Laser treatments can be a quick and easy way to treat your pigmentation. Unfortunately, those with dark skin are more likely to end up with a dreaded side effect from laser treatments, which is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), an irregular pigmentation caused by inflammation of the skin.
That’s why QuadroStar ProYellow is considered revolutionary. Using a yellow laser of 577 nanometer (nm) wavelength, it safely and effectively treats a variety of skin conditions particularly for those with medium-to-dark skin.
Dr Christie Moey, an aesthetic physician from Clique Clinic, Petaling Jaya, tells us more about this laser treatment and how it can help treat dark skin types:
Q: How do laser treatments help with clarifying and brightening skin tone?
A: Unlike topical creams that only provide superficial brightening for the skin, laser treatments emit energy that penetrates deep into the skin’s layers of melanin — the pigment that gives our skin its colour. The energy heats up water molecules, damages the targeted tissues, and eventually breaks down the dark spots. The result? Visibly brighter and clearer skin immediately after treatment.
Q: Can lasers cause hyperpigmentation?
A: Hyperpigmentation is an irregular darkening of the skin caused by an increase in melanin production which results from the way that some people’s skin reacts to the laser’s heat. There are three possible reasons for hyperpigmentation: the product or treatment, the doctor’s experience, and/or the patient’s skin type and/or genetics.
When it comes to the product or treatment, we have to be sure that it is suitable for the patient’s condition and skin type. This is where the experience and expertise of the doctor comes in. The correct technique of administering the treatment is also important to avoid inflammation and PIH. Of course, there is a small genetic factor as well, and some people have a skin type that is more prone to hyperpigmentation, and this is unfortunately more common in people with darker skin.
Q: What laser in the market is safe for medium-to-darker skin?
A: Traditionally, green laser light (532nm) has been the most commonly used for treating pigmented and vascular lesions. It is only recently that studies have revealed that the ideal wavelength for skin rejuvenation is pure yellow (577nm), particularly for skin types 1 to 4 on the Fitzpatrick scale.
It has been shown that the 577nm wavelength is ideal for treating various skin conditions including pigmentation, rosacea, acne scarring, uneven skin tone and even melasma which is especially difficult to treat, along with vascular conditions. Due to its lower melanin absorption levels, the 577nm wavelength is especially safe for darker skin with little or no risk of hyperpigmentation.
Q: Could you walk us through the treatment?
A: Typically, after a consultation and assessment by the physician, a clinic assistant will clean the area to be treated. The patient will then be asked to take his or her “before” photos, and then the treatment begins. Most patients feel zero to minor discomfort during the treatment. A typical treatment takes no longer than 30 minutes and patients can resume their day to day activities immediately after taking their “after photos”, which is why it is popular as a “lunchtime lift”.
Q: Any downtime or precautions post-treatment?
A: Some patients experience a mild redness or slight dryness of the skin, but no other side effects have been reported with 577nm wavelength so far. You can resume your normal skincare routine; but just be sure to apply sunblock over your moisturiser during the day. I also advise my patients to apply a mask on the treated area before going to sleep at night for the first three days.
Q: How soon can I expect to see results?
A: This varies depending on the condition treated. After the treatment you will notice some immediate skin brightening, but the results will generally start showing in about two weeks, as the old cells fall away and new skin cells begin to emerge. Usually I would recommend about three to five sessions spaced two to four weeks apart for the treatment of pigmentation issues, after which a maintenance session once every three to six months should be sufficient.