Chromophores are molecules present in the skin that play a crucial role in skin care. Technically speaking, they are chemical groups present that have the ability to absorb and reflect light of different wavelengths. This gives them responsibility for the coloration and appearance of our skin, hair and eyes. Common examples of chromophores in human skin are melanin and blood vessels.
What is the role of chromophores in skin care?
In skin care, understanding how chromophores behave is essential to address problems such as blemishes, pigmentation, redness, freckles or irregularities in skin tone.
These alterations can be caused by overexposure to the sun, hormonal changes or the natural aging process.
One of the best known chromophores is melanin. Excess melanin production can lead to the appearance of dark spots or hyperpigmentation, while insufficient production can result in areas of depigmentation or hypopigmentation.
Reddening of the skin, caused by dilated blood vessels, is another common problem that can be addressed through knowledge of chromophores. The blood vessels present in the skin act as chromophores and can generate a reddish or pinkish appearance. This may be a result of conditions such as rosacea, couperose or simply skin sensitivity. Treatment of these conditions involves directing light into the blood vessels to coagulate them and reduce their visibility.
How are chromophores used in aesthetic medicine?
By understanding how chromophores interact with light, aesthetic medicine can take advantage of this ability to reap good results in skin care.
When the chromophores present in the skin absorb light or laser energy, a localized temperature increase is produced in the area where they are located. This temperature increase has different effects depending on the type of treatment and the objective sought.
- Intense pulsed light can stimulate cell regeneration and improve the appearance of the skin by using chromophores to absorb light. It is a technique that uses light energy to treat blemishes and redness on the skin.
- Laser hair removal works in a similar way. In this case, the laser light is directed to the hair follicles, where melanin acts as the target chromophore. The laser energy is selectively absorbed by the melanin in the hair, resulting in destruction of the hair follicle and reduction of unwanted hair growth.
- Other types of lasers can also be used to treat pigmented lesions. The laser can be applied to lesions such as spots or freckles, directing the emitted light directly to the chromophores responsible for pigmentation, selectively fragmenting or eliminating the cells without damaging the surrounding tissue. In addition, heating the skin can also stimulate collagen production, which contributes to improved skin texture and firmness.
- Vascular lasers are used to treat other lesions such as varicose veins or spider veins. These lasers emit light that is absorbed by the chromophores, generating heat that coagulates and closes the vessels, thus improving their appearance.
In all these treatments, each case will require a specific approach depending on the device, wavelength and configuration used.
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