Similar to age spots and freckles, these spots can appear as flat marks on the skin. Unlike spots, however, melasma is often irregularly shaped. Treatments for this often focus on getting rid of the excess pigment within the skin and encouraging new growth. Removing the upper layers of the skin makes room for fresh, healthy skin cells so the old pigmentation can be shed.
There are many different ways you can approach skin conditions like hyperpigmentation. For patients in Rockford with melasma, a customized treatment plan can be developed with Dr. Pryor at Pryor Health. Some of the most effective procedures include:
Chemical peels can target any different concerns in the skin, including hyperpigmentation like melasma. Options typically include glycolic acid peels, TCA peels, and phenol peels which can remove the upper layers of old skin cells, and promote cell turnover to reveal healthy new skin underneath. Chemical peels come in mild, medium, or deep. Deeper peels carry more risk and require longer downtime, but penetrate deeper and can deliver more dramatic results.
Intense pulsed light is made to target brown pigment in the skin. The approach delivers an arc of broad-spectrum light that penetrates deep into all the layers, allowing dual treatment of both surface and dermal melasma.
IPL will cause pigmentation to darken as part of the healing process. Over time, it rises further to the surface before ultimately peeling away. The process takes a couple of weeks from the time of your initial appointment. A microdermabrasion procedure can help speed up the results.
Laser resurfacing comes in many forms with different innovative techniques behind them. Some options include Fraxel and the CO2 laser, which can help reduce melasma and other forms of hyperpigmentation in the skin. All lasers work slightly differently, but the general result is more even-toned, brighter skin with less visible blemishes, and imperfections.
Laser treatments are ablative or non-ablative. Ablative lasers target the upper layers of skin, while non-ablative lasers penetrate deeper to target the lower layers. The discomfort level, downtime, and risks are typically higher for ablative laser treatments, so it is important to discuss all the options with your physician before making a decision.
Aside from cosmetic treatments, patients can take extra precautions with their skin to help keep melasma flares to a minimum. Because hyperpigmentation occurs most often due to sun exposure, one of the best forms of treatment and prevention is sun protection.
The first step is ensuring you apply sunscreen before going into the sun and multiple times throughout the day if you have extended exposure. including reapplication throughout the day. From there, using protective layers, hats, and avoiding the sun altogether can all help prevent melasma from forming.
Melasma shows up as flat, irregularly shaped patches, usually gray or brown in color. They can appear randomly, but most commonly will develop on the forehead, cheeks, nose, and upper lip. Melasma may also appear on the neck and forearms.
Naturally, these areas are hard to hide, and the appearance of melasma can be a cause of concern and distress for many patients, especially in their youth.
Another term for melasma is chloasma. Regardless of the term used, the condition can appear as epidermal (on the skin’s surface), dermal (under the surface), or both. The deeper in the skin, the harder the hyperpigmentation will be to treat.
Unlike other kinds of hyperpigmentation, such as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation caused by injury or irritation, melasma is often triggered by hormone changes, stress, or thyroid disease. These are internal risk factors that cannot always be avoided. For these patients, having successful treatment options can be a huge relief.
Melasma is especially common in pregnant women as their estrogen and progesterone levels can boost melanin production. Sun can also bring on melasma, due to UV light speeding up melanin production in the skin.
People with Fitzpatrick skin types IV-VI tend to develop melasma more often. Knowing what is causing melasma is a great place to start so you can help prevent more from forming.
You are invited to book a treatment at Pryor Health where we offer a full range of Surgical, Medspa and Wellness services to take years off of your appearance. We are known for our results and care of our patients.