As Singapore is located near the equator, we face the sun 365 days a year and are highly predisposed to getting pigmentation due to excessive ultraviolet (UV) exposure.
Men and women, in particular, are highly susceptible to pigmentation issues such as melasma, freckles, sun spots and Hori’s naevus.
Pigmentation is acknowledged by many as one of the most challenging issues to resolve on your own.
Let us first understand what is pigmentation and its causes.
What is Pigmentation?
Pigmentation is formed because of the production of melanin in our skin. Darker skin types will have more pigment present in our skin. Melanin is produced in our skin by cells called melanocytes. These melanocytes contain melanosomes which produces and stores melanin.
Pigmentation can be classified into 3 main classifications – Epidermal, Dermal & a mix of both.
- Epidermal pigmentation – (the outer layer of the skin) includes freckles, sun spots, and age spots. Such epidermal pigmentation can be identified as light to medium brown spots with well-defined margins.
- Dermal pigmentation – post-inflammatory pigmentation (pimple marks/chicken-pox marks), hori’s nevus, nevus of ota, etc. It looks more faded under the skin as compared to epidermal pigmentation. They do not have well-defined margins and are sometimes greyish-purplish-brown in colour.
- Mixed pigmentation – an example of mixed epidermal and dermal pigmentation is melasma. It takes a longer time to treat a mixture of both epidermal and dermal pigmentation.
Causes of Pigmentation
A major factor is exposure to the harmful UV radiation from the sun, resulting in increased melanin production.
Other common factors that can cause pigmentation may include:
- Hormonal changes,
- Skin trauma
- Inflammation caused by acne etc.
These factors can potentially stimulate melanocytes, the pigment-making cells in the skin, to make a surplus of pigment, causing an increase in pigment into the lower levels of the skin.
Dr Ho’s Guide to Remove Pigmentation
Here is our guide from Dr Ho Rui Ming, the Medical Director of M-Aesthetic Clinic, to remove pigmentation effectively. We offer a full range of laser treatments that treat all kinds of pigmentation. All treatment plans are customised accordingly and done in the comfort of our professional Singapore clinic.
The combination of different pathways such as topical creams, laser treatments, oral medication and supplements has proven to successfully treat pigmentation.
However, the most important part is to prevent pigmentation from recurring or flaring up again and to prevent any undesired side effects. Hence, Dr Ho will spend time to assess your skin condition before customising any treatment plans as identifying the type of pigmentation you have is the most crucial step in the pigmentation removal process.
Pigmentation Treatments that work
With the advancement in technology, the quickest and most effective way to treat and remove pigmentation is by laser treatments. We have 2 different kinds of pigment-specific lasers.
Pigmentation Lightening Laser
The popular laser treatment, which has no downtime, is also known as the “Hollywood Peel”. This is a photo-enhancer based laser treatment.
The procedure is safe on all skin types and is a fantastic way to brighten up your skin without the longer downtimes associated with other procedures!
It uses no harsh formulas or abrasive scrubbing tools, which means no bleeding and adverse chemical reactions; yet promises the instant effects one would expect from a professional face peel.
It takes about 30 minutes. The carbon lotion is applied to the skin first and the laser heats the carbon lotion to penetrate into the pores for a deep exfoliation. Then, the laser removes the carbon. With it comes dead skin cells and anything that was clogging the pores, leaving your skin clear, bright and toned.
What kind of improvement can I expect to see with this treatment?
- Improves melasma and other signs of sun damage
- Treats pigmentation
- Improves skin tone, texture and elasticity
- Brightens and tightens skin for a natural, well-rested look
- Reduces all types of acne
- Controls sebum production
- Reduces redness from inflamed acne
For best results, subsequent sessions are needed.
Thulium BB Laser
The Thulium BB Laser is a stronger laser treatment that effectively targets facial pigmentation, Melasma, brightens the skin and improves size of pores. In South Korea, many call it the BB Laser because of its ability to improve the texture and tone of the skin, just like when applying BB cream to the skin.
Thulium BB Laser is a unique sub-ablative thulium 1927nm laser for skin resurfacing and rejuvenating. The laser’s wavelength penetrates to a level between the lower part of the epidermis and dermis where it is able to target freckles, sunspots, age spots and Melasma while renewing damaged skin and stimulating collagen production.
The wavelength penetrates the upper dermis while not causing the upper layer to peel.
What kind of improvement can I expect to see with this treatment?
- Improvement in pigmentation & Melasma
- Skin brightening/ Fairer skin
- Smoother, younger-looking skin
- Pore tightening
- Overall improvement in skin texture and tone
- Improvement in fine wrinkles
Thulium BB Laser can be combined with Pigmentation Lightening Laser to successfully reduce the appearance of Melasma.
Proprietary whitening creams
The Ultra Whitening Complex is an intense proprietary-only whitening cream that combines multiple, effective proven whitening ingredients to treat pigmentation.
Medication containing Tranexamic acid can help to lighten certain pigmentation conditions.
A well-known supplement that is proven to help to reduce pigmentation is Heliocare Max 240 Purewhite Radiance.
Containing an additional dose of Fernblock®, it has an excellent antioxidant property that is able to reduce free radicals by up to 50%, preventing the formation of hyperpigmentation caused by UV rays.
A recent study conducted in the National Skin Centre, Singapore, showed a 62% improvement in melasma when compared to baseline in just 12 weeks.
Furthermore, Purewhite Radiance Max 240 is enhanced with the exclusive blend of White Tech Complex where it controls and blocks the main enzyme that is responsible for melanin production. The blend in White Tech Complex consists of Pomegranate extract, L-Cystine, vitamin C and B3, all clinically proven to promote skin fairness and radiance
Maintenance after the treatment plan
After completing the plan, necessary care is needed to prevent new pigmentation from reappearing. Adequate sun protection is paramount to ensure as much as possible that new pigmentation do not form.
New spots can surface when melanocytes produce more pigmentation when triggered by factors such as UV damage from the sun, hormonal changes (such as during pregnancy and menopause), or even stress.
Maintenance laser treatments help prevent new spots from forming, by suppressing and removing it before they resurface and show on the skin.
Pigmentation is a common problem, but with patience and determination, it can be treated. Prevention is better than cure, but even if it does appear, seek treatment early to keep it under control as soon as possible.
Dr Ho believes that every individual is unique and he takes into account their lifestyle habits, budget, condition and severity of the pigmentation. He then plans a suitable treatment plan for each individual, tracks and records the process for best results.
Should you wish to treat your pigmentation, contact us right away and schedule an appointment with Dr Ho Rui Ming so that he can come up with the most suitable and effective plan for you!