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Risk and Control- Melanocyte


Medical beauty treatment is different from general beauty treatment as it involves medical judgment and treatment. Like all medical treatments, doctors will first evaluate the patient’s needs and make the most appropriate decision.

Many skin problems that arise after medical beauty treatment are often caused by incomplete skin recovery after treatment. There are three types of cells that play a very important role in the recovery process of general skin – melanocytes, fibroblasts, and cells in the hair follicle sebaceous gland unit. By understanding the function of each cell, we can deepen our understanding of the role and risks of treatment.

Let’s first introduce melanocytes. The function of melanocytes is to produce melanin. Melanocytes grow in the epidermis, produce melanin, and then transfer it to nearby keratinocytes through their dendrites to protect them from the effects of ultraviolet radiation. Without melanin, there is a lack of protection against UV radiation. However, the production of melanin can also cause different problems after treatment.

First, let’s take a look at the problems caused by melanin, which are commonly known as hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation. Hyperpigmentation is usually caused by melanocytes being stimulated by external factors such as lasers or fruit acids, causing inflammation of the skin, and inflammatory factors stimulating melanocytes to produce more melanin. When the basement membrane that blocks the epidermis and dermis is inflamed and damaged, melanin precipitates in the dermis, causing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). In addition to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, if the patient already has hormonal patches, they must be particularly careful because lasers may stimulate melanocytes in the hormonal patches and increase the risk of hyperpigmentation.

What is the reason for hypopigmentation? Unlike hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation is caused by the removal of existing melanin or damage to melanocytes. For example, in recent years, Q-Switched 1064 laser has become very popular. If it is overused or the energy is too high, melanocytes will be permanently destroyed, causing normal melanin production to be lost and resulting in white spots. This type of white spot can be permanent and cannot be cured. In addition, if the skin is already tanned, using a laser with a black wavelength (such as 755nm) may remove some of the melanin, resulting in white spots. This type of hypopigmentation is temporary and the skin color will return to normal as melanin recovers. The last type is when both melanocytes and nearby tissue are destroyed, which is scar tissue. Most high-energy treatments may cause scars if not properly controlled, including fruit acids, lasers, color light, and radio frequency treatments. Scars are permanent and cannot be improved.

So how can we avoid these problems? Are there any indicators that measure the level of these risks? If there are, it will effectively reduce the chance of risk occurrence. In clinical practice, we will examine the type of skin. If the patient’s skin type is Fitzpatrick Skin Type 4-6, has a history of hormonal patches, or has been sunburned before treatment, it will increase the risk of hyperpigmentation. Using high-energy laser equipment that penetrates the epidermis without proper sun protection can also increase the risk of hypopigmentation, hyperpigmentation, and scarring.

Before treatment, doctors should diagnose skin problems, skin type, the model and intensity of the treatment. Pre- and post-treatment care is also very important. Two weeks before treatment, sufficient sun protection should be applied because UV radiation can make melanocytes more active and increase the chance of pigment precipitation after treatment. If the patient’s skin is prone to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or has a history

Before undergoing medical beauty treatments, it’s important to have a doctor diagnose skin issues, skin type, and select the appropriate machine and treatment intensity. Pre- and post-treatment care is also crucial. In the two weeks leading up to treatment, it’s recommended to use sunscreen as UV rays can stimulate the activity of melanocytes, increasing the chances of post-treatment hyperpigmentation. If the patient is prone to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or has a history of hormonal melasma, it’s best to use whitening products and vitamin A to stabilize melanocytes four to six weeks prior to treatment. By following these guidelines, patients can greatly reduce the chances of complications.