Skin Pigmentation

Skin Pigmentation Specialist
Almost everyone has a few pigmented lesions on their skin, such as birthmarks, freckles, age spots, and liver spots. At Skin Laser Center in Mar Vista, California, Steven Popkow, MD can drastically lighten or entirely remove unwanted or unsightly skin pigmentations in a routine, non-invasive procedure. If you live in the Greater Los Angeles area and would like to seek treatment for skin pigmentation, call for an appointment.

Skin Pigmentation Q & A

How do pigmented lesions occur?

Everyone’s skin contains varying concentrations of melanin pigment, which is responsible for determining hair and skin color. Overproduction of melanin can discolor the skin’ surface. Pigmented lesions are concentrated areas of melanin in the skin either present at birth or caused by aging or overexposure to the sun’s harmful rays.

Many people find that the discolorations can be embarrassing and cause low self esteem. Most pigmented lesions can be significantly lightened or removed completely with laser treatment that destroys cells responsible for over producing melanin.

How does the treatment work?

Dr. Popkow uses the a Q-5 YAG laser system, which is specially designed to produce customized wavelengths of light that are absorbed by the excess pigment in the discolored spots. The laser emits light in short, high-intensity pulses that penetrate the skin, reaching tissue damaged by the sun or aging. Furthermore, the laser light targets skin cells responsible for the overproduction of melanin. The rapid absorption of light energy destroys surplus melanin in the area and leaves the treated skin looking uniform in color and texture. The treatment works well on skin of all complexions, from fair to dark.

Does it hurt?

When the laser comes in contact with melanin, the resulting heat may cause minimal discomfort that patients describe as a mild snapping sensation. Most patients tolerate the treatment well and have minimal side effects. Typically, skin will appear red at first, but then turns into dark patches that fade away in 7-10 days. Post treatment patients will keep the area moist and apply Zinc oxide sunscreen.

How many treatment sessions do I need?

Although it depends on the depth and concentration of the melanin pigment in the spots being treated, Dr. Popkow usually recommends 1-2 treatments and careful sun protection. The time in between sessions provides time for the skin to heal and allows the melanin pigment to fade away. With the appropriate number of treatments, the entire pigmentation can usually be removed. Before beginning treatments, Dr. Popkow will asses your pigmented spots and make recommendations for an individualized treatment plan.

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