Melasma is a stubborn skin condition that can affect anyone – affecting about 45 million people world wide . It occurs most often in women – especially those with darker skin types. Melasma is a condition that causes irregular patches of brown skin or dark pigmented patches on the forehead, cheeks, upper lip and nose, and is normally brought on by hormonal changes resulting from pregnancy or the use of oral birth control (thus the name "pregnancy mask"). Although melasma does not pose a serious health risk, it is worsened by exposure to the sun, heat and humidity.
For some women, the brown patches will fade after childbirth, hormone therapy or the discontinuation of oral contraceptives. However, in many cases, melasma will not go away on its own. Traditional remedies include enzyme inhibitors, bleaches, depigmenting agents, steroid creams, pulsed light, chemical or acid peels, microdermabrasion, or aggressive dermabrasion. These methods often deliver lackluster results, significant downtime or the risk of adverse complications.
Dermacare’s Program for Treatment of Melasma
At Dermacare, we often use the combination of medical-grade topical skin products and the laser treatments to safely and effectively treat and control melasma. The program used for your situation depends on (1) what you have tried in the past, (2)your skin type – Asian, Hispanic, Caucasian, African – and, (3) your life stage - premenopausal, perimenopausal or postmenopausal. We start our treatment programs with an exfoliating treatment like glycolic acid chemical peels to increase the absorption of the depigmtation agents. Then we can choose the use for depigmentation of hydroquinone or the use of Cosmelan. Because Cosmelan can be taken without interruption we have found it to be an excellent alternative to those that have used hydroquinone and do not want to continue or for those that cannot use hydroquinone. Later we provide treatment with Fraxel Laser with FDA approval for significantly reducing melasma where other treatments have failed. Fraxel’s "fractional" technology penetrates deep within the skin promoting fast healing and stimulating the production of new, firm tissue to smooth out imperfections. While individual results vary, Fraxel offers the benefits of speedy healing and little to no downtime. Results are immediate and progressive, with optimal improvement usually visible in about two to three months and gradual improvement for up to a year.