Ablative and nonablative lasers can be used to help eliminate hyperpigmentation. Lasers like Q-switched ruby or Nd:YAG are best for treating moderate, flat age spots because the light emitted is selectively absorbed by the pigment lesions. (To treat raised spots, the discolored portion must be frozen off with liquid nitrogen.)
If you suffer from severe discoloration, your doctor may recommend a series of fractional resurfacing laser treatments. Nonablative lasers like Fraxel safely “injure” the skin to illicit a healing response, stimulating collagen production for new, healthy skin. Ablative lasers are more effective at removing pigmentation, but they require recovery of one to two weeks, and your skin can be pink for about a month.
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