Lasers are an effective tool that can be used for pigment removal in patients with a wide range of different skin types. Lasers are a treatment option often used to remove unwanted tattoos or permanent makeup, or to treat discolorations of the skin such as:
- Age spots
- Sun spots
- Darkening of the skin
The Laser Pigment Removal Procedure
Before the pigment removal process, an anesthetic cream may be applied to numb the skin. If the face is being treated, goggles may be worn to cover and protect the eyes. A thin layer of gel is applied to the treatment area and the laser is positioned over the skin. The laser emits a high-intensity light beam that passes through the skin surface and the surrounding tissue and the high energy of the light causes the pigment or ink particles to break up into very small particles. The laser breaks the pigment into smaller particles, which may be metabolized or excreted by the body, or eliminated directly through the skin as the wound heals.
Some patients experience a stinging or burning sensation as the laser moves over the skin, however the discomfort for most patients is minimal. Most patients can return to regular activities immediately following the procedure.
Risks and Recovery from Laser Pigment Removal
After the laser pigment removal procedure, patients may experience swelling in the affected area of the skin. Risks of laser pigment removal may include:
- Temporary darkening or lightening of the skin
Patients are advised to apply sunscreen and gently care for the affected area to ensure proper healing. Depending on the size and severity of the area being treated, several laser treatment sessions may be required before desired results are achieved.