What is melasma? What are signs of melasma?
Melasma is a patchy brown, or blue-gray facial skin discoloration. It typically appears on the upper cheeks, upper lip, forehead, and chin of women 20-50 years of age.
It is thought to be primarily related to external sun exposure, external hormones like birth control pills, and internal hormonal changes as seen in pregnancy. Melasma is most common among pregnant women, especially those of Latin and Asian descents. People with darker skin, like Asian, Hispanic and Middle Eastern individuals, have higher incidences of melasma.
45-50 million women worldwide live with melasma. Over 90% of all cases are women. Prevention is primarily aimed at facial sun protection and sun avoidance.
What causes melasma?
The exact cause of melasma remains unknown. Experts believe that melasma could be triggered by several factors, including pregnancy, birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, family history of melasma and race.
Prolonged sunlight exposure is considered the leading cause of melasma, especially in individuals with a genetic predisposition to this condition.
When melasma occurs during pregnancy, it is also called chloasma, or "the mask of pregnancy". Studies have shown that postmenopausal women who receive progesterone hormone replacement therapy are more likely to develop melasma.
In addition, products or treatments that irritate the skin may cause an increase in melanin production and accelerate melasma symptoms. People with a genetic predisposition or known family history of melasma are at an increased risk of developing melasma.
Treatment with RF Fractional CO2
We can remove melasma, dark scars, freckles, age spots and all other pigmentation by using laser. We have the Fractional CO2 Laser which is the gold standard treatment for melasma. At the same time, the laser will also help to reduce wrinkles, make the skin fairer and your complexion more even. The skin will be younger looking and less sagging. This laser will also remove any unwanted facial hair permanently and reduce pore size.
Each session of laser takes only 5 to 10 minutes. It is painless and there is no side effects such as persistent redness, swelling etc. You can immediately go back to work and do your usual activities after the laser. You need to wait 2 weeks in between laser sessions.
The Fractional CO2 is the latest technology laser in the market and has superior safety for all skin types, unlike older technologies such as Intense Pulse Light (IPL) or earlier generation lasers which has potential to cause burns in people with darker skin.
You would need 10 sessions to see at least 60 to 80% improvement.
We can use lasers to treat melasma and it will be gone. However, there is a chance that it may come back after laser if you do not take the necessary precautions. This is called rebound melasma. To prevent it from coming back, you need to apply sunblock everyday for life and use an anti-pigmentation serum.
It is effective to reduce melasma and to help prevent melasma from coming back after completing your laser sessions.
Dr. Uddhav A. Patil
MS MCh (Plast. Surg.) MACPhleb