Pigmentation: The Science of the Spots You See

So you’ve noticed dark spots, or hyper-pigmentation, on your face or body.  Today, we share with you the use of the quality-switched neodymium yttrium-aluminum-garnet laser, abbreviated as the Q-switched Nd: YAG.


Hyper-pigmentation, which is simply the result of uneven distribution of melanin, requires two initial steps before successful treatment: 

  1. Identification of the most likely cause or trigger. 
  2. Identification of the laser that will most effectively clear the undesired spots or patches.

There are many causes of hyperpigmentation:

  • sun-exposure
  • skin irritation or skin allergies
  • medication 
  • stains from inflammation in the skin 
  • hormonal due to either birth control or pregnancy. 

At Gramercy Park Dermatology, we have purposely selected multiple lasers with different wavelengths and mechanisms of action to address each individual case of hyper-pigmentation.

A lovely young woman presented to us with controlled skin lupus. Her actual skin condition was treated and now in remission but it left her with undesirable dark patches on her chest. She had skin biopsies and multiple laser test spots to help identify the best course for treatment. The Q-switched Nd: YAG yielded the most impressive test spot.

The Q-switched Nd: YAG uses acoustic waves to break up deep pigment that is too large for our body to process. In this pictorial depiction, you see the laser light and the sound waves of the Q-switched Nd: YAG breaking up the deep pigment, allowing the patient’s body to finally clear the residual hyperpigmentation from her skin condition.

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The Q-switched Nd: YAG is non-invasive, without discomfort, and without downtime. Four laser sessions later, her chest was restored to its baseline. Using the science of sound waves, the Q-switched Nd: YAG laser delivers an innovative solution for hyper-pigmentation.

Platelet Rich Plasma is here!
Before and one month after my PRP treatment.

Before and one month after my PRP treatment.

When you work in the aesthetics world, you get to test a lot of products and procedures, and I’m game for most things. Last month I volunteered for our latest procedure, platelet rich plasma (you might know it as the “vampire lift”). I had my blood drawn first, and then a portion of that blood was used for both injection into a scar on my cheek and for topical application along with microneedling. The whole process took less than 30 minutes

Now for the best part...the results! My face had NEVER responded so quickly and positively to one single treatment as it has with PRP/microneedling. Over the next two days, my face peeled quite a bit but all the while remained very bright and healthy looking. My pores are much less noticeable and my skin feels firmer. I have not had to wear as much foundation as before and can get away with  Elta tinted sunscreen and feel good about my skin. My husband even noticed that my skin glows and others have mentioned it as well. I strongly believe the PRP really helped my skin feel alive and restored it to a much better level of health and fitness. I really look forward to my second treatment and promise to keep everyone updated!

See below for more information on how Platelet Rich Plasma can help rejuvenate your skin with its many growth factors:

Posted by Dita Muca

Better than 24/7 Lip Balm

Winter skin dryness is a total skin problem, including hair, nails, and lips! We now have two unique lip fillers to hold water in and continuously hydrate your dry cracked lips all winter long!

Before (top) and immediately following treatment with Volbella

Before (top) and immediately following treatment with Volbella

Our newest lip filler, Volbella , will hydrate lips and provide volume. If you’ve ever dreamed of having a naturally fuller lip without the trout-pout, now’s the time. Volbella is a light-weight hyaluronic-based gel with anesthetic already in the syringe. What’s unique about Volbella is the use of patented Vycross technology that crosslinks the hyaluronic acid, providing greater lift without the swelling and making it last longer – up to a year in fact!

Posted by Dr Panta Rouhani Schaffer

A Vitamin to Prevent Skin Cancer and Protect DNA

Why spend money and time on skin products and treatments if you’re not taking care of your skin’s greatest asset- its DNA.  One way to protect your skin's DNA is with daily SPF, but I’m even more excited about a recent Australian study confirming the benefits of oral Nicotinamide aka Vitamin B3 protecting skin cells from ultraviolet rays. The study strongly shows that Nicotinamide... 

  • Enhances skin DNA repair in skin cells and pigmented cells
  • Boosts immune protection of the skin
  • Increases ATP energy in skin cells
  • Decreases pre-cancerous lesions by 35%
  • Prevents new skin cancers, especially in high-risk patients

I’m definitely on board; I begin my daily Nicotinamide and  “DNA love” today! Although best results come with twice daily 500mg Nicotinamide (any form), if you’re a once-a-day vitamin popper like me, start with 500mg in the morning. But bump it up for beach time!

Damian DL. Martin AJ. Halliday GM. Nicotinamide for Skin Cancer Chemoprevention. The Melanoma Letter,  A Publication of The Skin Cancer Foundation. Vol 34, Spring 2016.

Posted by Dr. Linda K Franks

Dr. Linda