Melasma: Discoloration of the Face and Hands
Melasma is a discoloration of the face. Sometimes it is referred to as “pregnancy mask” although it may not be related to pregnancy at all. It is characterized by splotches of brown pigmentation on the face that is typically symmetrical in nature, for example a spot on the left side will likely be on the right side.
Melasma is hormonal in nature, whether it be related to natural fluctuations, birth control, pregnancy or thyroid. Due to this, there is no cure but there are ways to manage it.
How we treat it
The ProFractional Laser helps to break up the pigmentation by putting small pinpricks deep into the skin. This allows for the hyperpigmentation to escape. Following the treatment, a lightening agent will be utilized. Hydroquinone and kojic acid are commonly used because they inhibit tyrosine in the skin, the enzyme in part responsible for the pigmentation.
Broadband Light Therapy
BroadBand light is at times used in conjunction with ProFractional Laser to help bring the troublesome pigmentation to the surface. Many light therapies, such as IPL, can actually exacerbate the melanocytes responsible for the melasma, which is why we use a combination therapy for optimal results.
Chemical Peels, Dermaplaning, and Microdermabrasion
Chemical peels are keratolytic agents, meaning they cause skin to peel on the surface. This will not remove melasma, but exfoliating the surface of the skin and help to reduce the appearance of the hyperpigmentation. Dermaplaning and microdermabrasion are mechanical exfoliants, meaning that they are removing surface skin cells without the use of chemicals to assist in reducing the appearance of the darkened pigment. Dermaplaning and microdermabrasion are great options for those who have experienced melasma as a result of pregnancy or are breastfeeding and are therefore not candidates for laser procedures yet.
Managing your Melasma
In addition to in clinic treatments at Mad Peaches, we will advise you individually on the best at home care regime. We do have some tips over the course of treatments:
- Always use sunscreen. Although melasma is hormonally based, UV light can aggravate
it. Protecting and reapplying sunscreen is the best way to prevent this.
- Wear sunglasses. UV light that penetrates through the eyes can spur a surge in melanin
and therefore melasma.
- See us about a good lightening solution topically. We have a multitude of products for at home management for the most holistic of us to the less holistically inclined.
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