Have you ever noticed how porcelain a child’s skin appears? Whatever the shade, even skin tones are beautiful! As time passes pigmentation changes occur and many adults wear foundation makeup to hide it.
Freckles, sun damage, and acne-related hyperpigmentation are common causes. So is Melasma, a condition that, while not harmful, causes patches of discoloration that are different in nature than the other causes. If you have brownish (or grayish) blotchy patches of pigment, it may be Melasma. Melasma will most typically appear on the cheeks, forehead, bridge of the nose, and upper lip, often in a unique “mirror” effect where both sides of the face have symmetrical areas of colour.
While anyone can develop Melasma, ninety percent of those who do are women, and darker-skinned individuals are more at risk than those of fair skin. Known causes include hormonal changes. Estrogen and progesterone sensitivity are associated so birth control pills and pregnancy can trigger it, as can hormone replacement therapy. Genetics appear to play a role. Stress and thyroid disease are also thought to be potential causes. For some, Melasma will disappear on its own, but once developed it is frequently permanent.
It is known that Ultra-violet rays affect cells that control pigment and it has been established that exposing affected areas to heat can significantly worsen the condition. Thus, Melasma tends to fade during the winter and darken quickly and dramatically with sun exposure.
If you have Melasma the first and foremost course of treatment is to avoid sun exposure on the affected skin. Shade is your friend, and SPF should always be worn (and reapplied) when you are outside, even if for only a few minutes. We recommend medical-grade SPF protection that not only defends against UVB and UVA but also HEV rays. HEV rays penetrate deeper with the potential for long-term damage from the light and, in the case of Melasma, the heat! We also recommend that an additional physical SPF is applied and reapplied. Double up!
Skinpossible’s BBL has built-in cooling so we can adjust the parameters to keep the epidermis cool. We have found that a single affordable BBL treatment can fade Melasma by 60-90%. Caution is required with this option, however, because parameters that would be acceptable for pigment due to sun damage could be too aggressive for Melasma and cause it to darken. Repeating phototherapy with a second treatment for Melasma is also not a good idea because a second treatment too soon (not before 6 months!) could cause a rebound. Learn more >>
This incredible laser uses non-thermal pressure-wave delivery to break up Melasma pigment. Pigment initially darkens somewhat but then clears gradually over a few weeks. A series of non-invasive treatments with minimal to no downtime is recommended. Learn more >>
Our Fotona Erbium Yag laser enables a precise depth of delivery while eliminating the thermal aspect associated with most other lasers. A few days of social downtime can be expected after this treatment, but the benefits also include a lovely “polishing” effect. Learn more >>
It is important to make sure that your skincare and make-up do not contain ingredients or perfumes that are photosensitizing. We can recommend medical-grade skincare products to lighten, brighten and inhibit melanin production.
Much can be done to fade the discoloration of Melasma but, unfortunately, nothing can be done to get rid of it. Treatment results can be enhanced and must be maintained with the diligent use of SPF and proper skincare. If you invest in any of the above solutions, we warmly encourage you to also invest in a nice wide-brimmed hat!