Pigmentation marks and hyperpigmentation, which also include melasma or chloasma, can make the face, neck, décolleté and in rare cases the hands look up to ten years older. These skin changes are caused by impaired colour pigment formation and often manifest as brownish spots on the face, neck, décolleté or hands. These unwanted marks are not just a sign of skin ageing, but can also occur in younger people – especially in women, often at a very young age. Laser treatment, or alternatively a peeling treatment, is ideal for the targeted removal of pigmentation marks.
Medical term: Laser pigmentation mark removal
Type of anaesthesia: none or local anaesthesia
Treatment time: a few minutes
Clinic stay: outpatient
Back to public: after 1–2 weeks
Back to work: immediately
Recovery period: none, but you should avoid the sun for 3 weeks; also, no exercising or sauna for 3 days
At the utoquai clinic, we use the ruby laser and the Nordlys system to remove pigmentation marks and hyperpigmentation. Sometimes we also work with peelings of different strengths to remedy the issue. This is a gentle and effective procedure that targets the skin areas affected by melasma. However, it is important to understand that, unlike sun-related skin spots, melasma is very difficult to treat and therefore not always successful. The cooperation of the patient is essential for a good result. The laser beam is directed at the melanin pigments that are responsible for the colour changes. The pigments absorb the light, are destroyed and completely removed via the lymphatic system. The surrounding skin cells remain unaffected. During peeling, the affected skin areas are peeled off to varying depths.
The removal of pigmentation marks using a ruby laser is suitable for people with:
However, there are also contraindications that rule out treatment, such as pregnancy, certain skin diseases or using certain medications. A thorough examination is therefore always carried out before treatment in order to rule out potential risks and determine the best tailored procedure.
Before laser treatment, intensive sunbathing and going to tanning studios should be avoided to prevent excessive pigmentation of the skin. Self-tanning products should also be avoided before the treatment, as they can distort the result. Blood thinners such as aspirin or Marcumar should not be taken one week before the treatment.
Before the melasma removal by laser or peeling, we perform a detailed medical history and examination. This allows us to determine the skin type and the nature of the pigmentation marks so that we can select the appropriate laser settings or peeling strength. The laser is then guided over the affected area and emits short pulses of light. Safety goggles must be worn to protect the eyes. The treatment does not cause any pain, which is why a local anaesthetic is not required. During peeling, the acids are applied to the skin in 1–3 rounds.
A session usually only lasts a few minutes, after which you can return home or to work. A scab will form, which will remain for about 1–2 weeks. After treatment, you should avoid scratching or touching the treated area. It is also advisable to avoid intense physical activity and additional peelings at home for the first few days. Sunscreen with a high sun protection factor protects the light-sensitive skin, but it is best to avoid direct sunlight for 8 weeks.
Very good results can usually be achieved. The affected skin areas are targeted by the laser beam or the peeling and the melanin, which is responsible for the colour changes, is destroyed. This can result in a significant lightening or even complete removal of the melasma or the sun-induced pigmentation marks. Scars or other skin damage caused by the laser are not to be expected. In many cases, only one session is necessary.
The risks associated with laser treatments and peelings are manageable with an experienced practitioner, as they are particularly safe procedures. To minimise the risk of new hyperpigmentation, the treated skin area should be protected from unprotected sunlight after the treatment. Certain medications that could make the skin more sensitive during laser treatment should also be discontinued beforehand.
In many cases, pigmentation marks can be completely removed or at least significantly lightened with the ruby laser or peeling. However, the final result depends on various factors, such as the size and number of pigmentation marks, the skin type and the individual reaction of the skin to the treatment.
Adequate sun protection is essential to prevent melasma. Avoid intensive sunbathing and apply sunscreen with a high sun protection factor. Wearing hats and long-sleeved clothing can also help protect the skin from harmful UV radiation.
Laser treatments or peelings are also feasible for dark skin types. However, special care must be taken here, as dark skin types have a higher risk of increased hyperpigmentation, light-coloured depigmentation or hypopigmentation from the laser. A thorough examination of the skin and customisation of the laser or peeling energy settings are therefore particularly important.
Pigmentation marks can be removed from various parts of the body with the ruby laser, e.g. on the face, neck, décolleté or hands. Generally, all skin areas where melasma occurs can be treated.
Often only one session is required to achieve a perfect result. The number of treatments depends on various factors. Your doctor will give you a precise recommendation during your personal consultation.