As we age, and particularly if we enjoy a lot of outdoor activities, we may see the development of individual age spots or sunspots (medically known as solar lentigines), “liver spots” (a misnomer, as they are not related to the liver at all), and other signs of chronic sun damage on our skin. Age or sunspots usually appear on areas of the skin that are frequently exposed to the sun, such as the face, neck, shoulders, hands, arms and lower legs (in those patients commonly wearing shorts).
Many people may find these lesions unsightly, particularly when they are located on cosmetically sensitive areas like the face, neck, chest or hands. Over the past twenty years, some of the most incredible advances in medicine have occurred within the realm of laser therapy. Laser pigment removal treatment is a fast and painless way of removing these age spots and sun damage for a more youthful and healthy appearance.
It is important to have a dermatologist examine and diagnose your pigmentation condition and recommend an appropriate treatment option for your particular presentation and ensure that treatment is administered correctly.
A serious and potentially fatal type of skin cancer called melanoma can present as brown discolouration on the skin and requires prompt and appropriate treatment. Failure to recognize the features of an abnormal mole or early melanoma by an unskilled medical professional can result in a missed diagnosis and drastic consequences for the patient.
For this reason, treatment of all pigmented lesions should be performed under the supervision of a dermatologist in order to ensure a correct diagnosis and treatment plan.
Laser Treatments for Pigmentation
Light energy devices, including lasers and IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) devices are very effective in treating the pigmentation of sun-damaged skin. Just one or two treatments with laser or IPL can safely and dramatically improve the appearance of your skin. The number of treatments however, will be determined by the degree of damage present. Once the pigment has been removed, it is important that patients use appropriate sun precautions in order to maximize the results of their treatments.
At Art of SKIN Dermatology, Laser and Cosmetic Surgery, we have a variety of the most advanced laser and IPL devices available in house. This allows us to customize your treatment and ensure the most effective results for your skin pigmentation problem. For the removal of pigmented lesions, we use the:
- Elite MPX IPL system
- Elite MPX 755 nm Alexandrite laser
- Palomar Icon IPL
- Smartskin Co2 laser
These lasers deliver optimal wavelengths of light to safely and effectively remove unwanted pigmentation. The light targets the melanin in the age spots, where it is then converted to heat, destroying the age spots. The cells containing the unwanted pigmentation are then shed, revealing the new, pigment-free, healthier-looking skin underneath.
The choice of one laser or light device over another will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of pigmentation present, the patient’s type of skin, and the depth of pigmentation to name a few.
TCA Chemical Peels for Pigmentation
Superficial pigmentation of the skin can be effectively removed using chemical peel procedures. We commonly use TCA chemical peels for patients that have more widespread sun damage and pigmentation damage on the face, but they can also be very effective on the neck, chest, hands, and shoulders.
For more information on TCA Chemical Peels, click here. (link to TCA chemical peels under the Melasma Section)
If you have increased pigmentation on your face or anywhere else on your skin, we encourage you to call Art of SKIN Dermatology, Laser and Cosmetic Surgery for a consultation. Our experienced medical and cosmetic staff will advise you on options available to you to improve and reduce your particular pigmentation condition.
Note that patients may be required to have a medical assessment by Dr. Lubitz prior to any treatment. In this case, patients will require a referral from their physician for this medical consultation.
Poikiloderma of Civatte
What is Poikiloderma of Civatte?
Poikiloderma of civatte is a particular, although common, skin condition affecting both males and females, usually occurring in more fair-skinned individuals. This condition is the result of chronic, unprotected UV exposure that causes the accumulation of both pigmentation and damaged blood vessels in the superficial layers of the skin, in conjunction with deterioration of the collagen and elastin fibers in the skin.
It usually presents itself as reddish-brown patchy pigmentation on the sides of the neck, with distinct sparing of the skin under the chin. It can extend onto the face, chest, and even affect the arms.
In more serious cases, the affected skin will have a different texture, appearing like plucked chicken skin. Patients with this condition will often experience increased sensitivity of affected skin; to the point that the skin is constantly irritated by cotton shirt collars, sunscreen, colognes / perfumes and by shaving (men). It will progress if not treated and can be unsightly.
Diagnosis and Treatment
It is important to have a dermatologist diagnose poikiloderma of civatte as it can often appear to be another condition. Your dermatologist will also recommend the best treatment options for your particular case and ensure that treatment is administered correctly.
This progressive, irritating, and noticeable skin condition can be safely and effectively treated with a variety of laser / light devices. However, in contrast to treating brown-pigmented lesions, such as solar lentigines (discussed above) or blood vessels and redness (see the Rosacea section), the effective treatment of poikiloderma requires the simultaneous treatment of both brown pigmentation and increased vascularity (blood vessels).
At Art of SKIN Dermatology, Laser and Cosmetic Surgery, we have the laser and light devices necessary to safely and effectively treat this poikiloderma of civatte. The degree of pigmentation and vascularity of the each individual, in addition to other factors, will determine which device is used for treatment. As this condition is a combination of pigmentation and vascularity abnormality, combination therapy is often required with both IPL and laser devices, utilizing different wavelengths and energies to address the problem.
If you have noticed pigmentation changes to your skin or if you have been diagnosed with poikiloderma, we encourage you to call Art of SKIN Dermatology, Laser and Cosmetic Surgery for a consultation. Our experienced medical and cosmetic staff will advise you on your available options to improve and reduce your pigmentation condition.
Birthmarks – Treatment by Laser
Today, many different types of birthmarks can be safely and effectively reduced or removed using lasers. Generally speaking, the majority of birthmarks fall into one of three categories; all that can be treated now with lasers.
1) Vascular – Collections of different types of blood vessels in the skin (ie Hemangioma)
2) Pigmented – Collections of pigment and pigment producing cells in the skin (ie Melanocytic Nevus)
3) Increased growth of keratinocytes (ie Epidermal Nevus)
The use of a particular laser or light device will predominantly depend on the type of birthmark being treated.
In some cases, particularly with hemangiomas (type of vascular birthmark) in children that these lesions can often improve significantly on their own with no treatment. It is important to have a dermatologist diagnose the type of birthmark a patient has, as it can often appear to be another condition. Your dermatologist will recommend the appropriate treatment options for your particular presentation and ensure that treatment is administered correctly.
At Art of SKIN Dermatology, Laser and Cosmetic Surgery, we use a variety of lasers and light-based technologies for the removal of birthmarks, such as:
- The Elite MPX IPL
- The Elite ND:Yag 1064
- The Elite MPX 755 nm Alexandrite laser
- The Palomar Icon IPL
- The Cynergy PDL and ND:Yag 1064
- The Smartskin Co2 laser
Note that in some rare cases, birthmarks do have an increased risk of malignant transformation in adulthood (the cells transform into a cancer). If this occurs, Dr. Lubitz will recommend surgical resection of the birthmark that will need to be completed in our surgical clinic.
If you have a birthmark and wish to discuss treatment options, we encourage you to call Art of SKIN Dermatology, Laser and Cosmetic Surgery for a consultation. Our experienced medical and cosmetic staff will advise you on the options available to you.
Note that patients may be required to have a medical assessment of their birthmark by Dr. Lubitz prior to any treatment. In this case, patients will need a referral from their physician.