Pigmentation Treatment: What Methods Really Work?

Skin pigmentation is the variation in a person’s normal skin color where melanin gathers in an area creating a dark spot that varies in size. There are many types of hyperpigmentation, such as sunspots (liver spots), which are caused by sun exposure over time. There are many methods for remedying pigmentation, but the best treatment for pigmentation on the face is generally clinical pigment reduction.

What is hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation is patches of the skin that becomes darker than the surrounding areas caused by the increase in melanin. Melanin is the substance in the skin’s outer layer cells that when exposed to the sun, melanin is produced causing the skin to darken.

Melanin protects the skin from the sun’s harsh ultraviolet rays, and some areas may be affected differently to others causing age spots, birthmarks, freckles, and sunspots. These stand out as darker areas than the rest of your natural complexion and laser treatment for pigmentation is an effective option to reduce the appearance of dark spots.

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is the result of injury or inflammation of the skin and Melasma is a common skin condition prevalent in pregnant women. It is stimulated by hormonal increases and also worsened with exposure to UV light. It occurs deeper in the skin’s dermis than regular pigmentation, which can be more difficult to remove.

A dermatologist can correctly diagnose and recommend various clinical treatments available.

Birthmarks on woman's back

What are popular options to treat pigmentation?

Pigmentation is a common skin condition and there are various treatment options available on the market ranging from over the counter medication to laser treatment for dark skin pigmentation. Various applications need to be done by professionals who are familiar with different processes that include chemical peels and laser treatment.

Chemical peels use a stronger acid concentration to treat the affected skin area and work by removing the epidermis or top layer of the skin. There are deeper versions that penetrate into the dermis or lower layers of the skin to produce more dramatic results. Laser peeling uses targeted beams of light to destroy skin cells that will then encourage new growth with normal pigmentation.

What are the popular ways to treat pigmentation at home?

The majority of home medications include over-the- counter (OTC) medication like lightening creams, face acids, and retinoids, which are derived from vitamin A. These are among the oldest OTC remedies used with small molecules allowing deep penetration into the skin layers.

Lightening creams are a topical application in a cream or gel form, which are typically a more affordable option. They help to decrease pigmentation but may take longer to work. These products are also available in stronger doses but only when prescribed by a doctor.

Additional options are available for anti-pigmentation treatment at home, which include natural remedies. Some of these are apple cider vinegar, which contains acetic acid and may lighten pigmentation although this is not guaranteed. Aloe vera contains aloin, which is a natural depigmenting compound that lightens the skin. Other remedies include red onions, green tea extract, black tea water, and liquorice extract found in over the counter creams to name a few.

Anti-pigmentation treatment at home

Are they effective?

Dark spot pigmentation treatment at home can be very effective depending on the level of the pigmentation on the skin and what type of blemish it is, taking into consideration that very dark spots are generally a few layers into the dermis of the skin and would require a person to seek medical advice. Hyperpigmentation is a cosmetic issue, which does not pose any real threat other than the appearance on the skin.

What is laser pigmentation treatment?

Laser pigmentation removal is one of the most advanced treatments available on the market today. These specially designed lasers focus only on the darkened pigmentation and do not affect the surrounding tissue. This type of treatment uses different types of laser applications to treat various pigmentation issues. Freckles pigmentation treatment is a quick non-invasive process and can take as little as 1-3 treatments to remove.

How does it work?

Skin pigmentation treatment is available in the UK and uses lasers that produce wavelengths of high energy pinpoint light, which is then converted into heat energy. These can be focused on specific areas of pigmentation. As the laser light is only absorbed by the darker areas of pigmentation, the surrounding skin remains unaffected by the heat source.

Are there any side effects?

Generally, there are minimal side effects with laser pigmentation removal, however, there may be a little discomfort after the application with a slight reddening and mild swelling of the skin around the treated area. This discomfort can be relieved with the use of an ice pack applied to the skin. One should not consider treatments too close together as the skin needs to heal properly and regenerate new growth between applications.

Skin with birthmarks

What effects can be expected from home efforts to treat pigmentation?

Depending on the severity of the pigmentation, various home applications can be tried, however, they generally include a mild exfoliation, which does not penetrate deep enough into the skin to cause any permanent change. Topical cream treatments are designed to penetrate the skin’s protective layers.

Can laser treatment remove pigmentation? Yes, this is one of the most effective processes to reduce skin blemishes when carried out by a professional.

What effect can be expected from clinical laser pigment reduction, what benefits it provides?

Pigmentation removal treatment with the use of specialized laser equipment can dramatically reduce the visual impact dark spots have on the face and body. Depending on the severity of the pigmentation will determine the rate of reduction and the number of applications required as specified by your practitioner. Subsequent to clinical laser reduction treatment, you can use makeup conceals areas when the patients feel self-conscious while the process is happening.

Key Differences Between Cryolipolysis And Cavitation

Cryolipolysis and Cavitation are two recognized beneficial treatments to aid in fat removal by using non-surgical technology. Both of these procedures facilitate the disruption of cells to remove fat deposits in the areas of concern. Lipo cavitation is a method that destroys fat cells via low-frequency sound waves whereas cryolipolysis, also known as fat freezing, uses cooling mechanisms to break down fat cells.

What are popular options to lose weight?

There are numerous ways in which people can achieve weight loss. There are mechanical methods that remove adipose tissue that are surgically invasive or there are non-invasive procedures such as liposuction, cryolipolysis, and cavitation treatment. Alternatively, some people choose to achieve weight loss naturally through means of physical exercise and calorie deficit eating habits.  

With non-invasive weight loss options becoming increasingly convenient and common, it is no surprise that cavitation and cryolipolysis in London have become significantly popular weight loss and fat removal treatments. These procedures are painless requiring no recovery time while simultaneously helping you transform your body.

What is cryolipolysis (fat freezing)?

Cryolipolysis, known as fat freezing, is a non-invasive procedure applied to problematic areas of the body in which a cooling process is used to provide localized fat reduction. As the name states, it involves freezing of the fat cells, causing them to eventually die off. The fat pocket that is targeted is frozen. Here, around 30% of the cells die off and the released fats, membranes, and toxins that were contained inside the fat cells are eliminated via the body’s lymphatic system.

What is cavitation (fat melting)?

Cavitation (liposuction) treatment is also known as ultrasonic cavitation, and it is a non-invasive method of liposuction treatment. In this procedure, low-frequency sound waves are produced and applied to the targeted area, which causes the fat cells to oscillate rapidly, resulting in a pressure build up within the fat cells. Once pressure is at its threshold, the fat cells break apart and the contents are released into the body.

Ultrasound cavitation body contouring treatment

What are the main differences between these procedures?

Even though both treatments facilitate the removal of fat in the body, the main difference is in the method of procedure. Ultrasonic cavitation is quite different from cryolipolysis in which the fat reduction method involves the application of ultrasound and low-frequency sound waves to achieve its effect.

This serves as an effective method in treating cellulite, more widespread fat and cavitation achieves body contouring results. In contrast, cryolipolysis operates with controlled low temperatures on the area of concern and is far more suitable and effective in treating more specific fat accumulation and fat pockets that can be grabbed.

Each cavitation fat treatment session lasts approximately 40 minutes to 1 hour and 6-12 treatments with a 5-7 day period between each session are recommended for optimal results (removal of up to 12cm of fat). These results vary from person to person and patients often see a big difference in the reduction of fat within 6-12 weeks. 

Cryolipolysis, on the other hand, is a once off, 45-minute to 1 hour treatment that can take    6-10 weeks to see full results.  A more effective outcome can be combined with dietary factors as well.  

The results of cavitation/fat melting treatment are perceived to appear faster as opposed to cryolipolysis, where results only start to appear and be noticeable after a month of treatment. However, the results of cryolipolysis are more stable and long term compared to cavitation. Cavitation requires a greater number of treatment sessions to achieve similar effects.

Is lipo cavitation safe? Yes, and so is cavitation. Both procedures are pain-free with very few risks. The possible side effects of cavitation may include bruising, slight skin irritation and/or presentation of a pink colour on the treated area of the skin. With cryolipolysis, bruising, numbness of the area and/or pigmentation can occur as a result of treatment.


How are they conducted?

Cavitation is administered with the use of an ultrasound device and a paddle type applicator. Here, low frequency ultrasonic waves are applied using the applicator over the fatty tissue. The ultrasound waves penetrate deep into the layers of the skin and produce fine ultrasonic vibrations within the fat cells. This causes the fat cells to break away from each other and are eventually absorbed by your lymphatic system.

With cryolipolysis, a Cryo Head is used and placed over the fatty pocket. This machine physically sucks up the pocket of fat and freezes it to approximately -6°C. This cooling technique penetrates about 2cm below the surface of the skin, freezing the fat cells and causing them to die off. This reduces the amount of adipose tissue by interrupting the homeostatic temperature of the epidermis.

What are the benefits of both cryolipolysis and cavitation?

Cavitation and cryolipolysis at clinics are non-invasive and non-surgical procedures that require no anaesthetics and often have minimal to no side effects. Depending on the method you chose, cavitation targets a reduction in widespread fat and aids in cellulite reduction whereas cryolipolysis offers permanent reduction of specific fat pockets on the body. All in all, they both facilitate in the reduction of localized fat through a pain-free application, leaving no scarring or marks while also tightening the skin. A great advantage is that both procedures allow you to continue with your normal daily activities immediately after the treatment process with zero downtime required.

What to expect from them?

Through these procedures, one can expect a reduction in localized or widespread fat and/or contouring of certain body parts while treating cellulite and improving skin elasticity. Most of these results are relatively permanent with the correct healthy eating habits put in place to improve maintenance. During the procedure, some may experience slight discomfort due to the ultrasonic noise from the fat freezing or a cold sensation from the cryolipolysis machines, however, this inflicts no harm on the patient.