You tried every possible remedy, but nothing seems to provide you the effectiveness and gratification that you’re seeking. You have tested natural enzymatic products or other chemical-based cosmetics, but you are not fully satisfied. So you are considering something more permanent to fight hyperpigmentation (whatever the cause may be).
You’ve heard about laser skin lightening and come across contradictory opinions on the effects, risks and benefits. And finally you asked yourself: is it really permanent? Today you’re going to find out all the truth about skin-lightening lasers. Don’t get too excited, it won’t be a shocking truth. Or maybe it will.
Is Laser Skin Lightening Permanent?
The answer to this question is simple: it depends. If laser therapy is used to treat hyperpigmented spots, it can be considered a permanent measure. In other words, it can be presumed that the removed patches won’t be returning. This obviously doesn’t exclude the possibility of new ones occurring. However, they can be removed at a later date.
Compared to other treatments, laser seems to have a longer lasting effect. For some people in particular it seems to be more effective and enduring, especially for those with lighter skin tones. One thing is for sure, we can refer to this type of treatment as almost permanent, but if you want a durable effect, one laser session won’t be enough. That’s why you may want to consider repeating treatments from time to time as a maintenance measure. Apart from this strictly necessary point, there are also non-medical methods to ensure that the effectiveness of the laser is maintained for the longest time. We’ll talk more about this below, so keep reading!
The reason why many people undergo this procedure is that, well… It can be useful for treating certain skin conditions, such as melasma, age spots, acne scars and any other case of hyperpigmentation. But it is also used to treat skin blemishes caused by sun exposure, redness due to small veins, wrinkles, freckles and blackheads.
Laser skin lightening shouldn’t be a DIY treatment (like others you can easily take at home). It is a medical procedure that needs to be performed by a dermatologist or by a plastic surgeon. That’s why it is essential that you take it seriously, making the decision after carefully weighing up the risks and benefits.
The duration of the beneficial effect of the laser is not the same for all people. Obviously, the variability of the outcomes depends on the fact that every skin is different. And it is impossible to determine in advance a time that applies to everyone. For some people laser skin lightening may be the only effective solution. As a matter of fact, it is probably the most effective solution on the market. But that doesn’t change the fact that repeated maintenance sessions will probably be necessary.
Also, there are a number of measures you can take to make the laser effect last longer. An absolute must is to include a good portion of sunscreen in your daily skin care routine. It may not be easy to keep this in mind, especially during cold seasons and especially in those geographical areas where the climate is cold and the sunshine is little. The risk of being exposed to the negative effects of the sun’s bad rays is perceived as minor, but it’s real. But whether you see it or not, the sun is there. And that’s why it is important to protect your skin from its rays. While this precaution is valid for everyone and in every circumstance, this is even more important after a laser lightening treatment. Or at least it is so, if you want its effect to last longer.
Finally, healthy lifestyle choices certainly help the purpose. This means, amongst other things, having a healthy and complete diet, rich in raw fruit and vegetables and full of antioxidants. Avoiding smoking is also a good habit. You may also consider using carotenoid-based products for your skincare.
How Does Laser Skin Lightening Work?
Laser skin lightening is a medical procedure by which irregular and damaged skin cells are removed. The aim is to stimulate the growth of new cells that will look brighter, giving your skin a more youthful appearance. Basically the outer layer of skin is removed, thanks to a focused beam of light energy that targets localised fractions on the skin. They are known as chromophores and high amounts of melanin are concentrated here. Different types of laser procedures exist, but typically, short duration pulses are used.
Erbium:YAG laser or Fractional laser are the most popular for skin lightening.
Er:Yag uses radiation with a wavelength of 2940nm and is particularly ideal for skin blemishes such as spots and wrinkles. Fractional laser is a non-invasive procedure that produces thousands of tiny beams that target limited fractions of the skin. By doing so, it removes old epidermal cells and reaches deep into the dermis (the mid-layer). Targeting small zones, not only does it preserve the surrounding tissue, but it allows faster healing.
Each laser skin lightening session lasts approximately half an hour, up to one hour. After a laser session you will experience a warm sensation on the skin that will last approximately 15-20 minutes. You may notice some redness but this can be expected to disappear within a few days.
Pros and Cons
We’ve given you a few hints here and there to make it clear how important it is to evaluate the pros and cons. Let’s find out more.
The pros can be summarised as follows. First, laser gives you faster results. Compared to other treatments that require daily commitment and perseverance, such as using hydroquinone, laser is certainly faster in its outcomes. Secondly, it is a procedure that is usually supervised by a doctor. It may seem unnecessary, but this – by itself – guarantees more safety than other types of treatments that are undertaken unaided, often without any medical expertise.
But what about the cons? Although the blush should disappear within a few days in most cases, prolonged redness of the skin is possible for some people. Right after the procedure some discomfort may be felt, which is certainly variable in intensity and duration. You may experience swelling, itching and a stinging sensation. Another “con” is the price: laser skin lightening can be quite expensive, especially if it is repeated over time.
Is Laser Skin Lightening Safe?
We have mentioned this treatment cons and now you may be thinking: is it safe? Yes, we can say it is a safe procedure. However, the safest thing you can do is to consult a dermatologist and make sure it is safe (and best) for you.
But every medical procedure comes with potential side effects. We said that some degree of discomfort is pretty common after a laser session. The problem may be if this discomfort is particularly pronounced and doesn’t fade for several weeks. This can be considered an actual side effect. In some rare cases, an infection may also develop (which is why the laser treatment is often followed by a few days of antibiotics).
In some cases, especially for people with darker skin, changes in skin pigmentation may occur. Opposite outcomes may derive from laser skin lightening: Hyperpigmentation may be accentuated or, on the other hand, skin may show hypopigmentation.
Some final words
We hope we helped you to have a deeper and clearer understanding of how laser skin lightening works so that you can make a more informed choice. By now it should be clear to you that there are no absolute truths. However, it is certainly a solution that we can consider long-term. Assumed that some follow ups may be necessary and that you will definitely need to put some effort and attention into how you take care of your skin, after the treatment. As already mentioned, this will mean following a healthy lifestyle, a good skin care routine and, most importantly, using tons of sunscreen.