Pigmentation Removal FAQ’s
What types of brown spots or pigmented lesions will laser remove?
Is laser safe?
Can laser remove my normal skin pigment also?
It is not our aim to remove or fade your skins natural pigmentation. However lasers have been designed to selectively target dark groups of melanin. This means that if you continue with laser treatments once your concern has been dealt with, it is possible that your skin can get lighter. Our therapists have the experience to let you know when it is time to give laser a break to prevent this from happening. However if you do continue with treatments and experience these white patches, don’t stress! Your body’s natural regenerative processes will replace the melanin after a period of time, returning the skin to its natural colour.
Are there any Precautions to take during treatment?
As with all laser treatments, you must avoid exposure to direct sunlight before, during, and after your treatments. As well as avoidance, you must also wear SPF daily. At City Laser Clinic, our experienced laser therapists will advise you based on your skin type and the nature of the treatments that you are receiving. We will sometimes need to refer you to your GP for assessment. If we find ourselves in doubt, we will not treat until a Medical Clearance is provided.
Does it hurt?
Yes. But how painful it’s going to be depends on your sensitivity level. To put it into perspective, most clients don’t ask for any pain control during the treatment. They compare the discomfort to a mild sunburn – which isn’t too bad. Another factor that might contribute to the pain you might feel include the area that we are treating. For example, your underarm or brazilian area will understandably be much more sensitive than your leg. Your laser therapist will discuss your options with you based upon your own tolerance and the body area to be treated.
Are there any possible side effects?
A small percentage of clients treated may experience side effects (unwanted outcomes). These side effects are usually temporary and mild, though can be more severe and longer term. They include:
Though rare and more likely with darker skin types, scarring can occur with all skin types. Especially if you don’t follow the required precautions before, during and after treatment.
Hyper-pigmentation (darker skin)
Can occur because of inflammation caused by laser treatment. A brown mark appears that usually takes some months to fade with the help of a lightening cream.
Hypo-pigmentation (lighter skin)
Laser treatment can cause a loss of skin pigmentation in the treated area. This pigmentation usually returns but can take up to 18 months and in very rare cases can take so long that is considered permanent.
Bacterial or viral infection
Any infection in a wound created by a laser has the potential for scarring. The laser may also trigger a herpes simplex outbreak if you already have the virus. Note: Laser cannot cause herpes, only trigger it.
How does it look afterwards?
The area will feel hot, similar to a sunburn. Any discomfort you may have will disappear after a few hours. Over the next few days, a scab or crust will develop over the area which looks darker than the original lesion. This will last between 12-18 days depending on the size and site (longer on arms and legs). As tempting as it may be, please don’t pick the scabs. Let them fall off on their own or you may cause scarring. When the scab comes off [on it’s own], the area will be pink for another couple of weeks and then will return to its final colour.
How much area can be covered in one laser treatment?
At least 80% of all common pigmented lesions can be removed with one laser treatment. If your lesion covers a large area, we may advise you to treat the area in several stages to avoid unnecessary discomfort.
How long will the healing process take?
Everyone heals at various rates depending on the depth of laser treatment, the particular areas treated and your own health and condition. Noticeable results are typically seen in a few weeks. Some areas may take up to 12 weeks for the full laser treatment benefits to become apparent.
Can the excess pigmentation come back?
Common pigmented lesions do not return. Some lesions may return after several months to a year. However the procedure can be repeated with similar results. The conditions that we treat vary in extent and severity from client to client. Consequently, each client response to any laser treatment does vary, and we are unable to guarantee individual results. Unprotected sun exposure on the area will definitely stimulate the Melanocytes and the treated lesion/s will return. New pigmentation can also arise and be successfully treated.
What type of post-treatment care is necessary?
You can shower the next day but please avoid scrubbing the treated area. If the treated was on your face, you can wear makeup over the scabbing. However please use extra cleanser and take extra care when removing the makeup. You don’t want to accidentally rub the scabbing off if you’re too harsh with your skin!
Since most pigmented lesions are caused by sun exposure, it is important that you always wear sunscreen. If you do not wear a protective sunscreen, you will get further sun damage and therefore new lesions. We can remove the sun damage that you have but we cannot prevent new sun damage from occurring.