One great thing about Asian skin is that it ages slower. It is noted that it has thicker dermis compared to white skin, which means that it has more collagen and elastin, or fewer wrinkles in general. One downside, however, is it is more prone to experiencing different types of pigmentation or skin discoloration.

What Makes Asian Skin Prone to Pigmentation

Why is Asian skin prone to pigmentation?

While dark spots or pigmentation can occur in all skin tones and types, they are more of a concern among those with Asian skin. There are two main reasons for this: (1) Asian skin has increased melanin or pigment and (2) it has more active melanocytes or pigment-producing cells than the skin of other races like Caucasians. 

All skin types and tones have melanocytes, but the amount of pigment they produce varies. These cells protect the skin from the sun’s UV rays, but their DNA can also be damaged by the sun, resulting in pigmentation. This can be exacerbated by hot and humid climates, which are common in many Asian countries, including Singapore. 

It is also worth noting that even Asians with fairer skin have more melanin-producing cells than most Caucasians. Melanocytes, as previously mentioned, are sensitive to UV light and can be easily stimulated by other types of skin irritation, such as pimples, rashes, insect bites, and cuts.

Because Asian skin is generally more prone to pigmentation, whitening products are widely common in many Asian countries. They use these to fade dark spots or lighten their skin in general. It is important to search for safe and effective lighteners, as many of the products today are unregulated and contain harmful ingredients like mercury.

What pigmentation problems are common in Asian skin?

Not all pigments or dark spots are created equal. Below are the most common pigmentary disorders in Asian skin.

  • Melasma – appears as brownish or grayish patches on the face. It is also referred to as “the mask of pregnancy” because they are more common among pregnant women. Sun exposure can trigger or worsen melasma and other types of pigmentation. 
  • Sun spots – or age spots are characterized by small, fat, and discolored marks. These usually appear in areas that receive a lot of sun exposure and people over 40 years old. Prolonged sun exposure is a major trigger and contributor to these dark spots and patches. 
  • Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) – commonly appears after a wound, inflammation, or trauma has healed. It leaves flat, discolored marks, which can be brown, pink, or red in color. Acne is the most common cause, but it can also occur due to burn, injury, or skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. 
  • Seborrheic keratosis – is a growth or lesion that can be brown, light tan, or black in color. It can also be waxy, scaly, and slightly raised. Seborrheic keratosis is often mistaken for melanoma, but it is harmless and noncancerous. They usually occur on the face, neck, chest, and back. 

How Cutis can help

Here at Cutis, we have several aesthetic treatments that can help fade or lighten pigmentation. If you’re looking for a non-invasive procedure that can target not just stubborn pigmentation, but also provide overall skin rejuvenation, we have the PicoCare Laser. This is specifically designed for removing tattoo ink and pigmented lesions.

The basics: PicoCare is a US FDA-approved and CE-marked Nd:YAG picosecond laser system. It uses high peak power with short pulse durations to break down pigments and ink colors. This delivers less heat to the skin, which translates to lower side effects or risk of injury. 

Another feature of the PicoCare laser is that it has HEXA MLA or Micro Lens Array handpiece. This fractional system device can replace aggressive scar treatments like subcision. It can also destroy scar tissues in the deep dermis and help lift depressed or indented scarring. 

Benefits include:

  • Non-invasive
  • Less/mild discomfort
  • Low risk of side effects
  • Minimal to no downtime
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Great results with fewer treatments

How it works: PicoCare delivers laser energy to the skin, which is then absorbed by the pigment. Then, the heat generated by the laser breaks down the pigment into smaller or microscopic particles. The body’s immune system targets and attacks the shattered pigments, removing them naturally over time.

PicoCare also helps the body stimulate new collagen, which is why it can also be used for overall skin rejuvenation. It can help reduce the appearance of enlarged pores, fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging. PicoCare can improve your overall skin tone and texture.

What makes it effective: This laser system sends shorter bursts of energy that can penetrate deeper. PicoCare has more photomechanical effects on the skin, but less photothermal effects, which means good results with fewer treatments and almost no side effects. 

Who is it suitable for: PicoCare laser can treat a number of skin care conditions, including:

  • Epidermal lesions
  • Freckles, melasma, café au lait
  • Age spots (senile lentigos), solar lentigo (sun spots)
  • Seborrheic keratosis
  • Acne scars (box, ice pick, rolling, hypertrophic)
  • Skin rejuvenation

As pigmentation gets worse with sun exposure, make it a point to wear SPF (30 at least) whenever going out. For safe and effective pigmentation treatments like PicoCare, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Contact Cutis Medical Laser Clinics in Singapore and book a consultation with our aesthetic doctor