
Your doctor will first determine the type of pigmentation through a careful and thorough consultation. From there, an appropriate treatment will be recommended, taking into consideration your specific skin type and pigmentation condition.
This is a crucial step that needs to be highly considered to prevent any further pigmentation from occurring and to provide you with best results. In certain cases, a combination of treatments may be recommended to achieve significant and dramatic results.
4. Is it painful?
Microdermabrasion and skin laser resurfacing treatments are both non-invasive and are virtually pain-free. Minimal redness and swelling on the treated area may be experienced immediately after the treatment, which will eventually subside after a couple of hours.
On the other hand, a chemical peel may be painful depending on the strength of the chemical used for your treatment. The stronger the solution, the more painful it will be. In most cases, the pain you will experience in superficial and medium peels is generally tolerable. However, deep peels will require an application of local anesthetic prior to your treatment.
5. How long does the treatment take?
Depending on the procedure, one treatment session may take 15 to 30 minutes.
6. How many sessions do I need to effectively get rid of pigmentation?
Skin pigmentation is one of the most common skin problems, yet one of the most difficult to treat as well. Regardless of the procedure recommended for your skin and pigmentation type, several treatment sessions spaced appropriately will be needed to achieve the best and desired results in lightening dark spots and providing you with an even skin tone.
Dr. Tyng Tan, understands the most common concerns that affect Asian skin, which include skin pigmentation. She is highly experienced in performing laser resurfacing treatments, as well as chemical peel and microdermabrasion treatments.
The cost of skin pigmentation treatment will depend on the required number of sessions, which will be discussed in detail during your confidential consultation with Dr. Tan. She will carefully and thoroughly assess your skin pigmentation condition and provide you with a personalized treatment that will finally even out and bring out your natural skin tone.
To learn how we can help you with your skin pigmentation concerns, call us now and schedule your confidential consultation with Dr. Tyng Tan to reveal a clear complexion that you have been dreaming of.
Shim EK, Barnette D, Hughes K, Greenway HT. Microdermabrasion: A clinical and histopathologic study. Dermatol Surg 2001;27:524-30. [PubMed]
Marta I. Rendon, Diane D Berson et al., ‘Evidence and Considerations in the Application of Chemical Peels in Skin Disorders and Aesthetic Resurfacing’, Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, (2010), pp.32-43. [PubMed]
Ho C, Nguyen Q, Lowe NJ, Griffin ME, Lask G. Laser resurfacing in pigmented skin. Dermatol Surg. 1995 Dec;21(12):1035-7. [Abstract]
DISCLAIMER: Dr Tyng Tan Aesthetics and Hair Clinic website provides general information about medical aesthetic treatments and procedures. It must be remembered that individual client’s circumstances may vary and each treatment may not be suitable for all.
Our website serves as basic information for clients and does not substitute a detailed and personal consultation with a practitioner.