freckle and dark spot removal

Freckle And Dark Spot Removal

Freckle and dark spot removal treatment requests are commonly encountered. However, the success of any treatment would depend on your skin type, the type of hyperpigmentation condition and degree of sun protection.

What Are Freckles?

Freckles aka ephelides are common small brown marks found on sun-exposed skin. Freckles are thus often found on the cheeks, outer forearms and back. They get darker after a period of sun exposure. 

freckle and lentigo
Freckle and Lentigo on Cheeks

What Is a Lentigo?

Lentigo or lentigenes are common brown dark spots that may appear alone or together with freckles. Unlike freckles, it does not fade away in the absence of sun exposure.

Who Gets Freckles?

Freckles can occur in most skin types. Although they are more common in individuals with light hair and fair skin types, they are also frequently seen in asian skin type.

How To Diagnose Freckles?

Most freckles can be easily diagnosed by their clinical appearance. They are usually symmetrical, small in diameter (average 3-5mm) and increase in number and darkening with sun exposure. They are flat to touch and do not protrude out of the skin. Small freckles may merge to form larger dark spots of hyperpigmentation.

It is not uncommon for freckles to co-exist with other pigmentation conditions such as solar lentigo, melasma and seborrhoeic keratoses.

Why Do I Get Freckles?

Freckles form as a result of melanocytes (pigment producing cells) producing more melanin from UV exposure. This is actually a protective mechanism to shield the DNA in the cell’s nucleus from too much sun-induced damage.

How Do I Prevent Freckle and Dark Spots?

Freckle and dark spot prevention is mainly by sensible sun avoidance and sun protection. Using a sunscreen with SPF (sun protection factor) of 30-50 at regular intervals, avoiding intense direct sunlight e.g. mid-day sun, and donning UV protective head-gear and clothing are essential in Singapore.

Freckle And Dark Spot Removal

Freckle and dark spot removal treatment options depend on your skin type, the type of hyperpigmentation condition and downtime associated with the treatment. Treatment options include topical lightening agents, chemical peels and pigment lasers.

At APAX Medical & Aesthetics Clinic, we offer a range of treatments that are tailored to your individual needs, lifestyle and budget. An initial consultation to assess the type of hyperpigmentation, baseline skin condition and history of previous treatment will help you to make an informed decision on the best freckle and dark spot removal treatment options.

laser freckle and dark spot removal

What Is Laser Freckle And Dark Spot Removal?

Pigment specific lasers are a safe and effective treatment modality to help lighten your freckles and dark spots. Pigment laser systems using nano-second and pico-second technology are effective to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation in all skin types. Lasers work by breaking down unwanted pigments into smaller fragments which are then cleared naturally by your body.

Pico-second lasers, using ultra-short pulses are associated with a better safety profile and reduced rates of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation when compared to nano-second laser. This is probably due to less disruption and damage to the dermal-epidermal junction of the skin. In a recent study, pico-second lasers are found to be effective at improving photodamaged facial skin, improving collagen and elastin remodelling.

Most laser procedures are comfortable. A numbing cream may be applied to maximise your comfort prior to your treatment.

After treatment, there may be some redness and swelling for 1-2 days. A scab typically forms on the 3rd day and falls off within a week.

As with any laser procedure, potential side effects include hyperpigmentation (darkening), hypopigmentation (white-spots), acne flares, infection and rarely scarring. Fortunately, these are uncommon but it is important that you follow up closely to your post procedure skin care.

After your laser procedure, you should avoid washing your facial with exfoliants and harsh facial products. Sun protection and sensible sun avoidance between your laser procedures ensures that recurrences and the risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation are minimised.

Laser freckle and dark spot removal treatments are cosmetic in nature and do not prevent future hyperpigmented lesions from occurring. Therefore, it is important to maintain a good skin care regime with adequate sun protection after your laser procedure.

 

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References:
  1. Wu, D.C., Goldman, M.P., Wat, H. and Chan, H.H. (2021), A Systematic Review of Picosecond Laser in Dermatology: Evidence and Recommendations. Lasers Surg Med, 53: 9-49. https://doi-org.abc.cardiff.ac.uk/10.1002/lsm.23244
  2. Chan, M.W., Shek, S.Y.-N., Yeung, C.K. and Chan, H.H.-L. (2019), A Prospective Study in the Treatment of Lentigines in Asian Skin Using 532 nm Picosecond Nd:YAG Laser. Lasers Surg. Med., 51: 767-773. https://doi-org.abc.cardiff.ac.uk/10.1002/lsm.23103
  3. Zhang, M., Huang, Y., Wu, Q., Lin, T., Gong, X., Chen, H. and Wang, Y. (2021), Comparison of 1064-nm and Dual-Wavelength (532/1064-nm) Picosecond-Domain Nd:YAG Lasers in the Treatment of Facial Photoaging: A Randomized Controlled Split-Face Study. Lasers Surg Med, 53: 1158-1165. https://doi-org.abc.cardiff.ac.uk/10.1002/lsm.23404