Guide to Pigmentation Treatment in Malaysia 2019

Malaysians are highly predisposed to getting pigmentation due to excessive UV exposure from our tropical climate. There are different types of pigmentation, including freckles, melasma, sunspots, keratosis, Hori's naevus and others. Different pigments exist at different depths of skin. 

The problem is that most pigmentation look the same to the untrained eye. Knowing which type of pigmentation you have is important in getting the right treatment for it. Therefore, pigmentation treatment is not a one size fits all solution. Usually, your doctor will be able to determine the type of pigmentation you have, and provide the right pigmentation treatment to remove the pigmentation from your skin. 

The Best Pigmentation Treatment starts with the right 'Diagnosis

The first step to effective pigmentation treatment in Malaysia is an accurate diagnosis. Most of you may have been sold that a laser treatment is the best and only option for pigmentation but nothing could be further from the truth. Laser treatments are not always needed and may not be the best and most affordable option. 

Common Types of Pigmentation Problems in Malaysia 

Melasma - Patches on both sides of the cheeks or forehead. Often in middle aged, Asian women of darker skin types. Related to age, genetics, hormonal, vascular and sun exposure. Looks like “a world map on your face”.

Melasma: Image via DoctorxDentist 
Treatment for melasma depends on the severity and depth. For less severe cases, medical-grade creams and sunscreen are usually sufficient.

Medical grade creams like hydroquinone, tretinoin or combinations, are very effective for treating melasma. These doctor-prescribed creams need to be monitored for side effects like redness, itching and stinging of the skin. Lightening of melasma is expected after 5 - 7 weeks of treatment.


Topical creams in Malaysia generally cost from RM 100 to RM 250. Good sunscreens (SPF 30-50, PA+++) cost about RM 70 - RM 150.

For severe melasma, lasers are often the next line of treatment for more severe melasma cases. Other modalities that may be used to treat more severe melasma include chemical peels or oral tranexamic acid.

Generally, patients see good results after 3 - 8 laser sessions, with 4 - 6 sessions being the usual range. Each session is about 15 minutes long, and the full program might take 2 - 3 months.

That sounds rather long, but on the upside, lasers used to treat melasma usually do not have any downtime.


The cost of laser pigmentation removal treatment in Malaysia for more persistent melasma ranges from RM 500 - RM 1500 per session depending on the size of the area. The total cost will depend on the number of sessions required.

Freckles - Tiny spots over the cheekbones and nose. Often in younger people. Looks like “dashes of pepper scattered on the skin”.

Freckles: Image via 
Freckles and solar lentigos can be treated with simple, topical medicated creams like hydroquinone?

Always ask your doctor for this option before signing up for any laser package.

For more persistent cases, lasers like the Q-switched Nd:Yag laser can be used. This will carry a downtime of around 1 week due to the dry scabs that form.

If you are NOT SURE what kind of pigmentation you have, or if there are mixed or deep pigmentations, it would be advisable to see a doctor instead.

Medical grade lasers (eg Q-switched lasers) are much more effective at clearing a comprehensive range of pigmentations compared to IPLs.


It usually takes 2-3 sessions of lasers over 2 to 3 months to see good results. Cost-wise, you can expect to spend around RM1000 to RM2000.

Solar Lentigo - Solitary or a few dark spots on the face. Spots are usually roundish and uniform in color. Usually occurs in those with prolonged exposure to the sun.

Solar Lentigo: Image via

Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH) - Ill-defined, feathery-looking pigmentations. Occurs after injury, inflammation or infection to the skin (eg. acne outbreak, inappropriate squeezing of pimples, skin procedures, unsuitable cosmetics, etc).

Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation: Image via

Generally, the above mentioned treatment modalities for melasma (ie. topical medical creams, chemical peels and lasers) can also be applied to PIH.

Seborrheic keratosis (“Pigmentation Bumps”) - Rough, warty looking bumps with a stuck-on appearance. Common in older folks (especially those with a family history of them). Often mistaken as pigmentation or moles. You can feel these bumps when you run your fingertips over them.

Seborrheic Keratosis: Image via

Pigmentation bumps are usually removed using electrocautery or through ablative laser surgery. Treatments (about 10 to 20 mins) are done on numbed skin, with about 1-2 sessions needed.

Despite the scary names, the process is actually quite straightforward and almost pain-free with the help of numbing creams.

Slight downtime of 3 - 7 days is expected for the post procedural wounds to heal, but the good news is that you can expect almost instant results right after.


Treatment for pigmentation bumps in Malaysia costs about RM500 to RM1500.

Naevus of Ota and naevus of Hori

The plural of naevus (American spelling nevus, nevi) is naevi.

Naevus of Ota is on the forehead and face around the eye area. Hyperpigmentation of parts of the eye may occur (sclera, cornea, iris, retina). This pigment disorder is very characteristic. Appearing at birth or in early childhood, it is a grey-blue patch of pigments on one side of the face, usually around the eyes and occasionally involving the white of the eye even. In other instances, we have treated such conditions on the shoulders and back as well. Multiple sessions of depigmentation Medlite laser gives very good results.

Naevus of Ota: Image via
Naevus of Hori - This appears usually in teenage or adulthood, as grey “dots” usually on both cheeks forehead, eyelids and temples. Again, this is a benign condition. Treatment involves using an appropriate laser to lighten and remove the unwanted pigmentation.


Hori’s naevus are deep pigmentations, so the nature of it alone already rules out topical cream as an effective treatment. You will have to undergo lasers for this.

Redness and swelling post-treatment usually lasts for a few days.

Compared to other pigmentation types, Hori’s naevus can be tougher to treat, so 3 - 10 sessions of lasers might be needed.

It also takes about 3 to 10 months to see really good results. Don’t be disheartened if your condition doesn’t improve immediately.


The treatment cost varies depending on the severity and the number of sessions. The cost 
per session may vary from RM 1,000 to RM 2,500 per session.

Wrapping It Up

Simply ask your doctor if you need lasers. PIH, melasma, solar lentigos and freckles often respond well to topical creams. Another aspect is the cost of technology. While conventional lasers like the Q-switched Nd:Yag can still be very effective as a pigmentation treatment, laser aesthetics is an industry that thrives on marketing the newest and latest technology. Being "new and trendy", such lasers obviously cost more to bring in, and clinics charge higher prices for them. However, there is no guarantee that new lasers do a better job, as ultimately, results depend very much on the experience of the performing doctor.

Experienced doctors will be able to provide appropriate recommendation, so going to the right clinic can save you a lot of money and disappointment. If you need further assistance, feel free to contact us.


Best Aesthetic Clinics for Pigmentation Treatment in Malaysia

Laser Pigmentation Removal Cost in Malaysia


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