Excess melanin causes hyperpigmentation on our skin, resulting in dark spots, freckles, sun spots, age spots, melasma and other darkened skin patches. These can be caused by exposure to the Sun, acne, hormonal changes, aging, and maybe even skin treatments that have gone wrong. Hyperpigmentation is usually harmless, but some may not like the aesthetic effect that they have. Wearing broad spectrum sunscreen is a good way to avoid getting spots, but there are various treatments available if you already have spots. Prescription ointments have been around for a while, but nowadays laser treatment is preferred as it provides better results. Most notably, Q-switched laser treatment is very effective in treating hyperpigmentation as it can remove pigment quickly and without scarring.
What is Q-switched laser treatment?
An Nd:YAG laser uses a crystal as a medium for the laser light and has a wavelength of 1064nm. This laser wavelength is capable of reaching deeper into the skin tissue compared to other types. A Q-switched laser is when an Nd:YAG laser produces two wavelengths – the 1064nm infrared and a different beam of 532nm wavelength which targets the superficial layers of the skin. In Q-switched mode, the laser produces high intensity beams in very short pulses. Q-switched laser can remove any unwanted dark spots, brown spots, sun spots, melasma and even tattoos from your skin.
Q-switched laser procedure
Protective eye-wear is worn during the procedure to protect the eyes from the laser. Topical anesthetic may be applied if required, but usually the pain is bearable. The sensation of the laser pulses is like hot pricks on the skin. Cold air is applied over the treatment area during the entire procedure in order to alleviate the hot, prickly sensations. After the procedure, an ice pack can be applied to soothe the treated area. Avoid scrubbing the treated area for at least a week following the procedure and avoid direct exposure to the sun and heat. It is advisable to moisturize the treated area with vaseline and keep it covered with bandages. A crust of skin will form and heal within 2 weeks. There is no downtime after a Q-switch laser treatment, but you can take it easy on your activities depending on which part of your body was treated.
If you want to try out a facial laser treatment, Singapore has some clinics that offer q-switched laser treatment for facial hyperpigmentation as well as for other issues, like acne marks, fairer skin and skin rejuvenation.