Historically, Nd:YAG 1064nm lasers have not been used for the removal of hyperpigmented skin conditions such as sun & age spots, melasma and PIH (post-inflammatory hyper- pigmentation). This is because melanin absorption is relatively low with the 1064nm wavelength. But a new generation of 1064 laser technology, contained within the Neo laser from Aerolase, provides much more effective and rapid heating of hyperpigmentation, delivering treatment efficacy equivalent to laser modalities used previously such as Alexandrite or Diode. This is made possible by 650 Microsecond Technology®, which provides over 15,000 watts per pulse in a unique pulse duration of 650 microseconds.
“Facial rejuvenation is an important component of my practice, and I routinely use my Neo laser for this purpose,” said Edmund Liu, M.D., a facial plastic surgeon practicing in Verona, NJ. “With this laser, I can remove pigmented spots in just one or two treatments without any patient discomfort or downtime whatsoever.”
Hyperpigmented skin conditions generally fall into one of three categories: pigmented lesions (e.g., sun & age spots), which may be congenital or sun-induced; melasma, which is a systemic condition that is brought on by hormonal conditions and tends to recur even after clearance; and PIH (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation), caused by conditions such as acne or PFB (pseudo-folliculitis barbae) in which the related inflammation results in the overproduction of melanocytes in either the dermis or the epidermis.
The Neo laser utilizes 650 Microsecond Technology® to superheat the skin tissue containing the excess melanocytes, breaking down those tissue structures. This is achieved with higher fluences in the 95-255 J/cm2 range. “I use the Neo for a wide variety of applications including hyperpigmented skin conditions,” said Yelena Kipervas, DO, a family physician who practices in Bartonsville, PA. “I have focused particularly on pigmented lesions and melasma in my practice. With melasma, I find that I have better control using the laser as compared to topicals, which sometimes causing irritating side effects to the skin. My patients love the results and the lack of treatment pain with the Neo. Furthermore, the laser has an added benefit of joint pain reduction; in a study of age spot removal on the hands of aging patients, we found that arthritic joint pain in the hands was sharply reduced as a result of the laser treatment.”
Many practitioners are amazed that the Neo is so effective in breaking up hyperpigmentation, yet is also uniquely safe and gentle on darker skin types for applications like PFB and hair removal. That is because the fluences required for these applications are generally low due to the rich melanin concentration in the hair follicles in patients with skin of color, and the correspondingly high absorption of energy of the follicles. Furthermore, the 650 Microsecond Technology® of the Neo enables the skin to cool itself between pulses, such that skin cooling during treatment is not even necessary.