One of the most common signs of aging is unwanted pigmented spots on sun-exposed areas of the body such as the face, hands and chest. Contrary to popular belief, the development of these lesions has nothing to do with liver disease.
There are a variety of lesions that are grouped into the category of 'age spots.' Included in the catch phrase of conditions are solar lentigos, seborrheic keratosis, ephelides (freckles) and other benign spots of hyperpigmentation. Unfortunately, these lesions tend to get darker with age and sun exposure and the predilection to their development is hereditary. Thinner spots are amenable to elimination with in-office treatments such as chemical peels and lasers.
For many years, the Erbium Fraxel® Laser has been our mainstay for facial, neck, chest and hand skin resurfacing treating pigment spots, lines, wrinkles, sun damage and more. Fractional treatment revolutionized skin resurfacing in the early 2000's to allow for in-office treatments without a lot of downtime and less pain. There is, however, a certain amount of pain with Fraxel® Laser treatments requiring at least topical anesthesia if not local injections as well. In addition, there is a few days of pinkness and swelling, which is a lot better than with the old ablative laser treatments, but still some recovery time was necessary.
PicoSure® Focus Laser
We were the second office in Ohio and the first in the Columbus area to have the PicoSure® Laser for tattoo removal and it is still the proverbial 'latest and greatest' laser for treating tattoos. It is a Q-switched laser with the advanced proprietary technology of mode-locking, which allows the PicoSure® Laser to fire in trillionths of a second rather than billionths of a second. Recently, Cynosure, the parent company for the PicoSure® Laser, came out with a new hand piece for skin resurfacing, which allows for true minimal downtime. The Focus hand piece scatters the Alexandrite laser beam into tiny fragments, much like the Fraxel® Laser does with its Erbium beam.
Most unwanted pigmented lesions are quite thin and superficial, therefore, high laser energy is not required for deep penetration of the beam, which translates into less pain during the treatment. Although some patients may choose to use a topical anesthetic prior to their PicoSure® Laser session, the vast majority require no anesthesia at all. After Fraxel® Laser treatment, most patients have a sunburned like feel while following a PicoSure® Laser session, there is only a slight warmth or no sensation at all.
Our experience with the PicoSure® Focus Laser from a recovery standpoint has been a very pleasant surprise. Most patients will only be slightly pink when they leave our office and this is almost always gone in less than two hours. Others will have no evidence at all that they had a treatment.
Melasma is a patchy brownish pigmentation commonly found on the face most commonly in women during their reproductive years. It is more common among women with darker skin and can get significantly worse during pregnancy. The PicoSure® Focus Laser can dramatically improve the appearance of melasma when combined with the use of 4% Hydroquinone cream twice a day.