Pigmentation Removal
June 24, 2024

Common Side Effects of Pigmentation Removal Treatments and how to Deal with them

If you're thinking of visiting a pigmentation removal clinic in Singapore, you will want to choose a clinic that can personalize treatments depending on your skin and pigmentation treatment needs. Choosing the right treatment tailored to your skin type is crucial as unsuitable treatment cannot only cause irritation but also worsen pigmentation among other side effects.

A good aesthetic or skin doctor can recommend the best option based on your skin's needs to ensure safety and effectiveness. Proper treatment not only improves appearance but also boosts confidence and skin health.

This article explains what to expect after your pigmentation removal treatment. Importantly, it explains the common side effects and how to deal with them.

Pigmentation Removal Treatments

What can a Client Expect after Pigmentation Treatment?

Top pigmentation removal clinics offer a wide range of treatments, each with its unique process and recovery expectations. Here’s a quick overview of the most common treatments and what you can expect after each;

  • Face Acids: Face acids, like glycolic or salicylic acid, exfoliate the top layer of skin to promote cell turnover. After treatment, you may experience mild redness and sensitivity that is similar to a mild sunburn. As for the results, they typically show after several weeks of continued use.
  • Retinoids: Retinoids are derived from vitamin A. They work by accelerating cell turnover and fading pigmentation. Post-treatment, you may experience dryness, peeling, and increased sensitivity. This is especially true when your skin is exposed to sunlight. You will get noticeable improvement generally within a few months.
  • Chemical Peels: Chemical peels involve applying a solution to exfoliate and peel off the outer skin layer and reveal smoother, less pigmented skin underneath. After a peel, you can expect redness, swelling, and peeling, similar to sunburn. These effects can last from a few days to a week. Results can be seen in a week, with continued improvement over time.
  • Laser Peel: A laser peel, or laser resurfacing, uses concentrated light beams to remove layers of skin. Following a laser treatment, you may experience mild side effects like redness, swelling, and a sunburn-like sensation. The recovery period can range from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the laser's intensity. Results are often visible after the skin heals, with ongoing improvement over several months.
  • IPL Therapy: Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy targets pigmentation with broad-spectrum light. After treatment, you may experience mild redness and swelling which are quite common side effects. These side effects also resemble mild sunburn. Brown spots may darken initially before flaking off. Downtime is minimal, and improvements can be seen after a few sessions.
  • Lightening Creams: Lightening creams contain ingredients like hydroquinone or kojic acid to reduce pigmentation. After application, some people may experience mild irritation or dryness. Consistent use over several weeks is necessary for visible results. To prevent further pigmentation, you will want to maintain a continued use of sunscreen.

What are the Side Effects of Pigmentation Treatment?

To be able to prepare for and manage the side effects of pigmentation removal treatments, you will want to know them beforehand thus the question; what are the side effects of pigmentation treatment? Real quick, here are five common side effects, their causes, and the treatments associated with them;

Redness and Swelling

Redness and swelling are common after many pigmentation treatments. This occurs as the skin reacts to the exfoliation or light therapy intended to remove pigmentation.

Treatments like chemical peels, laser peels, IPL therapy, and dermabrasion may cause these side effects. For chemical peels, the redness and swelling can mimic a sunburn and last from a few hours to a week.

Laser peels and IPL therapy cause similar reactions. However, laser treatments sometimes cause more intense swelling.

Treatments like dermabrasion, which involves deeper exfoliation, can cause significant redness and swelling that lasts for several weeks. To manage these symptoms, maintain proper aftercare, which includes the use of prescribed ointments and avoiding sun exposure.

Dryness and Peeling

Dryness and peeling are typical, especially with treatments that accelerate cell turnover. Retinoids and face acids like glycolic acid are known for causing these side effects.

Retinoids as earlier explained are derived from vitamin A and can make the skin feel dry and tight which may lead to peeling. Face acids work by exfoliating the top layer of skin, which can also result in dryness and peeling as new skin cells emerge.

To manage these symptoms, moisturize the skin and use gentle skincare products. It will also help to avoid harsh chemicals and extreme temperatures during the recovery period to prevent further irritation.

Increased Sensitivity to Sunlight

Many pigmentation treatments increase skin sensitivity to sunlight. This is why qualified providers insist on sun protection.

Treatments like retinoids, chemical peels, laser peels, and microdermabrasion are known to increase sun sensitivity. Retinoids and chemical peels remove the outer skin layer to expose newer, more vulnerable skin.

Laser peels and microdermabrasion also thin the skin’s outer layer to increase sensitivity to UV rays. Without proper sun protection, there’s a higher risk of sunburn and further pigmentation issues. You should apply broad-spectrum sunscreen and wear protective clothing to safeguard your skin during the healing process.

Irritation and Discomfort

Irritation and discomfort are common with many pigmentation treatments. This is particularly true during the initial healing stages.

Lightening creams, retinoids, and face acids for example can cause stinging, burning, or itching sensation. Lightening creams formulated with ingredients like hydroquinone or kojic acid may irritate sensitive skin.

Retinoids and face acids, which promote cell turnover, often cause discomfort as the skin adjusts. To minimize irritation, please use these products as directed, starting with lower concentrations and gradually increasing usage.

Darkening of Treated Areas

Paradoxically, some pigmentation treatments can temporarily darken the treated areas before improvement is seen. This is particularly common with IPL therapy and chemical peels.

After IPL therapy, pigmentation spots might initially darken before flaking off. Similarly, chemical peels can cause pigmentation to appear more pronounced before the skin heals and the pigmentation fades.

This darkening is usually temporary and part of the skin’s natural healing process. However, you must follow aftercare instructions closely and be patient as the skin recovers and improves over time.

The Bottom Line

Different pigmentation removal treatments come with a wide range of potential side effects. Luckily, these side effects can be effectively managed by following the post-treatment guidelines by your provider.

If you're worried about any developments after your pigmentation removal treatment, seek clarity from your provider to be sure. If you're in Singapore, call or visit the Astique clinic to learn more. Details below;

Astique the Aesthetic Clinic

1 Grange Rd,

#12-02 Located above H&M,

Orchard Building, Singapore 239693

+65 6732 3801