Why Skincare Products May Be Ineffective at Removing Pigmentation

Pigmentation issues, such as melasma, dark spots, uneven skin tone, and hyperpigmentation, can be frustrating for many. Despite numerous skincare products in the market promising to eliminate these concerns, people often find the results less than satisfactory.

In this article, we share why this is so and share the benefits of getting treatment from a skin specialist. Your journey to clearer and brighter skin can begin here.

Broadness of pigmentation issues

Pigmentation disorders vary widely and include freckles, age spots, melasma and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Each type has different causes and behaves differently within the skin.

Topical treatments are generally designed to target a broad spectrum of issues and may not be effective against specific types of pigmentation. For instance, products that work for age spots may not have the same effect on melasma, which is more challenging to remove due to its association with hormonal fluctuations.

Depth of pigmentation

The effectiveness of skincare products also depends on the depth of pigmentation within the skin layers. Superficial pigmentation, lying on the uppermost layer of the skin (epidermis), is easier to fade with topical treatments.

In contrast, deeper pigmentation in the dermis is less responsive to such products. Most off-the-counter products lack the penetrative power required to address pigmentation situated deep within the skin.

Consistency and patience

Achieving visible results from skincare products demands consistency and patience. Pigmentation, especially when chronic, requires time to fade.

Many users may not be patient enough to wait to see results, so they discontinue these products. It is essential to follow product directions and give users ample time—usually several months—to witness improvements.

Incorrect product choice

The overwhelming variety of skincare products can lead to incorrect choices. Products should be selected based on their active ingredients and proven efficacy against specific types of pigmentation.

For example, ingredients like hydroquinone, kojic acid, and niacinamide are known for their pigment-reducing properties. Using products without these or similar effective ingredients may lead to disappointing results.

Sun exposure

Inadequate sun protection can counteract the benefits of pigmentation-fighting skincare products. UV exposure is a significant contributor to the development and exacerbation of pigmentation.

Without diligent use of broad-spectrum sunscreen, even the most potent products may seem ineffective as ongoing sun damage continues to trigger melanin production.

Underlying causes

Sometimes, pigmentation is symptomatic of underlying health issues, such as hormonal imbalances or certain diseases. In these cases, topical treatments may prove futile until the root cause is addressed.

Consulting with a healthcare professional is the best way to identify underlying conditions contributing to pigmentation problems.

Why choose professional pigmentation removal?

For many individuals dealing with stubborn pigmentation, the limitations of over-the-counter skin care products can be disappointing. While helpful for mild pigmentation and general skincare, these products often lack the potency and precision needed to remove more severe cases of pigmentation.

In such cases, professional pigmentation removal treatments may be ideal.

Precision targeting of pigmentation issues

Professional removal treatments are specifically designed to target pigmentation irregularities in the skin. Professionals use diagnostic tools to accurately assess the type and depth of pigmentation, which guides them in choosing the most effective treatment protocol.

This specificity level helps target the problematic cells without affecting the surrounding healthy skin, resulting in a more uniform skin tone and reduced risk of side effects.


Professional pigmentation removal often employs modern technology that is unavailable in over-the-counter products. Laser treatments are used to achieve more drastic and lasting results. They can be finely tuned to the specific frequency required to break down pigment cells without damaging surrounding tissue.

Faster, more effective results

Because of the higher concentrations of active ingredients and more aggressive treatment protocols, professional treatments can deliver faster and more visible results than topical treatments.

While skincare products might gradually diminish the appearance of lighter pigmentation, professional treatments can significantly reduce or quickly remove severe discolourations.

Customised treatments

Professional pigmentation removal is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Treatments are tailored to your skin, pigmentation type, and lifestyle, ensuring that it is most effective for you. Professionals also consider skin sensitivity, potential allergic reactions, and your medical history.

Comprehensive approach

Skincare professionals focus not only on treating existing pigmentation but also on preventing future occurrences. They advise on the best sun protection practices, recommend changes in skincare routines, and suggest lifestyle adjustments to better manage or avoid pigmentation triggers, such as hormonal fluctuations or sun exposure.

Professional monitoring and follow-up

Undergoing treatment with a skin specialist means that the progress of the treatment is carefully monitored. If necessary, adjustments can be made to the treatment protocol, and any complications or side effects can be managed promptly. Skin specialists also provide post-treatment care to minimise the risk of pigmentation recurrence and ensure the skin’s health remains optimal.

Laser treatment for pigmentation

Pico Laser

Pico lasers can be used for a variety of skin issues. At DermAlly, we use the PicoSure laser because we find it to be effective for various pigmentation issues, including freckles, sunspots, age spots, melasma, and tattoo removal. It’s gained considerable popularity because of its precision, safety profile and quick results.

What is Pico laser?

PicoSure is one of various laser machines based on the Pico laser technology, which operates in picoseconds (trillionths of a second). It uses ultra-short pulse bursts of energy to target pigment in the skin.

Unlike traditional lasers that heat up pigment and surrounding tissue, Pico lasers work by delivering rapid pulses of light that shatter the pigment into tiny particles without causing significant heat damage to the surrounding tissues. This treatment can effectively reduce the visibility of pigmented lesions, leading to clearer and more uniform skin tone.

Advantages of PicoSure laser for pigmentation

  • Effectiveness: PicoSure is effective for treating a variety of pigmented lesions, even deep-seated ones or those resistant to other treatments.

  • Speed of treatment: Because of the picosecond pulses, pico laser treatments are typically quicker than those using traditional Q-switched lasers. Sessions can be as short as 10-15 minutes, depending on the area being treated.

  • Minimal downtime: The PicoSure Laser’s precision and speed result in minimal thermal damage to surrounding tissue, which means recovery time is usually short.

  • Safety: PicoSure lasers are known for their high safety profile. The risk of unwanted side effects, such as hyperpigmentation or scarring, is significantly lower than older laser technologies.

Pigmentation Removal in Singapore

While skincare products can be part of a pigmentation treatment regime, their limitations highlight the need for professional interventions, especially for persistent or deep-set pigmentation.

DermAlly is a dermatology practice in Singapore that provides treatment for pigmentation and other skin conditions. The journey to clear skin at our clinic begins with an in-depth consultation, where patients receive a thorough skin analysis to determine the type and cause of pigmentation. Our skin specialists then create a treatment plan that tackles the root cause of pigmentation rather than just the symptoms.

Schedule a consultation with our skin specialist to learn more about pigmentation removal at our practice.

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