Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Does Laser Treatment For Pigmented Skin Lesions Cause Thinning of the Skin ?

Pigmented skin lesions are defined as darker coloured spots or patches on the skin due to abnormally concentrated melanin, the skin pigment. Pigmented skin lesions could be freckles, sun spots, melasma or birthmarks. Laser treatment helps to diminish these conditions and brightens the complexion but this high-tech-skin-saver has raised some concerns and the most popular question will be “Can laser treatment thin my skin ?”

How Does Laser Treatment for Pigmented Skin Lesions Works ?

Cross section diagram of skin demonstrating absorption of laser light by skin pigments only.

Laser works by delivering an intense beam of light that is absorbed by a specified laser target, which in this case refers to skin melanin. This light is converted into heat energy, which is absorbed by the melanin. Sufficient heat is produced to damage the melanin, while leaving surrounding normal skin structures relatively unaffected. Therefore, laser treatment for pigmented skin lesions only selectively destroys the pigments and does not strip away layers of the skin.

Laser Treatment May Improve Collagen Regeneration and Skin Elasticity

Besides treating pigmented skin lesions, the laser energy also induces collagen synthesis and remodelling, leading to improvements in dermal layer thickness and collagen fiber density. This effect is well documented in many clinical studies.

Taking Care of the Skin After Laser Treatment for Pigmented Skin Lesions
Immediately after treatment, there will be some mild redness of the skin. Do avoid sunlight exposure for at least a month after laser treatment for pigmented skin lesions and use a sunscreen of at least SPF 25. Occasionally, the treated skin will more likely develop mild redness when exposed to the sun or feels dry - this effect is usually temporary and it is advisable to use a moisturiser to soothe any irritation and to moisturise the skin.
So, the truth is – laser treatment for pigmented skin lesions does not cause skin thinning. The treatment may sometimes induce temporary mild redness and dryness that is mistaken by some as the effects of thinned skin.