Pigmentation & Melasma
Melasma is identified by brown patches of discoloration, most commonly found on the cheeks, forehead, nose and chin. This can be caused by a number of factors, including excess sun exposure as well as hormonal changes such as pregnancy or taking the contraceptive pill. Given the instability of hormones, those affected by melasma generally notice variances in the severity of their condition. While melasma can occur in both men and women, there is a significantly higher prevalence in the latter.
What is melasma?
Have you ever noticed the patchy shades or some sort of brown pigmentation on certain areas of your face? Those darker spots can occur on sun-exposed skin, and it usually gets more visible in the summer. This can be melasma. What causes this unnatural discoloration? To this day the direct cause of melasma is unknown. However, there are a variety of factors that may be important in the development of this condition. It can be influenced by genetics, hormonal changes such as pregnancy, or even excessive sun exposure. It is proven that people with darker skin color (higher skin pigmentation), for example, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, or Asian ancestry, can be more prone to developing melasma.
This condition appears as patchy, darker areas on the face. Sometimes it can be mistaken with tan, but most of the time, it is just light brown spots. In extreme cases, it appears as darker brown skin pigmentation. The discoloration is caused by an excess of melanin. There are three types of melasma. Firs is epidermal melasma, which is located in superficial layers of the skin cells. Deep melasma is placed in deeper layers, and mixed melasma includes both of the skin layers. The most affected areas are mostly cheeks, forehead, or upper lip. It is very rare to see this condition on the forearms, but there were some cases that melasma occurred in this area.
What should you know about melasma?
This condition also named chloasma, mostly occurs in women, especially in the age of childbearing. People with darker skin tone are more prone to get melasma. The light brown spots can be sometimes confused with sun spots or age spots, or even freckles pigmentation, but this uneven skin tone condition can be problematic, especially for people who care about their appearance. Although melasma cannot be associated with any medical conditions and is not dangerous, a lot of women are seeking treatments to brighten up the dark spots. Remember! If darker skin and any other discoloration are involving other areas of your body, it may indicate a pigmentary disorder other than melasma and require further medical investigation because it may be the possibility of skin cancer or other serious conditions.
How to treat melasma?
First, you have to diagnose whether the dark spots are indeed caused by melasma. It is diagnosed by examining the pattern and color of the pigment. Also, the biopsy may be needed to diagnose and confirm the increased pigmentation. When the doctor is sure that it is melasma, the treatment can be applied. Chloasma is not that easy to treat and sometimes can be challenging. It depends on a variety of factors that the clinic has to take into consideration.
The first step is sun protection. In melasma treatment, it is essential to use high SPF sunscreen (30+ and more). The sunscreen needs to be applied at least twice a day and also before sun exposure. Face protection should be extended to hats that can throw shade on the affected areas of the face. Also, the right usage of cosmetics can be helpful in covering the darker skin. The right skin tone shade and the proper skin care can do wonders. This is an only temporary solution and sometimes, when the pigmentation is too dark, even the best concealer cannot cover up the discoloration.
Also, chemical peels help with treating melasma. To achieve the best outcome, we can combine chemical peels with topical creams. The acids and a vitamin bomb applied to most of the skin types can support the pigmentation treatment. There are a few types of peels that help with melasma: retinoid, lactic acid, low-strength trichloroacetic acid, and the most commonly used glycolic acid peels. Chemical peels can also help with age spots and works well on most of the skin types. Pigmentation treatment also consists of creams. The most widely used is hydroquinone cream with active ingredients. If you have mild melasma, the concentration of the formulation would be lower. Also, this type of topical cream cannot be used for a long time because the high concentration of hydroquinone can cause irritant dermatitis (eczema). That is why it needs the supervision of a dermatologist. Also the vitamin A creams should be closely monitored, although it is an effective way to help with pigmentation treatment it can cause skin irritation. The best maintenance cream treatment is a combination of topicals. Some clinics also use cosmelan treatment. Cosmelan Melbourne is relatively new, and the Cosmelan pack is used to treat not only melasma but also sunspots or even acne scarring. The treatment Cosmelan using peels are well known for treating pigmentation sun damage and also hyperpigmentation from acne. But remember, melasma cannot be treated with medium to deep chemical peels because of the high risk of complications.
We have to take into consideration also the source of skin pigmentation. Sometimes it can be hormonal, so the patients need to stop using their oral conceptive pills or any other devices that can cause melasma to evolve. However, melasma caused by pregnancy has a high chance to fade gradually over months of childbirth.
Pigmentation treatment Melbourne – effective laser pigmentation removal
Treatments based on light and laser energy are used only in severe cases when it comes to melasma. When other ways of treating this skin pigmentation problem are ineffective, the laser treatments can be the right choice. Of course, you need to discuss this with your dermatologist, who should inform you about the risks. Sometimes the pigmented lesions can react and become a bit darker, that is why the clinic needs to do a small test treatment. Most of the time, you will need multiple skin pigmentation treatment to see a visible improvement. Also, certain lasers can be used. The pigmentation laser must be used by experienced technicians under dermatologist guidance.
The best laser is Q Switch Nd Yag laser. When used in low power settings, after the several skin pigmentation treatment, you will see improvement. Ablative fractional lasers can only be used to treat those with fair skin as well as intense pulsed light (IPL). In those cases, the treatment is effective, but it is possible to so see the recurrence of the condition.
Post treatment you should avoid the melasma triggers such as any kind of heat (hair dryers, ovens, lights), UV light (screens, reflective areas), cosmetics (soap, deodorant, perfume) and metals, especially hot ones (bracelets, earrings, sunglasses or even belt buckles). Remember that melasma treatment can be derailed if you expose yourself to triggers, even those less obvious. There are a few side effects that can occur. If you notice redness, irritation, or flaking, please contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Laser treatments used in our clinic can be also used to a wide range of treatments such as smoothing skin and flattening fine lines or even tattoo removal. See our offer and book your free consultation.
Laser pigmentation removal Melbourne – let us help you
When it comes to melasma treatment, this is a long journey. You cannot fix it over one session and never see the dark spots again. Everything depends on the skin layers and skin type of the patient. If the pigment is located in a deeper layer of the skin, it is harder to treat, but it is also connected with the top layer – the epidermis. By slowly treating the higher levels, we can get to the dermal layers. You need to know that there is not only one standard treatment for melasma. Patients tend to fail or drop out, and this is completely normal. At Medical Aesthetics, we want to help you to go through the whole treatment. The facial discoloration is a condition that can be fixed in our clinic, so book your free consultation and visit us in Melbourne.
Any treatment skin, whether it is laser facial or skin needling, should be undertaken with absolute care. That is why our team consists of experienced nurses and practitioners that conduct dozens of treatments every single day. See our offer and select treatment form about 70 available options, from pigmentation laser to dermal fillers. If you have any questions, contact us and also see our Instagram account for the latest updates.
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