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According to a study by Lifespan, scarring is one of the biggest factors that contributes to negative body image and struggles with self-confidence. Raised white scars that are in a noticeable location, especially the face, can be lightened or removed with a

non-invasive procedure

called ReLume.

What causes noticeable scar discoloration?

Any skin trauma that results in scarring may cause hypopigmentation.

Hypopigmentation, also known as skin depigmentation, is the loss of skin color due to injury or illness. This is a common condition that may affect all races and genders, and leads to many people being dissatisfied with their appearance. There are also other reasons like vitiligo where the skin does not have the ability to make normal pigment


hypopigmented skin neck scar that could be fixed with ReLume

Could the look of scarred and hypopigmented skin, such as Sharon Stone’s prominent neck scar [1], be improved? For years, people who felt embarrassed about their hypopigmentation may have tried getting a tan, or covering up the affected area with makeup, only to be dissatisfied with the results. Another common solution was a tattoo process to darken the skin. While this can work, tattoos can fade and the tattooed skin color is not dynamic. The normal adjacent skin may become darker with sun exposure but the tattooed area does not change color like normal skin. A tattoo and most scar tissue does not change with normal sun exposure.

As a board-certified cosmetic surgeon Dr. Michael Kulick is committed to helping restore patients’ self-esteem by improving the look of hypopigmented skin. After meeting with patients, he can prescribe the appropriate treatment and solution. One option is a therapy called ReLume.

What Is ReLume?

ReLume Phototherapy is a light-based procedure that combines the benefits of safe and effective UV phototherapy with the most cutting-edge advancements in targeted light technology to achieve re-pigmentation of hypopigmented skin.

The ReLume procedure is an effective treatment for hypopigmentation associated with vitiligo, burns, acne scars, stretch marks, scars from injury or surgery and the loss of pigment associated with laser skin resurfacing or chemical peels.

How Does ReLume Work?

This procedure delivers intense, precise UV light to the area to be treated, which is absorbed by the skin’s top layer, or epidermis, and activates pigment-producing cells, which are called melanocytes. The newly activated melanocytes increase the production of melanin in the area treated, evening out the skin color and reducing the visibility of the hypopigmented area.

What Areas of the Body Does ReLume Treat?

ReLume therapy is FDA-approved and has proven to be safe for treating hypopigmented skin on any part of the body. Areas of the body where stretch marks are common, such as the lower back, abdomen, thighs, upper arms, buttocks and breasts, are typical treatment areas, as well as any other area where hypopigmented scars are located.

Who Is a Good Candidate for ReLume?

Patients who have stretch marks, scars, burns or other areas of hypopigmentation are good candidates for ReLume, particularly those who have shallow, recent, light scars or stretch marks. Patients should be in general good health, and should speak with Dr. Kulick to determine the possibility of achieving their desired results with ReLume.

What Is the ReLume Treatment Like and How Long Does It Take?

The ReLume procedure is non-invasive and painless, and involves intense light being delivered to the treatment area through the use of a handheld device. Depending upon the number and size of the areas being treated, the treatment sessions are usually short – a typical ReLume treatment requires between 15 and 30 minutes. Many patients experience a mild pinkness around the treatment area within several hours after treatment, which fades away after a few days.

What Is the Recovery Like?

ReLume is not associated with any downtime or a required recovery period. Immediately after receiving a ReLume treatment, you will be able to return to work and resume your normal daily activities. In fact, many of our ReLume patients schedule their sessions on their lunch breaks!

Other than avoiding sun exposure after your treatment, and remembering to apply sunscreen before going outdoors, there is no specific post-treatment care required after receiving a session of ReLume therapy.

What Results Can I Expect?

The results we can achieve with ReLume treatments will vary depending on your skin type and the extent of the hypopigmentation you are hoping to resolve. Most of our patients experience gradual results that become more noticeable as they progress through a series of treatments. Patients with newer or shallow scars or stretch marks generally see better results than those with older or deeper skin flaws.

The number of treatments you will need is determined by the difference in color between the stretch mark or scar and the surrounding unblemished skin. Patients require a “series” of treatments to obtain the initial improvement. Then there is a break where the improvement fades. Next, another series of treatments is performed. This process is repeated until the patient obtains their desired end result. You can maintain your improved skin pigmentation over time with periodic touch-up treatments if needed.

Are There Any Risks With ReLume?

As a non-invasive, painless aesthetic procedure, ReLume treatment has not demonstrated any identified risks, and patients do not experience discomfort during the procedure. Some patients have reported experiencing side effects that include blistering, redness, swelling and itchiness. When these side effects arise, they are usually mild, and should subside within the first few days after treatment. Exposure to UV energy has some of the same risks as being exposed to sunlight.

How Can I Learn More About ReLume?

If you are considering ReLume to improve the look of scarred and hypopigmented skin, contact our San Francisco office to schedule a consultation with

Dr. Michael Kulick, MD

. He will be happy to discuss your goals and determine the best treatment plan for you.

[1] Source:, August 2017