What is Melasma?
Melasma is characterized by darkish brown or grey patches on the face. Generally these areas include the cheeks, forehead, nose and around the lips. Melasma may sometimes be referred to as the “veil of pregnancy” because it can flare up during pregnancy. Melasma can fluctuate over a period of time, usually worsening during the summer months and improving during the winter months. There are a few types of melasma: epidermal (top layer of skin), dermal (deeper layer of skin), and mixed epidermal/dermal.
What can trigger Melasma?
Sun exposure: Extended ultraviolet (UV) light exposure from the sun can trigger melanocytes, which are responsible for causing Melasma. Melasma is more visible in the summer months when the sun’s exposure on the skin is more intense. Use of a sunscreen with a SPF 30 or higher applied every two hours is recommended.
Hormonal changes: Another key factor that can trigger Melasma is hormonal changes such as pregnancy, birth control pills, or thyroid diseases.
Skincare products: Ingredients in beauty or skincare products which can clog or irritate your skin can trigger Melasma.
Which procedures can cure Melasma?
Depending on the skin type and severity of Melasma, there are several procedures that can help significantly reduce or eliminate the appearance of these pigmented patches on the skin. These solutions include:
Laser Q-Switch Treatment – This special laser is FDA approved for the treatment of melasma by gently reducing the pigmented patches through multiple treatments. A certified laser aesthetician will be able to distinguish melasma from regular sun damage and to recommend laser treatments instead of IPL treatments, which can make the condition worse. The Qswitch laser can also remove sun damaged spots, freckles, and enlarged pores.
Facial peels – Facial peels are chemical based treatments that can effectively remove the top layer of the skin, reduce skin pigmentation, and brighten complexion. Facial peels are appropriate for people who are not a candidate for laser treatments and may also be combined with laser treatments to speed up the clearance of pigments.
Micro-needling with Anti-Melanin Serum – This is a procedure where tiny needles open up micro-channels in your tissues for the anti-melanin serum to penetrate deeper into your skin. A numbing cream is applied to make this treatment more comfortable. This anti-melanin serum contains ingredients to reduce melanin production and to break down the pigmented patches on your skin.
Pharmaceutical grade skincare products – Pharmaceutical grade skincare products contain active ingredients to reduce melanin production, speed cellular turnover, and improve skin tone. It is important to be consistent with the application and to monitor the progress.