Everybody has some kind of hyperpigmentation (medically termed pigmented lesion), even if it’s only a freckle or two. As we grow older, we may develop other pigment changes, including flat, brown discolorations of the skin called lentigines (age spots) and reddish–brown areas of discoloration called poikiloderma. We may also develop melasma, a mottled skin discoloration usually found on sun–exposed areas of the face. Melasma is particularly likely to affect women who become pregnant or who take oral contraceptives or postmenopausal hormone therapy.
Not all pigmented lesions respond to treatment. At Advanced Dermatology and Laser Institute of Seattle, we will carefully evaluate your skin and let you know if effective treatments are available for your particular condition. Some lesions respond well to topical bleaching agents. Others may be successfully treated with chemical peels, HydraFacial and/or laser therapy. Among our many laser systems is the Palomar Icon 1540 laser, which has been specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of melasma.
Chemical Peels: A variety of peels are used to age spots, poikiloderma, melasma and other skin conditions that primarily affect the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin.
Laser Therapy: Melanin–specific laser systems, such as the Palomar Icon 1540 laser, are used to lighten or erase a variety of pigmented lesions. These lasers target and “shatter” the lesion’s pigment into smaller molecules that are then absorbed and removed by the body. Several treatments may be needed to remove a lesion, particularly darker–hued ones.
HydraFacial: This treatment rejuvenates your skin cells, improving their texture and elasticity, diminishing fine lines and lightening areas of darker pigmentation. It can also help enhance the penetration powers of chemical peels.