What is Laser Brown Spot Removal?
Melanocytes are cells that protect the skin from ultraviolet light by producing melanin, the dark pigment in skin tans. Over time, sun exposure, hormonal changes, and some medications may cause melanocytes to group together and produce excess pigment, which darkens the skin cells surrounding the melanocytes. When these cells rise to the epidermis, they produce brown spots, age spots, and freckles.
The laser emits a beam of light energy that is absorbed by the melanin, which vaporizes the blemish. This creates a small red or grey colored burn that produces a scab within several days. The healing time for the treated area is normally 7 - 10 days. The healed skin is initially pink but regains pigmentation and blends into the surrounding skin.
During the treatment, you will be asked to put on protective eyewear. The laser handpiece is placed against the skin and a short pulse of light is released. At the same time, a small jet of cryogen (extremely cold gas) is released to cool the skin. The handpiece is moved to the neighboring area and the process is repeated until the entire brown spot has been treated. Most clients describe the sensation of the pulses as similar to the snap of a rubber band.
Who are the best candidates for Laser Brown Spot Removal?
Clients with darker skin (Fitzpatrick scale 5 or greater) are not candidates for this procedure because the skin surrounding the brown spot could absorb too much laser energy and produce a more serious burn. The darkest skin tones suitable for this treatment can best be described as "light Hispanic". This includes clients with darker skin due to natural or artificial tans. Laser brown spot removal is not appropriate for the treatment of melasma (larger areas of diffuse brown coloration).
What are the benefits?
Laser brown spot removal works immediately by vaporizing the brown spot and social downtime is limited. The alternative of prescription skin bleaching creams, RetinA, and vitamin C serums, in conjunction with the daily use of a broad spectrum sunscreen, usually require 9 - 18 months to completely fade brown spots.
What equipment does ALS use for Laser Brown Spot Removal?
We use the Candela GentleLASE Plus, an Nd:YAG 755nm Alexandrite laser.View Candela GentleLASE PlusGentleLASE Plus laser image
How many treatments do you need?
It usually takes 1-3 treatments for the pigmented lesion. We ask our clients to return 4 - 6 weeks after the treatment for a follow up exam to ensure that no residual pigment remains, and would retreat at the time, if necessary.
Things you should know.
This procedure does not prevent new brown spots from forming, even in the treated area. Melanocytes are a normal component of the skin and new groupings of melanocytes may form at any time in response to sun exposure, hormonal changes, or medications (particularly antibiotics). After treatment, you should avoid sun exposure and use a broad spectrum sunscreen (minimum 30 SPF) every day.
The laser will remove acquired freckling but genetic freckles usually return after treatment because your body naturally continues to replace the cells that created that type of freckle.
In addition to the mild burn that results from this treatment, blistering, discomfort, bruising, pigmentation changes, scarring, or infection are rare but possible occurrences at the site of the procedure.