Melasma normally presents itself as darker pigmented patches on the face with the most common areas including eye area, forehead, cheeks and upper lip area. It can occur at any age, darkening in the summer and lightening in the winter.
What causes Melasma?
Melasma commonly coincides with hormone fluctuations, particularly estrogen and progesterone. This is why it often appears during pregnancy and has earned the nickname, “mask of pregnancy.” It can also appears females who are taking oral contraceptives.
Each person genetically has a skin type that may have more melanocytes present in the skin. Therefore, they are more predisposed to pigment conditions when exposed to UVA/UVB. Rays from sunlight cause a biochemical peroxidation process to occur in lipids, a component of the cell membrane. Essentially, the lipids are oxidized, losing electrons to free radicals. As a defense mechanism, melanocytes (structures within skin cells) react to these changes by producing more melanin, which has been described as the skin’s own natural sunscreen. See Melasma treatment options and solutions below:
There are many forms of laser systems available. However, only certain wavelengths are ideal for treating melasma. At The Laser and Skin Clinic we use ActiveFX Laser Resurfacing to help clear signs of melasma and other hyperpigmentation issues as it can treat deeper pigment concerns.
Lasers work by irradiating the skin in a very precise manner to target and eliminate the organelles (within skin cells) containing the melanin, also known as melanosomes. Once these melanosomes are destroyed, the body removes the remains through a shedding process. Typically, there is a brief period where the skin becomes hypopigmented and appears lighter than normal. This is then followed by re-pigmentation phase where the skin tone is restored.
Treatment will depend on the severity of the condition and the skin type. Normally 1-3 treatments are required to effectively reduce melasma. See ActiveFX Laser Resurfacing for more information.
While laser is an effective solution for melasma it is not suitable for all skin types and tones. However, we can recommend topical products suitable for all skin types where you can get the same results it just might take a little longer.
At The Laser and Skin Clinic we have a variety of advanced cosmeceutical products ranges than can effectively reduce the appearance of melasma such as Obagi. To discuss our range of topical products for melasma we advise that you book a consultation so that our doctor/nurses can assess the area and give you the correct advice.
Remember: Individuals affected by melasma must protect skin daily using UVA, UVB and Antioxidants creating a barrier against daily environmental oxidative stressors that affect the melanocytes.