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Relatively painless, quick procedures that involve minimum downtime for healing and generate quality results are dictating current trends in the treatment of pigmentary changes in the skin due to photoaging. Future trends will include patients using at-home light-emitting diode and intense pulsed light devices to maintain treatments between office visits.

Key Points

According to Neil Sadick, M.D., who heads Sadick Dermatology in New York and is clinical professor of dermatology at New York's Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., one of the more popular current treatments is plasma cell resurfacing.

"This is a relatively new treatment that we are using in our practice with increasing frequency," he tells Dermatology Times. "The procedure leaves the surface of the skin intact and requires far less downtime than more traditional resurfacing techniques. In addition to being effective for diffuse brown pigmentary problems, plasma cell resurfacing does an excellent job with smoothing wrinkles."

Light for lentigines, mixed pigmentation

For lentigines, Dr. Sadick says he uses either intense pulsed light (IPL) laser treatment or the Q-switched laser device.

When there is a combination of red and brown pigmentation conditions, he treats them with either IPL of radiofrequency devices.

"IPL therapy provides the benefits of a medium-depth laser or chemical peel, without the blisters, burns and long recovery time," Dr. Sadick says. "It is also the only proven therapy to help treat redness from rosacea or flushing. This therapy can be used safely and effectively with other anti-aging lasers and treatment programs.

"The advantage of treatment with the Q-switched laser is that you most often get the best efficacy," he says, adding that Q-switched laser treatment also is ideal for tattoo removal.

Dr. Sadick says he also uses Sciton's long-pulsed laser device for treatment of diffuse pigmentation problems.

New and into the future

Currently, Dr. Sadick is in the process of testing Myobenol C resveratrol extract, a topical-cream treatment for sun-damaged skin that also can be applied by patients for protection against sun-induced skin damage.

As for future trends in the treatment and maintenance of pigmentary changes in the skin due to photoaging, Dr. Sadick says the time when patients will be self-treating at home is on the near horizon.

"I think it will become commonplace for patients to use light-emitting diode (LED) and IPL devices at home," he says. "This will of course be done under the guidance of the dermatologist, and will be a kind of at-home maintenance program carried out by patients between office procedures."

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