This article has been very well written by a friend of mine who is a skin therapist. This is where I am coming from now when I tell you I am not going to just zap you to treat your pigmentation issues. We need to look at the underlying causes and triggers first. Yes I can zap it and help to fade it but it will always have the potential to return. By using the correct products we can help to delay the pigmentation from recurring.
Yep. I said it…..Laser doesn’t fix the cause. It simply removes evidence.
It ‘s like mopping up a leak from a tap… But not fixing the leak. You’ll always have to keep mopping up!!!
Laser or IPL cannot change the way a cell functions or malfunctions. Any clinician can zap away the evidence. It takes a true skin professional to be able to reprogram the factory.
When you see spots on your skin, it’s because your cells responsible for producing colour (your melanocyte cell) is in a stimulated overdrive- in the fast lane, creating pigment double time!
The cells around it can’t pick it up quickly enough and so their hands are full and they drop the ball.
Think of a conveyor belt that’s going faster than the collection at the end… It just ends up in a messy pile and all hell breaks loose.
Well that’s what’s happening when your melanocyte is on overdrive.
Now, laser or Intense Pulsed Light treatments CANNOT stop the overdrive or help manage the collection point.
All it can do is try and clean up the big pile of mess building up at the end.
Problem not solved. Skin not fixed. Cause still there.
To fix the problem several things need to be done.
1: Find out WHY:
The pigment ‘conveyor belt’ has gone haywire. You can’t stop it if you don’t know where the malfunction is.
Often times there’s more than one trigger. ALL factors need to be addressed before things will get better. Knowing this will determine the plan of attack and allude to the potential success of your treatment program.
The most common triggers for pigmentation are:
Chemicals- Fragrances, essential oils, antiseptics/disinfectants (All of which are exacerbated when combined with sun exposure
Take away the “trigger”, the problem will calm down and you can work on cleaning up the mess. Don’t address the “trigger” its like a hamster running on a wheel-getting nowhere fast!
This is where we might hit brick walls… I will do everything in my power to work my ass off for your results… but you have your finger on the trigger switch. If you can’t change your habits to reduce the cause… we aren’t going to get anywhere.
2: Slow down the production line.
Now you’ve figured out the cause of the malfunction, it takes a few production cycles (cellular weeks) to ‘calm the farm’ and get things working in harmony- the conveyor belt slows down, the catcher cells at the end are better at picking up each delivery (cell to cell communication is slowly restored)
Now…. the pigment conveyor belt has been running amok for a looooong time… slowing it down is going to take some time. Patience is required here. Expect these stages to take anywhere for 3-6 months. We are reprogramming the way things are functioning down in there… its taken years for the damage to occur.
3: Repair the system.
The “catcher cells” at the end of the production line need to be rebuilt, strengthened and retrained in how to effectively manage the goods (pigment) coming off the conveyor belt. These cells need to be perfectly healthy in their own right to be able to transfer the pigment to be dispatched and distributed. The process of getting these “catchers” healthy requires time and the right ingredients. This isn’t done overnight. The time that this takes will depend on how well you’ve been looking after your skin…. although with pigmentation issues… It tells me that there’s been a little too much ‘fun in the sun’ so there’s a few systems that will be “down” in the factory that need repair. The more systems down, the longer the repair/retraining/reprogramming process.
Getting this right is crucial and takes a combination of home care products and clinic treatments (catcher cell team meetings) targeting these guys.
4: Protect against future malfunctions:
Your melanocyte has the memory of an elephant. Once he knows how to be naughty, he’s going to do it every chance he gets. So the things that triggered the malfunction before, will trigger it again. So you need to keep on top of it and always be monitoring his activity. Removing the cause is the only way to successfully even out pigmentation. Diligence and care on your behalf is to make sure you are avoiding triggers, doing regular maintenance and always bolstering up your “catcher” cells. If the team is happy, management is happy, you are happy! The system works!!!
Then, and only then, does lasering or IPL become a valuable tool in the journey.
THIS is what I am doing when I tell you we need to “prepare” your skin for laser treatments.I’m not just trying to keep you in the clinic and sell you more stuff so I can make a buck… you might think this is so because every other clinic you’ve been to have just zapped away without any mention of the above… BUT I am actually working through a process that is going to give you the results you are after. I am taking into consideration all of the processes that are malfunctioning and planning a program to cover all bases!