Pigmentation is a condition in which there is an increase in the number of skin cells called melanocytes, which produce melanin. Melanin is responsible for giving our skin its natural colour.
The increased production of melanin can cause many areas on your body to darken or discolour- commonly, the face, neck, arms, and hands are affected. Over time dark patches may become more prominent.
The majority of options for pigmentation treatment in Singapore are effective because they address both types of pigmentation caused by aging (known as Lentigines) and that caused by overactive pigment-producing cells (known as Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation).
Lentigines (also known as liver spots) are age spots that can be found on the face, hands, and arms of those who have been exposed to the sun for extended periods of time. They appear as small tan or brown flat marks that look similar to a freckle.
These areas may darken over time and grow slowly. The lentiginous pigment is made up primarily of melanin, lipofuscin, and oxygenated hemoglobin. Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) is more common than Lentigines and is caused by injury to skin cells.
Skin pigmentation changes happen when there is inflammation near the affected area after an injury such as a cut, scrape, burn, or infection occurs. This type of pigmentation is more common in injured areas such as the face and neck; however, it can also affect the skin on your body. Here are a few more pigmentation types you may want to know about;
- Liver spots: Small brownish or black-pigmented lesions commonly found on the hands and arms of men and women who have spent a lifetime in the sun. Spots can range from 1 – 10 mm but usually average about 2 – 3 mm across. These age spots are typically seen on areas of skin that have had significant sun damage, such as the face, ears, backs of hands, forearms, and upper chest.
- Freckles: A small tan spot similar to lentigines, except they occur naturally on some people’s skin at times of the year, i.e., spring/summer, if they tend to burn in the sun. Freckles are small brown or black spots that result from the pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) found near the surface of your skin. They usually appear during childhood and adolescence and will fade with age.
- Birthmarks: Also called congenital pigmentation marks, these pigmented lesions occur at birth or shortly afterward as flat patches on the skin, although they may become more pronounced later in life depending upon exposure to sunlight which makes them darker. These marks vary significantly in colour (red, tan, brown, black), size (tiny to large), and shape (irregularly shaped).
- Moles: Small benign coloured growths of melanocytes can appear anywhere on the skin. They are usually round or oval with an even color throughout and even pigmentation. However, sometimes moles can be irregular in shape and size and may be multicoloured because of different-coloured pigment cells within them.
Pigmentation Treatment Options: Costs and What to Expect
The cost of treatment in Singapore depends on the type and depth of pigmentation. The patient’s skin tone, age, and lifestyle factor into their specific needs when it comes to pigmentation treatments. Here is a roundup of the common pigmentation treatment options and costs.
- Intense Pulsed Light (IPL): This type of light therapy is used to treat sun and age spots because it penetrates deeply into the skin to target pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) that cause discolourations. A hand-piece sends flashes of intense pulsating light that pass through the upper layers of the skin, which then either heat up or shatter (fractionalize) these melanocytes, resulting in a reduction in pigment production over time. This technique is non-invasive but will not help melasma, which requires chemical peels. The cost of IPL for pigmentation treatment in Singapore averages around $300 for each session.
- Laser Therapy: This technique is used to treat sun and age spots because it penetrates deeply into the skin to target pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) that cause discolourations directly. The laser light passes through the upper layers of the skin, destroying these melanocytes, reducing pigment production over time. Your dermatologist may not recommend this treatment for melasma and recommend, chemical peels instead for treating melasma patches on the face or hands. Costs of laser therapy for pigmentation treatment in Singapore ranges between $500 and $1500.
- Prescription Skin Lightening for Pigmentation: Prescription Skin Lightening works by “removing” (destroying) your top layer of skin and targets your pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) that cause discolourations. It aims at removing this top layer of skin entirely to leave you with a flawless skin. The cost for Prescription Skin Lightening pigmentation treatment in Singapore begins from around $250.
- In-office Cosmetic Pigmentation Treatment: These treatment options involves the use of chemical peels and are usually, less invasive and effective at removing superficial sun or age spots on thinner areas of the face like around the eyes, sides of nose, forehead, and cheeks; whereas prescription skin lightening may be more effective for thicker, tougher patches on your body like hands, chest, and forearms. The downside of using this treatment option is that they can’t penetrate deeply into your skin like deep peeling can, therefore only treating the upper (epidermis). Microdermabrasion and chemical peels are some of the treatments in this group and the treatment costs can range from $90 to $250 or more depending on the pigmentation type or size you’re trying to get rid of.
Can Pigmentation Return after Treatment?
The way pigment treatment in Singapore works is it targets the melanin-making cells (melanocytes) to reduce their activity and production returning your natural skin colour over time. However, there is no treatment for pigment removal that can permanently make your pigment disappear because somewhere in the body are cells that are pre-programmed to produce the same amount of melanin production they always have.
Therefore pigmentation will continue to return if you keep exposing yourself to the sun or go out without wearing sunscreen. People with darker skin tones usually have more melanocytes making them more sensitive to sun damage.
They naturally have more pigment-producing cells than lighter-skinned individuals whose bodies don’t need as much natural protection against UV rays. For this reason, patients with darker pigmented skin should be especially diligent about using sunscreen whenever outdoors and avoiding direct sun exposure between 10 A.M.- 4 P.M when the sun’s rays are strongest.
Exposure to the sun also increases your risk of developing skin cancer, especially if you have a history of skin cancer in your family or you’ve had several blistering sunburns throughout your lifetime. Sun damage will accelerate aging, meaning it may make fine lines and wrinkles even more noticeable, giving patients an older appearance which they’re trying to prevent by undergoing treatment for pigmentation in the first place!
The Bottom Line
Cosmetic clinics in Singapore perform various types of pigmentation treatments depending on the severity of your condition. If you’ve got patches or spots caused by hyperpigmentation (the overproduction of melanin) or any other condition, give us a call now for a complete evaluation and guidance on the best skin pigmentation treatment options for you. Call/WhatsApp: +6588586689
Dr Chua Cheng Yu 13 Stamford Rd, #B2-35 Capitol Singapore, Singapore 178905 +65 8858 6689 https://www.drcychua.com/