Say Goodbye to Brown, Splotchy Skin!
Have pregnancy, birth control pills, or heredity left you with brown patches of uneven-toned skin? You are not alone — an estimated six million American women live with melasma, a condition in which brown pigmentation (melanin) appears on the face, and can even create a mask-like appearance. For many patients melasma can cause a loss of confidence and even anxiety or depression.
Laser therapy – the most effective way to treat melasma
At Reflections we offer the very latest and most effective treatments for melasma. We find that a combination of carefully chosen laser therapies and medications, combined with daily use of sunscreen, achieves wonderful results and helps restore our patients’ skin to its former radiance.
Results may vary: Melasma is hormone-related and can be resistant to treatment. Usually, patients can expect to see a dramatic improvement in skin tone after laser therapy, but there may be need for additional future treatments, particularly if hormones fluctuate in the future, such as with an additional pregnancy.
What is melasma?
Melasma is a chronic condition, most often triggered by pregnancy, the use of birth control pills, or hormone replacement therapy. It also seems to run in families, and is more prevalent among Latina and Asian women.
Melasma can be a difficult condition to treat, and using the wrong device for your particular type of melasma can actually make the condition worse. This is why it’s important to choose a physician who is experienced in treating all forms of melasma and has invested in a variety of laser technologies to address the condition. The right tools in experienced hands make all the difference in the world when it comes to treating your melasma.
Modern laser technology
Lasers have truly revolutionized treatment for melasma.
Clear + Brilliant is the latest innovation in fighting melasma. This laser treatment penetrates the skin at a shallow depth, targeting the layers where much of the unwanted pigment from melasma resides. Clear + Brilliant is a good choice for both initial treatments and maintenance therapy, with treatments usually spaced about one month apart4.
For the more aggressive treatment of melasma there’s the Fraxel Re:Store Dual laser, which is the gold standard for sun damaged skin. Its energy penetrates deep into the skin, eliminating the skin cells that cause melasma while protecting the skin’s outer layer. Fraxel Re:Store Dual laser treatments are usually performed monthly for a three or four month period3.
The Q-Switched Nd:YAG laser can target melanin in the deep dermis, making it another option for the treatment of melasma. This laser is especially useful when treating patients with darker skin, as its long wavelength provides a safer and more effective treatment. Q-Switched Nd:YAG treatments are usually provided in a series of visits, spaced two to three weeks apart, and are often used to supplement the great results from Clear + Brilliant and the Fraxel Re:Store Dual laser1.
Intense pulsed light (IPL) treatments can also be helpful in some cases where the pigment from melasma is found in the epidermis, the upper most layer of the skin2.
Depending on your skin and the type of melasma you have, our expert physicians will get to know your skin and identify the most effective options for you.
A treatment plan that’s right for you
We have achieved tremendous results for our patients by combining carefully chosen lasers and topical medications.
We often recommend combining your laser treatment with topical medications such as hydroquinone (4%), retinoids such as Retin-A, or a prescription cream known as Tri-Luma® Cream. Agents such as hydroquinone do not “bleach” the skin, but instead decrease the activity of the melanin where applied. Retinoids promote the rapid loss of pigment by increasing skin turnover and easing penetration of helpful topical ingredients into the skin.
No matter which regimen a patient follows, strict sun avoidance and the use of a high quality sunblock are mandatory to decrease the risk of melasma returning and its severity.
I have melasma — can I still spend time outside?
At Reflections, we want to help you look and feel your best, and that means being able to do the things you love. As part of your treatment plan, our team will recommend a top grade sunblock for daily protection, and strategize with you about other ways to protect your skin from the sun and keep melasma from reappearing.
Look like yourself again
With Reflections approach to melasma treatment and management, you will look like yourself again. Best of all, you’ll have a new confidence when you’re out and about, knowing everyone can see the real you.
*Results may vary: Melasma is hormone-related and can be resistant to treatment. Usually, patients can expect to see a dramatic improvement in skin tone after laser therapy, but there may be need for additional future treatments, particularly if hormones fluctuate in the future, such as with an additional pregnancy.
1. TSE, Y., LEVINE, V. J., MCCLAIN, S. A. and ASHINOFF, R. (1994), The Removal of Cutaneous Pigmented Lesions with the Q-switched Ruby Laser and the Q-switched Neodymium: Yttrium-Aluminum-Garnet Laser. The Journal of Dermatologic Surgery and Oncology, 20: 795–800. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.1994.tb03707.
2. Babilas, P., Schreml, S., Szeimies, R.-M. and Landthaler, M. (2010), Intense pulsed light (IPL): A review. Lasers Surg. Med., 42: 93–104. doi: 10.1002/lsm.20877
3. Lawrence S. Bass MD; Rejuvenation of the Aging Face Using Fraxel Laser Treatment; DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.asj.2005.03.003 307-309 First published online: 1 May 2005
4. Amir M Karam, Mitchel P Goldman; Rejuvenation of the Aging Face; JP Medical Ltd, Aug 28, 2015; pages 91-104