Estimated 6 Million Americans Suffer From Melasma
Melasma is a type of hyperpigmentation that often appears on the cheeks, forehead, neck, forearms and chin. It’s a patchy, brown discoloration of the skin that is marked with cycles clearing and reoccurring. As a matter of fact, the American Academy of Dermatology reports that approximately six million Americans suffer from melasma. About 90 percent of those with melasma are women, due to the effects of hormone fluctuations, pregnancy, menopause and most commonly sun exposure. At Laser Clinique, we use a variety of methods to treat melasma, including IPL photorejuvenation, chemical peels, photodynamic therapy (PDT), Laserfirm, lightening creams and Lytera.
Causes of Melasma
Melasma is caused by a variety of causes. These causes include:
• Sun exposure
• Birth control pills
• Hormone replacement therapy
IPL photorejuvenation uses a broad-spectrum light to reach deep areas of the skin. The light is converted into heat energy which treats the damaged upper layer of skin and penetrates deeply to ramp up collagen production. This procedure reduces the discoloration of melasma and leaves the skin more even toned. Most patients require three to six IPL photo rejuvenation procedures every four weeks for optimal results. Improvement is gradual and increases after each treatment.
Chemical peels remove the outer layers of skin reducing discoloration and melasma. Peels help stimulate the growth of new, healthy skin cells. A glycolic peel minimizes the dry patches and discoloration of melasma. A TCA peel penetrates deep and removes uneven pigmentation along with smoothing the skin’s texture. Plus, medical grade chemical peels such as Vitalize and Rejuvenize Peels can help erase sun spots, freckles and mild acne scarring.
PDT for Melasma
PDT is a non-invasive procedure that treats hyperpigmentation caused by melasma. The treatment entails two steps. A photosensitizing agent is applied to the skin and the agent is subsequently activated with a light source. Intense pulsed light is used to target the melasma cells. A minimum of three or more treatments may be needed for noticeable results. This treatment is also effective for patchy skin, sebaceous hyperplasia, acne, milia and sun damage.
Laserfirm combines a few of the latest technologies to even out skin tone and significantly reduce melasma. This procedure increases collagen production and reduces the hyperpigmentation associated with melasma. For optimal results, a series of three to five treatments is usually needed. Treatments are spaced four weeks apart, and there is typically no downtime.
Unlike hydroquinone products, Lytera works more effectively and quickly. It’s a skin brightening cream that has been proven to reduce and remove dark pigmentation patches of melasma. Clinical studies have shown that 85 percent of melasma patients had visible improvements in just 12 weeks. And with the antioxidants in Lytera, patients are left with smooth and supple skin. Often, we use Lytera in combination with chemical peels or laser treatments.
Wearing sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat when you’re outside can help prevent melasma. Melasma is common during pregnancy due to elevation in hormones. That’s why it’s called the “mask of pregnancy.” Those with darker skin, such as Middle Eastern, Latin, African-American and Indian are more likely to get melasma. Once you understand the cause of melasma, you can choose the most appropriate type of treatment. While melasma is harmless, it can make an individual lose their sense of self confidence. Maintenance therapy may be necessary in order to reduce the risk of recurrence of melasma.
If you’re suffering from melasma in San Diego, turn to the skin care experts at Laser Clinique. We are an innovative medical spa that uses the latest technologies in the treatment of melasma. We’ve treated numerous patients who suffer from melasma with fantastic results. At Laser Clinique, you’re just one step closer to a clearer complexion. We pride ourselves on excellent patient care.