Unique character of the Q-switched laser treatment involves ultra-short (nanosecond) impulses of laser light, which penetrate deep into the skin. Thanks to this, during the treatment of tattoos, discolourations or pigment lesions it only affects the pigment, without damaging the surrounding skin. As a result, the laser does not leave post-treatment scars and convalescence is extremely short. Another secret of the q-switched laser is length of the laser wave. Application of 4 wave lengths allows effective and selective removal of discolourations, brown spots (pigment lesions), freckles and tattoos in different colours. An interesting therapeutic option is the treatment of recurring discolourations – an extremely frequent aesthetic problem. After repeated sessions with the q-switch laser, durable improvement is achieved in 80% patients!
Is this a painful treatment?
Discolourations. During the treatment, the patient experiences a slight burning sensation. To prevent overheating of the epidermis and reduce the discomfort, various forms of cooling the skin are used during the treatment – cold gel, stream of cold air or chilled treatment head.
Tattoos. To reduce the patient’s discomfort, the tattoo removal treatment is performed under local anaesthesia. In case of very large tattoos, the procedure may be performed in several stages, each comprising a different part of the tattoo.
When does the effect appear and how long does it last?
Recurring discolourations require both the patient’s and the doctor’s patience. First visible effects of the therapy are observed after 3-4 treatment sessions only. Once satisfactory effects are achieved, the patient must obligatorily use sunscreen and hydroquinone preparations. Permanent removal of the discolouration is achieved in 80% of such patients.
Pigment changes, freckles become darker within a few hours after the treatment. You should be prepared that they may become in the colour of dark chocolate. The process of mild exfoliation, which begins on the following day, takes approximately 2 weeks. Makeup may be applied and the discoloured areas may be masked immediately after the laser treatment session.
Laser removal is very effective in case of most types of tattoos. The tattoo may be removed completely during laser treatment procedures, but this requires many sessions. App. 50% tattoo brightening is observed after each session, unless the tattoo is located in a scar. Depending on the colour being removed, different devices are used during tattoo removal process, but the crucial factor is experience of the therapist.
Recurring discolourations usually require 10 treatment sessions, at the intervals of 10 days. The schedule should be observed closely because of the physiology of pigment cells, which are the direct reason of recurring discolourations.
Pigment lesions, freckles. The treatments involve exposition of the discoloured areas. The number of sessions depends on the discolouration character, and especially on the depth of pigment deposition in the skin. In most cases, however, these are one-off procedures. Epidermis spots, where the pigment is shallow (in the epidermis) are easiest to remove. It is much more difficult to treat dermis discolourations, where melanin is deposited deeper, in the dermis. An intermediate kind of discolourations are the mixed ones – dermis-epidermis discolourations. In case of very deep discolourations, it is recommended to repeat the treatment every 3-4 weeks. The number of sessions is determined individually; on average, 3-5 sessions are needed. The treatment may be preceded with microdermabrasion, which increases treatment efficiency.
Tattoos. For complete removal of an unwanted tattoo, up to 10 treatment sessions ought to be performed, at the intervals of 2-3 weeks. The number of sessions to be performed and appearance of the area after the removed tattoo are determined by:
- Kind of pigment,
- Tattoo depth,
- Method of performing the tattoo,
- Location of the tattoo,
- Individual characteristics of the patient.
Recurring discolourations only require full sunscreen protection (SPF 50) throughout the treatment and for 6 months after its completion. Slight, easy to conceal erythema may remain for 3-4 days after the treatment.
Discolourations. In case of epidermis spots, skin redness and darkening of the spots may appear after the treatment. These symptoms disappear within 3-7 days, when the epidermis exfoliation and, thus, elimination of the discolouration occurs. Complete protection against the sunshine is obligatory. Use of SPF50 sunscreen filters is recommended.
Tattoos. After the treatment, redness appears in the area of removed pigment, itching and sometimes scabs. This is a normal process, during which the pigment is eliminated. In case of scabs, immediately after they fall off the area where the pigment was removed may be pink in colour for approximately 2 weeks. Another treatment may not be performed sooner than app. 2-3 weeks later. After removal of a tattoo, the area should be protected against the sunlight for 6 months, in order to avoid discolourations. During this time, tanning creams or tanning beds should not be used.
Contraindications and adverse effects
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
- Newly tanned skin (for 2 weeks after the last suntan session)
Adverse effects are usually insignificant and they may include redness, swelling, blisters and infrequent cases of skin unevenness.
- Epidermis and dermis pigment changes
- Removal of freckles
- Recurring discolourations
- Advanced tattoo removal
- Laser peel