Pigmented lesions: an annoying blemish
Pigmented lesions, and in particular age spots, are increasingly regarded by the persons affected as a cosmetic blemish. Age spots occur in 50% of women and 20% of men over the age of 50. As such signs of aging are increasingly being seen as annoying, the readiness to have these removed privately is also growing.
There are many different types of pigmented lesions, which differ from one another fundamentally in terms of their morphological and histological characteristics. For this reason, the evaluation of and possible therapy for pigmented lesions should always be reserved to doctors with specialist knowledge.
Benign pigmented lesions such as lentigo simplex, lentigo senilis (age and sun spots) and many other types of naevi may be treated with laser devices in various ways. Pico and Nano lasers emit short light pulses, which, thanks to their specific wavelength, are selectively absorbed by the skin pigment melanin.
The laser treatment itself is uncomplicated and is conducted on an out-patient basis, with or without a local anesthetic.
Choosing the right wavelength: a decisive factor for the success of the treatment
The type of laser is a decisive factor when determining which color pigments may be treated particularly well and which colors do not respond as well to treatment. Ruby lasers, which work in the near-infrared range, have proved themselves to be almost universally deployable in practice. As a result of the strong absorption of the ruby laser beam by the skin pigment melanin, these devices are particularly well-suited for the treatment of natural pigmented lesions. Patients generally tolerate the treatment without an anesthetic; a local anesthetic is only used in rare cases.
The wavelength of the Ruby or Nd:YAG laser light is specifically absorbed by the color pigments of the lesion. The energy is transferred and then fragments the colored particles from the connective tissue. The fragmented particles are then degraded epidermally and lymphatically. The irradiated area of skin appears whitish for between ten and twenty minutes immediately after treatment. A slight crust then forms, which will slough off after between one and two weeks.
Pigmented lesions may also be treated using ablative lasers. In this respect, it is necessary to differentiate between “cold ablation”, with the Dermablate Erbium:YAG laser for instance, and vaporization with the QuadroStarPRO green or yellow light.
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