Melasma is a chronic skin condition that is difficult to treat. It mainly affects women and is more common in people that tan well or have darker skin.
Melasma is an important skin condition to recognize, as many treatments can make this condition worse!
Treatments that help subside Melasma:
Hydroquinone-our first method of choice is to use a combination of ZO medical products customized for your skin type over a period of 4 months. Pictures are taken initially and we monitor you on a regular basis to make sure appropriate changes are made as needed.
Melamin or melamix may also be used as a pre-treatment before our ReFresh peel or Pico Focus laser treatment.
Non-hydroquinone skin brighteners, if previously on hydroquinone or you do not want to use products containing hydroquinone
2. Chemical Peel ReFresh Peel - typically pre-treatment is required before the chemical peel can be done and is not suitable for all skin types
3. Picosure Laser Picosure Focus - break through pico second laser technology that can safely help treat melasma on all skin types. Pre-treatment may be necessary prior to laser treatment.
Results take time and vary with each individual.
Possibly 3-5 or more treatments may be necessary to control Melasma
Even when treatment results are good, pigmentation may reappear upon sun exposure and/or hormonal changes.
How to recognize Melasma: Melasma is characterized by symmetrical, blotchy, gray-brown patches of pigmentation. These patches are most commonly seen on the face:
It can also appear on other parts of the body that receive a lot of sun exposure such as the neck and forearms. The exact causes of this condition are not clear but occurs when the melanocytes are stimulated and produce an excess amount of color.
Known triggers include:
sun exposure and sun damage-tends to darken in the summer and fade in the winter. The heat from the UV light stimulates melanocyte activity.
hormone changes-as seen in pregnancy, mask of pregnancy. Use of birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy
cosmetics and perfumes-may cause a phototoxic reaction that triggers melasma
Preventative measures include:
avoid sun exposure, seek shade whenever possible
wear a daily broad-spectrum physical sunscreen SPF 50 ( contains zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide) and reapply every 3 to 5 hours or after being in water.
wear a hat with a wide brim when you are outside
use skin care products that do not irritate your skin
avoid waxing, as this may cause inflammation and make melasma worse