In our skin clinic we see many clients that suffer from melasma and we see the frustration this condition causes. While melasma poses no medical concerns, it can create anxiety in people that have the condition. We understand that the face creates first impressions and a person can be self-conscious about the pigmentation. There are real solutions to manage melasma.
This article is to highlight why melasma occurs frequently in Australia and the effective treatment of this condition.
MELASMA IN AUSTRALIA
Many clients wonder why they experience melasma more in Australia than anywhere else. Majority of the population live near the coast and most Australians enjoy an outdoor lifestyle. It is well known that the southern hemisphere is where the hole in the ozone layer exists. This contributes to the increased harmful UVA/UVB radiation that stimulates pigmented lesions like melasma.
People with skin type IV-VI produce more melanin. This is a natural evolution for people from Asian, Mediterranean, Middle-Eastern, Indian or African countries to protect them from the sun. Melasma is a much harder condition to treat in this skin type group and additional considerations need to be taken.
WHAT IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE TREATMENT?
Melasma treatment is not a simple do-it-once treatment solution. The most effective recommended treatment protocol is a 3-step program.
- Remove the pigmented lesion
- Stop formation of new pigment
1. Remove the pigmented lesion
ResolveTM is a breakthrough laser system that shatters the skin pigmentation with picosecond photoacoustic laser energy. This is only one of a few lasers that produces very little heat so the laser will not stimulate additional melasma. The body processes the shattered pigmented lesion internally via the immune system.
Skin type IV-VI additional protocol: Cosmelan professional peel is recommended in darker skin types. This intensive peel is left on the face for 6-8 hours. This promotes aggressive peeling for 7 days and ejects the pigment externally. This additional approach removes the pigment from the epidermal layer externally as well using ResolveTM to remove the pigment internally.
2. Stop formation of new pigment
Removing the existing the pigmented lesion is only half the battle. Once the pigment is cleared, a tyrosinase inhibitor is essential to stop formation of new pigment. Cosmelan 2 is a very powerful serum that does this safely. This product is to be used for as long as you want to keep the pigment from reoccurring.
As long as the triggers like sun exposure or hormonal influences are present, these maintenance routines are required to prevent reoccurrence:
- SPF50 sunscreen every time you are outdoors
- Wide brim hat every time you are outdoors
- Active skin care regime used daily
- 6 monthly ResolveTM treatment
As you can see, effective melasma treatment is possible but it is a commitment of ongoing maintenance. The biggest misconception is that a treatment for melasma is permanent. Another misconception is that a solution that works for one person must work for another. We hear people say, “my friend had this treatment why didn’t it work for me”. Skin type ranges from I-VI and also each person’s lifestyle may be different which contributes to the triggers of melasma.
The best option is to consult a skin specialist to customise a melasma maintenance program for your particular situation.
WHAT DERMATOLOGISTS PRESCRIBE
Why don’t all dermatologists recommend ResolveTM? The main reason is not all clinics can afford to invest $300,000 in the ResolveTM picosecond laser system. In many cases they recommend Fraxel or other heat inducing laser systems. Why? Because that is the system they have, so that is why they recommend it, even if it causes more melasma due to the heat and trauma.
Why do dermatologists recommend hydroquinone even when it has been taken off the FDA approved list? Because they have always prescribed this drug. Also, not all dermatologists believe in maintenance based skin care. Advancements in active ingredients skin care has provided the consumer with alternatives to prescription drugs to treat skin conditions.
We see many clients that have been either fed up with the lack of good advice on melasma or have resorted to the misleading world of “Dr Google” for remedies. The misinformation has led some people to believe in the charlatans that promise the world but only deliver lies or worse, damage the skin.
Don’t get caught. Seek the advice from an expert skin therapist from Eden Laser Clinic, we will give you honest and professional advice. In some cases, the expectations of clients do not meet what can be done with the solutions that are available. If the client wants to work with us, we know what works and can design a plan to manage the melasma. There is no obligation and our job is to educate and set the realities on what can be achieved.