What is Melasma?
What is Melasma?
Melasma is a harmless skin condition that appears as dark brown spots, usually on the face or areas of the body that receive the most sun. It can appear on the nose bridge, cheeks, forehead, and other high points on the face. The condition is common, and typically affects women more than men.
How is Melasma caused?
The true cause of melasma is not known, but it likely stems from overproduction in the melanocytes (the skin’s pigment cells). Melasma seems to be triggered by overexposure to the sun. In women, it is also known as the “mask of pregnancy,” as it can be caused by hormones during pregnancy.
What types of treatments are used for Melasma?
Though melasma can disappear on its own, several treatments are available for cases in which the melasma will not fade. There are topical options such as hydroquinone, which is applied directly to the skin and lightens spots. But melasma is a challenge to treat and the best way to remove melasma is with Lasers which can also be used to correct the hyperpigmentation caused by melasma.
How can Melasma be treated with lasers?
Professionals can target the skin’s pigment cells precisely with a laser, which will cause a molecular change in the cells. By creating this molecular change, the body will not recognize the cells and will work to remove them. As the body dissolves the cells, the hyperpigmentation will fade. A laser with high peak power in a short period of time is ideal for targeting different types of pigmentation such as melasma and an appropriate laser wavelength is the Lucid Q PTP Q switched Nd:Yag laser which possesses the scientific properties to effectively remove melasma.
What are the benefits of melasma laser treatment?
Laser treatments for melasma are quick and painless. They can also lead to permanent results if the skin’s cells are stabilized during the procedure. Laser treatment is also more likely to be longer lasting than topical treatments.
Who is a good candidate for Treatment?
Lasers are not the first step for treating melasma. Typically, patients who go for laser treatments have first given the melasma time to fade and used topical products. If the melasma does not fade on its own (such as after pregnancy) and topical treatments have not helped it fade, then laser treatment should be considered.
What is the average cost of a Melasma Treatment?
Melasma laser treatments can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars. Low estimates are around $200 per session, and extended treatment plans can cost upwards of $5,000. Melasma laser treatments are a cosmetic procedure and are not typically covered by insurance.
How many treatments will I need?
For most patients, four to seven treatments will be needed. However, the total amount of treatments necessary to resolve the melasma will depend upon the severity of the hyperpigmentation. The body’s own response to the treatment will also determine how many sessions are necessary.
How long will each treatment take?
Each laser session takes only a few minutes to complete. It can take a few days for the treatment to begin working and the melasma to crust over and flake off.
How far apart are treatments?
Treatments are usually three to four weeks apart. In some cases, different types of lasers may need to be used in order to determine which is most effective. This can change the frequency of treatments and will be adjusted to each patient’s needs.
What should I expect after treatment?
Initially after the treatment you can expect to feel a warmth to the treated skin, which will fade. The treated areas will likely darken for a day or so. After this, the melasma should crust over and flake off, revealing normal skin underneath.
How can I prepare for treatment?
Avoid exposure to the sun as much as possible, and use a sunscreen when outside. Do not use any spray tanning or other pigment products, as the laser will affect them. If you’ve previously used topical creams to treat melasma, stop use at least two weeks before a laser treatment.
How permanent is the treatment?
The treatment can be permanent for some patients. Other patients may experience a resurgence in the melasma every few years. Patients who protect their skin from the sun are less likely to experience a relapse and need further treatment. If the melanocytes are stabilized after the initial treatments, then the treatment is usually permanent.
Where can I go to find a treatment?
Most cosmetic clinics offer laser treatments for melasma and hyperpigmentation.