Sun damage, freckles, melasma and hyperpigmenation are caused by ultraviolet light stimulating melanocytes in the skin causing them to produce more melanin resulting in increased pigmentation of the skin. Sun damage, freckles, and hyperpigmentation can be treated with photorejuvenation. Photorejuvenation uses laser light or intense pulsed light known as IPL to treat brown spots caused by sun damage as well as vascular lesions, broken blood vessels and redness from rosacea.
At ANEWU Medical Spa we have the ability to treat sun damage, hyperpigmenation, age spots and melasma with one of two devices, either a laser or IPL system. The difference between the two is that a laser is one wavelength of light that is generally attracted to one color or problem whereas intense pulsed light is multiple wavelengths of light that are attracted to multiple things such as sun damage and broken blood vessels. For patients that wish to treat both vascular and pigmented lesions in the same treatment area IPL treatments are generally recommended.
Energy that is emitted by IPL or laser is absorbed by the pigment of the brown spot or vessel. That energy or heat then disrupts the pigment of the brown spot causing the brown spot to become darker. Then over the course of a few weeks the pigment sloughs off. Photorejuvenation can also be used to treat sun damage on the face, neck, chest or hands. It can also be used to treat broken blood vessels, rosacea, dry eye, as well as hemangiomas. some scars and can even be used for hair removal.
What To Expect
- Average number of treatments for sun spots is 1-3.
- Some sun spots known as liver spots, lentigo or seborrheic keratosis may require maintenance treatments to keep the pigment at bay. It is important to note that these types of lesions are different from other forms of sun damage and therefore these types of spots are only expected to fade, not disappear. Other forms of sun damage such as freckles may only require one treatment.
- Treatments are generally performed every 4 weeks.
- During the treatment it feels like an elastic band snapping against the skin with heat dissipating from the area.
- Common side effects include redness and swelling that lasts 20 minutes to a few days. Mild to moderate bruising may be seen when treating blood vessels and rosacea.
- Rare side effects include blisters, scabs, and pigmentation changes. To minimize this we do not treat tanned skin and test patch skin types that are predisposed to pigmentation changes.
How To Prepare For Your Treatment
- Ensure that the area being treated is free from tan or a residual tan. If self tanner is present in the treatment area, please remove it with Head & Shoulders shampoo prior to arrival.
- If you are having a facial area treated, discontinue using Retin A or any facial products that contain glycolic, beta or alpha hydroxy acid three days prior to treatment and do not resume using it until the treatment are is free of any irritation.
- Accutane should not be used within 6 months prior to laser treatments and chemical peels typically should not be used for 2-3 weeks prior to and after laser treatments, depending on the peel.
- All moisturizes and make-up should be removed prior to having the treatment.
- If you have a history of cold sores, herpes, or shingles in the area being treated you may need to start an antiviral medication to reduce the likelihood of recurrence. If there are any active cold sore, herpes or shingles lesions in the area being treated, treatment should be deferred.
What To Do After Your Treatment
- If swelling or discomfort occur after the treatment apply a cool compress for 15-30 minutes.
- Within a few days of treatment brown spots will become browner. They may even appear somewhat wrinkled but will gradually fade over the course of 1-3 weeks.
- Mild to moderate bruising may occur when broken blood vessels or rosacea or poikiloderma (discoloration to the neck and chest) is treated. Bruising will typically last a few days and in rare instances may last a few weeks. Initially after treatment the blood vessels may appear blanched but then refill with blood within a few minutes to a few days. For this reason, multiple treatments are required.
- Make-up may be applied immediately after treatment.
- The area may be washed with a gentle cleaner and Retin A may be resumed once the area is free from irritation, typically within three days.
- Shaving may be resumed once the irritation to the skin has resolved.
- Refrain from having a chemical peel for a minimum of 2-3 weeks, depending on the depth of the peel.
- If an antiviral medication was prescribed complete the course of medication as directed.
- Refrain from tanning for the duration of your treatments and for two weeks after your final treatment. If you intend on tanning, you may do so two weeks after a treatment however you may not return for a treatment until your skin has returned to its baseline color. If you are uncertain if you have a residual tan, please call the office as a test patch may need to be performed prior to resuming treatments.
- If you experience blisters or hyper or hypopigmentation changes (brown or white spots) or any other adverse effect, please call us at 603-882-9334.
So, if you have sun damage, a brown target, and broken blood vessels, a red or blue/purple target you would need two different lasers with two different wavelengths to treat both conditions and you could use an IPL machine that has multiple wavelengths thereby allowing you to treat the skin with one pass using one device.