Causes & Symptoms Of Pigmentation & Discoloration
What Is Skin Pigmentation And Discoloration?
The color or pigmentation of skin is based on the levels of melanin produced in the skin. People with light skin produce low levels of melanin, and people with dark skin produce higher levels of melanin. Often, melanin is spread equally across the skin. However, sometimes, certain areas of the skin contain more or less melanin than surrounding areas of skin. This creates a discoloration of the affected skin, which show on the skin as patches or spots that are lighter or darker than surrounding regions. Skin pigmentation and discoloration can affect any area of the body, including the face, arms, and legs. Examples of skin pigmentation and skin discoloration include birthmarks, freckles, age spots, and more.
What Causes Skin Pigmentation And Discoloration?
Generally, skin pigmentation and skin discoloration are caused by overproduction, underproduction, or uneven distribution of melanin in the body. Causes of skin discoloration may include:
- Sun exposure
- Hormonal changes
- Certain medications
- Immune system deficiencies
- Certain diseases or medical conditions
What Are The Symptoms Of Skin Pigmentation And Discoloration?
Generally, symptoms of skin pigmentation and discoloration include a difference in skin complexion from one area of skin to another. Some skin pigmentation disorders, such as albinism, may affect the entire body. Signs of skin pigmentation and discoloration can affect any area of the body, including the face, arms, legs, and other areas. Depending on the type of skin pigmentation, the color of the affected area can range from white to pink, blue, brown, black, and everything in between. The size and shape of discoloration may also vary.
How Is Skin Pigmentation And Discoloration Treated?
While there are an array of treatment options available to help treat skin pigmentations, at Miami Plastic Surgery®, we specialize in the utilization of advanced laser technology to help provide removal and reduced appearance of skin pigmentations and discoloration.
What Is Laser Therapy?
Laser therapy is a non-invasive treatment option that uses light to treat a variety of conditions, including those of the skin. When treating conditions of the skin, laser therapy is precise and allows your doctor to treat specific areas of skin while leaving surrounding skin and tissue virtually unharmed.
What Does Treatment With Laser Therapy Involve?
- Treatment with laser therapy is performed in the comfort of your doctor’s office as an outpatient procedure and involves your doctor using laser technology on affected areas to help diminish the appearance of skin pigmentation and discoloration.
- To begin, you will take a comfortable position, either seated or lying down. Safety goggles will be placed over your eyes to provide protection.
- Once you are comfortable and relaxed, your doctor will carefully move a handheld laser over affected areas. Treatment is virtually painless, and anesthetics are typically not needed.
- Depending on areas treated, treatment time will vary.
- Post-procedure, there may be slight swelling and redness of treated areas. This will go away within a few hours after the procedure.
- Skin pigmentation and discoloration laser therapy involves minimal downtime, and you will be able to return to your normal daily activities within the same day.
- To see visible results, additional treatment sessions may be needed.
What Are The Benefits Of Using Laser Therapy For Treating Skin Pigmentation And Discoloration?
If you have skin pigmentation and discoloration, laser therapy may be an appropriate treatment option for you. Benefits of laser therapy for skin pigmentation and discoloration may include:
- Improved appearance of skin
- Even skin complexion
- Enhanced self-confidence
- Minimal downtime
Am I an Appropriate Candidate for Laser Treatment Therapy?
You may be an appropriate candidate for laser therapy treatment if:
- You have skin pigmentation or discoloration
- You are in good physical and emotional health
- You have realistic expectations
If you are struggling with discoloration caused by a vascular condition or sun damage, you may be a good candidate for one of our proven laser treatments. During your consultation, your provider will consult with you about your concerns and goals, as well as about your current health and medical history. It is important that we have a full understanding of the various factors that may influence the outcome of your treatment. Due to the advances in laser technology over the years, the use of modern devices has expanded to include a broader range of skin tones. Provided that you are not pregnant or nursing and do not have an active skin infection or factors that are contraindicated for laser treatment, you can expect to have options for correcting discoloration safely and conveniently.
How Does Laser Therapy Work to Treat Skin Discoloration?
Different laser technologies affect the skin in unique ways. To reduce skin discoloration, a provider may choose to use an IPL device, an ablative laser, or other modalities. IPL targets the pigment in the skin to break apart the cells that have clumped together to form a spot. Ablative lasers work through resurfacing. During this treatment, the uppermost layer of skin cells is vaporized, removing the dead and damaged to reveal healthier cells while simultaneously stimulating collagen production and remodeling. Whichever form of laser treatment your provider suggests, the goal is the same, to reduce the prominence of pigmented, damaged skin and improve your appearance.
How Many Laser Treatments Will I Need Before I See Results?
The number of laser treatments that you may need to resolve discoloration will depend on a few different factors. The type and severity of your discoloration is one factor, and the form of treatment and strength of treatment you and your provider select are ohters. These two factors are the primary contributors to your broader treatment plan that includes the number and frequency of your sessions. In some instances, one treatment can resolve the issue. Sometimes, two to three laser treatments are necessary to fully eradicate spots.
How Long Does a Laser Therapy Treatment Take?
Like the number of treatment sessions you'll need, your treatment time will also depend on the condition of your skin and the type of laser treatment you select. If you have one prominent area of discoloration that you wish to correct, your treatment may take less than half an hour. If you determine that your best approach to discoloration is to undergo a more comprehensive skin rejuvenation treatment, such as laser skin resurfacing, your treatment may take about an hour. After your consultation at Miami Plastic Surgery®, you will have detailed information regarding your proposed treatment plan, including how long you should plan to be in the office for your procedure.
Is There Any Recovery After Laser Therapy?
Healing times after laser treatment for skin discoloration vary based on your individual response to the treatment and the condition you've had treated. The type of treatment will also influence the side effects that can occur after the procedure. Your provider will inform you regarding anticipated effects so you know what to expect and how to manage side effects that do occur. If you have a milder treatment, you may be fully recovered in less than a week. Your skin may appear red and irritated, like you have a sunburn, for a few days. You might notice slight swelling. If you have a resurfacing treatment, you may experience flaking or peeling for a few days, and the sensitivity of your skin may increase for a short time. During your appointment, you will be given all of the information you need to know how to care for your skin properly after laser therapy for discoloration.
Are There Any Risks from Laser Therapy?
Laser skin treatments work through the delivery of thermal energy and precise wavelengths of light. Because this translates to heat once the energy comes into contact with the skin, there is a slight risk of unwanted pigment changes, burns, or blisters. Your provider performs a very thorough consultation and examination of your skin to determine the level of risk you inherently have with each of your treatment options. Many treatments are customizable to better manage these risks without compromising satisfying results.
What Can I Expect During A Laser Therapy Consultation?
During your initial laser therapy consultation, you will meet with the plastic surgeon and their team. Your previous surgeries, your medical history, medications you are presently taking, and your overall physical and emotional health will be reviewed. Your skin quality will also be evaluated. Your surgeon will determine what you benefit from most and what will help to achieve your desired results. Treatment cost, benefits, recovery time, risks, and limitations will also be discussed. The doctor’s patient coordinator will review treatment scheduling with you.
Patient Financing options are available at Miami Plastic Surgery® and can be discussed in more detail during your consultation.
If you are considering laser therapy for skin pigmentation and discoloration in Miami, FL with the board-certified plastic surgeons at Miami Plastic Surgery®, call 305.595.2969 or fill out the form on this page to book a consultation.