pigmentation treatment london

Navigating Pigmentation Treatments for Darker Skin Tones

Blog, Skin Treatments

One of the biggest obstacles many face when achieving a flawless complexion is pigmentation and dark skin. Whether it’s due to scarring, acne scarring, melasma, dark spots, dark circles under eyes, or sun damage, these skin concerns can greatly impact our confidence and self-esteem. Luckily, with advancements in laser aesthetics technology, numerous facial treatments are now available that can effectively target and improve these issues.

Types of Pigmentation

Scarring and Acne Scarring: Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) often accompanies acne, particularly in individuals with darker skin tones. The healing process produces excess melanin, resulting in dark spots or patches.

Melasma: Characterised by brown to grey-brown facial patches, hormonal changes, sun exposure, and genetic predisposition influence melasma. It’s prevalent among individuals with darker skin tones, especially women.

Dark Spots and Skin Discolouration: Various factors, including sun exposure, hormonal changes, and ageing, contribute to dark spots and skin discolouration. These concerns are common among individuals with melanin-rich skin.

Sun Damage and Sun Spots: Prolonged sun exposure can lead to sun damage, characterised by uneven pigmentation, wrinkles, and fine lines. Sun spots, also known as solar lentigines or liver spots, are flat brown spots that develop in sun-exposed areas.

Understanding the Fitzpatrick Scale

The Fitzpatrick Scale categorises skin types based on their reaction to UV exposure. It plays a pivotal role in laser aesthetics, guiding practitioners in selecting appropriate skin treatments and minimising the risk of complications. Individuals with darker skin tones (Fitzpatrick types IV-VI) are more prone to pigmentation issues and require specialised care to avoid adverse effects like PIH.

Challenges in Treating Darker Skin Tones

Despite advancements in laser technology, treating darker skin tones still poses challenges. The main concern is the potential risk of hyperpigmentation and scarring, as these patients have higher levels of melanin, which can absorb more laser energy. As a result, it’s crucial for practitioners to carefully assess each patient’s skin type and adjust treatment parameters accordingly.

Mitigating Risks with Proper Pre-Treatment Preparation

Adequate pre-treatment preparation is essential when working with darker skin tones to minimise the risk of adverse effects. This includes avoiding sun exposure 4-6 weeks before treatment, using sunscreen daily, and discontinuing any products or medications that may increase photosensitivity. Additionally, conducting a test spot before proceeding with complete treatment can help determine an appropriate starting point for laser settings and allow for adjustments if necessary.

It’s also important to discuss potential risks and side effects with patients before beginning treatment. This can help manage their expectations and ensure they are fully informed about the process.

Adjusting Laser Settings for Optimal Results

When performing laser treatments on darker skin tones, it’s crucial to adjust the settings accordingly to avoid complications such as hyperpigmentation and burns. This may include using a more extended wavelength laser, lower fluence, longer pulse duration, and larger spot size.

Additionally, practitioners should be aware of any areas on the skin that may have increased pigmentation skin or scarring, as these areas will require even more caution during treatment.

Exploring Pigmentation Treatment Options

Picosure and Picoway

Picosure and Picoway are two popular options for laser skin treatments. These treatments use picosecond technology, which delivers ultra-short pulses of energy to the skin to break up unwanted pigmentation or scars.

How They Work

Picosure and Picoway are FDA-approved for treating various skin issues, including sun damage, acne scars, and age spots. They work by targeting specific areas of the skin with high concentrations of pigment or scarring. The ultra-short energy pulses cause these areas to break down without damaging surrounding tissue.

Ideal Candidates

Ideal candidates for Picosure and Picoway treatments are those looking to improve the appearance of their skin without invasive procedures. These treatments are suitable for all skin types and can be used on the face, hands, chest, and other areas.


During a Picosure or Picoway treatment, a handheld device is passed over the targeted skin area. Patients may experience slight discomfort during the procedure, but it is typically well-tolerated. Multiple sessions may be needed for optimal results depending on the size and severity of the pigmentation or scarring being treated. At Pulse Light Clinic, three PicoSure Pro treatments start at £1,399 and £999 for Picoway.

After a Picosure or Picoway treatment, patients may experience temporary redness and swelling in the treated area. This usually subsides within a few hours to a day. Over time, as the skin heals from the treatments, patients will notice a significant improvement in their skin’s appearance.

Patients should follow aftercare instructions, including avoiding direct sunlight and wearing sunscreen to protect the newly treated skin. Patients should also maintain a healthy skincare routine and avoid any harsh chemicals or exfoliants that may irritate the skin.


How it Works

Another popular treatment for pigmentation and scarring is the Halo laser. This innovative technology combines ablative and non-ablative wavelengths to target multiple skin concerns simultaneously, effectively treating pigmentation concerns while stimulating collagen production for improved skin texture. It suits individuals with diverse skin tones and offers customisable treatment parameters.

During a Halo treatment, the laser energy penetrates deep into the skin to stimulate collagen production and resurface damaged skin cells. This results in a smoother, more even complexion with improved texture and tone.

Ideal Candidates

Ideal candidates for Halo treatments are those looking to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage, acne scars, and uneven pigmentation. It is safe for all skin types and can be customised based on individual needs.

Most patients will need 1-3 treatments about four weeks apart to achieve optimal results. The number of treatments may vary depending on the severity of the skin concerns being addressed. A treatment plan of three sessions costs £6,429.


After a Halo treatment, patients may experience mild redness and swelling, which typically subside within a few hours. Results can be seen gradually over several weeks as the skin continues to heal and regenerate.

It is essential to follow post-treatment instructions to ensure proper healing and optimal results. This may include avoiding sun exposure, using gentle skincare products, and avoiding harsh exfoliants or treatments.

In addition to improving skin concerns, Halo treatments offer anti-ageing benefits by stimulating collagen production. This helps improve skin texture and firmness, resulting in a more youthful appearance.

Fotona SP Dynamis

How it Works

Fotona SP Dynamis is a cutting-edge laser system that offers various treatments for various skin concerns. It uses two types of lasers—the Erbium YAG and the Nd:YAG—to target different layers of the skin, providing comprehensive results.

The Erbium YAG laser creates micro-injuries in the top​​, tone, and overall appearance of the skin. The Nd:YAG laser targets deeper layers of the skin, effectively addressing pigmentation issues such as sun damage, age spots, and melasma.

Ideal Candidates

Ideal candidates for Fotona SP Dynamis are those looking to improve their overall skin health and address specific concerns such as wrinkles, fine lines, acne scars, and uneven skin tone. This laser treatment is suitable for all skin types and colours, making it a versatile option for many individuals.

The number of treatments needed depends on the individual’s specific concerns and the severity of those concerns. In general, most patients will see noticeable results after just one session. However, multiple sessions may be recommended for more significant improvements. Two sessions cost £1,199 at Pulse Light Clinic and £2,079 for four.

Side Effects and Treatment

One of Fotona SP Dynamis’s great advantages is minimal side effects and downtime. The laser system utilises advanced technology to minimise discomfort and promote faster healing time. Patients may experience some redness or mild swelling immediately after the procedure, but these effects typically subside within a few hours.

In addition to its use for cosmetic purposes, Fotona SP Dynamis can also be used for various medical treatments. This includes skin rejuvenation, scar reduction, and even treating certain medical conditions like snoring or urinary incontinence.

Obagi Medical

Obagi Medical is a well-known and trusted brand in the skincare industry. Its focus is on providing effective solutions for a wide range of skin concerns. One of its most popular product lines is the Obagi Nu-Derm system, which incorporates Vitamin A into its formulation.

One of the main benefits of using Obagi products is its ability to target hyperpigmentation. Darker skin tones are more prone to developing dark spots, uneven skin tone, and other forms of hyperpigmentation due to increased melanin production. Sun exposure, hormonal changes, and certain medications can cause this.

How it Works

Obagi addresses this issue by utilising ingredients such as hydroquinone, a powerful skin-lightening agent that helps reduce melanin production in the skin. This can help fade dark spots and even tone the skin for a more radiant complexion.

Additionally, Obagi products contain antioxidants that protect the skin from further damage caused by environmental stressors. This is especially important for individuals with darker skin tones, as they are more prone to developing hyperpigmentation when exposed to UV rays and pollution.

Moreover, Obagi understands the importance of gentle yet effective skincare for all skin types. Many individuals with darker skin may have sensitive or easily irritated skin, making it challenging to find suitable products. The Obagi line is formulated to be gentle on the skin while providing powerful results. Pulse Light Clinic can provide Nu derm Plus for £455 and a potent type of Vitamin A cream for £105, provided a doctor’s prescription is written.

Choosing the Right Pigmentation Treatment

When selecting a treatment for pigmentation concerns, factors such as skin type, severity of pigmentation, treatment goals, and downtime must be considered. A thorough consultation with a qualified practitioner will help determine the most suitable approach tailored to individual needs.

Pigmentation issues can be a source of concern for individuals with darker skin tones, but effective solutions are within reach with advancements in laser technology and skincare. By understanding the underlying causes of pigmentation and exploring appropriate treatment options, individuals can achieve brighter, clearer skin and regain their confidence. Remember, a tailored approach and expert guidance are crucial to achieving optimal results safely and effectively. Book your free consultation today for hyperpigmentation treatment London. Together, we can find the right solution for you.