Those with more melanin have long had to be careful when it comes to laser skin rejuvenation, lest unwanted skin lightening should occur. Palo Alto Laser and Skin Care is home to one of the largest laser suites of lasers in the region. However, it is not just getting matched with the right laser (or lasers) that is critical for a positive experience. The skill of the providers matters a lot, too. Zuzana Likar is highly qualified and trains every member of the Palo Alto team to her exacting standards. When it comes to clients who are melanin-rich, we can match you with the most effective and safest laser for your skin.

Anyone can struggle with hyperpigmentation, dark spots that might be caused by any number of factors including sun damage. Often, Fraxel dual is recommended for treating hyperpigmentation, but this popular choice can be high-risk for those with darker skin tones. When those with more melanin are treated with Fraxel dual or ablative lasers, hypo- (lightening) and/or hyper- (darkening) pigmentation can occur. In this case, this includes those who are a Fitzpatrick skin type 4 or 5. There have been instances when unskilled and under-educated providers use the “wrong” laser on this skin type, resulting in more of the exact complexion you are trying to lessen.

Defining Ablative Lasers

Ablative lasers are a more aggressive laser option. They are designed to damage and ultimately destroy certain skin cells on the top two layers of skin—which means a recovery period is required. This leads to stimulated cell generation. However, the Fraxel laser is a non-invasive treatment featuring microscopic lasers that rejuvenates the complexion. It’s a fractionated laser, and these types of lasers can be ablative or non-ablative. Fraxel dual is non-ablative—so why can’t it be used on darker skin?

The Fraxel dual laser has two wavelengths (thus its name). However, since it generates heat, that heat can in turn kick-start melanocytes (the skin cells that produce melanin), resulting in even more melanin, otherwise known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. In severe cases, the opposite can occur. Melanocytes can also be destroyed, making pigment levels “drop” and hypopigmentation occurs. Studies have shown that using some lasers on darker skin tones can also lead to swelling, prolonged redness, and acne breakouts.

Lasers for Those with Melanin

In years past, a well-informed provider would not use any laser on darker skin tones because the technology simply hadn’t caught up yet. That is no longer the case. One of the best, newer lasers for all skin types and tones is Clear + Brilliant. It can be used as a pre-juvenation treatment to keep skin looking healthy and youthful, or it can be used as a treatment for a variety of common skin conditions including brown spots and fine lines. Clear + Brilliant makes thousands of tiny treatment zones in the uppermost layer of skin, which makes the damaged skin be replaced with healthier, more youthful skin in the months following the treatment.

There are also a variety of complementary treatments that work well with Clear + Brilliant for darker skin tones. This includes microneedling, a century-old form of collagen induction therapy. Microneedling creates thousands of micro-injuries in the top layer of skin that are controlled and designed to kick-start collagen production. Many clients opt for monthly microneedling sessions to sustain their results.

Customizing a Skin Care Plan for You

Chemical peels can also be a fantastic option for those of every skin tone but, like lasers, it’s critical that you are matched with the right peel for your skin and needs. We offer a rich variety of chemical peels ranging from superficial to medium-depth. Peels literally peel away the top layer of damaged skin to encourage collagen production and reveal more youthful skin below the surface. At this level, there is little to no downtime (though some temporary redness and flaking may occur in the week following the treatment).

If you are looking for the perfect treatment or combination of treatments to reach your skin goals in 2022, it’s paramount to only work with skin care experts who can individualize a plan for you. Consultations are complimentary for all procedures at Palo Alto Laser and Skin Care. Schedule your consult today by calling the office at (650) 656-8683 or fill out the online form for the quickest response.