Contributed by Joelle Rodenburgh, AFYA Skin and Body Clinic
Melasma…sounds like a term out of a sci-fi movie, where some alien spaceship invades a country or town, and everybody gets hit with “melasma.” In reality though, melasma is far from UFOs and nationwide alien invasions. That being said, melasma can take over part of your confidence when it comes to your appearance.
Melasma is the discolouration of your skin. It usually appears as brown or grey spots just about anywhere on your body but commonly shows up on a person’s cheeks, bridge of the nose, upper lip and forehead.
So, what’s the cause? The environment certainly has an impact on melasma flare-ups, but hormonal changes and genetic makeup are the leading causes of the unsightly skin spotting. Age also plays a role in the appearance of those dark spots. Women between the ages of 20–50 are more prone to melasma because it tends to appear in the reproductive years. It has been dubbed the pregnancy mask, as it often appears during pregnancy.
Staying out of the sun will certainly help reduce the signs of melasma, but the condition isn’t sun damage and shouldn’t be treated in the same way as sun damage. There are many treatments to help reduce the appearance of that unwanted colour. A combination of treatments, such as IPL photorejuvenation, microneedling, chemical peels, dermaplaning, microdermabrasion, prescriptions and medical grade skin-care products all help to reduce the hyper pigmentation.
IPL photorejuvenation produces a wavelength that sends light through the skin. That light then turns to heat, gets absorbed by the pigmented areas, removes unwanted brown spots and redness, and helps to achieve tightening and smoothing of the skin. This type of technology needs to be used by a skin specialist who is familiar with melasma in order to get safe and effective results using the IPL.
The Eclipse MicroPen Elite is a microneedling treatment that uses collagen-induction therapy to increase the skin’s elasticity and even out the skin tone. With this treatment, twelve small needles gently penetrate through the upper layers of skin tissue, tapping into the skin’s natural healing mechanisms and resulting in an increased amount of collagen production. The benefits of microneedling include a reduction in the appearance of discolouration to create a fresher appearance and glow to the skin on the face and body.
Microdermabrasion, chemical peels, dermaplaning are all exfoliation treatments that help to remove the excess pigmentation forming on the surface of the skin and improve texture and tone. When it comes to melasma, the exfoliation of the skin is essential, as it helps to keep dead skin from building up and adding to the discoloured pigmentation of your skin.
Medical grade skin-care products are essential to suppress the overproduction of pigmentation from within the skin. Skinceuticals is a scientifically driven skin-care line that targets the enzyme that is responsible for the overproduction of melanin (pigment) in your skin, which causes the hyper pigmentation. Skinceuticals Discolouration Defense does just that. Made up of 3% tranexamic acid, 1% kojic acid, 5% niacinamide, and 5% HEPES, Skinceuticals Discolouration Defense is clinically proven to reduce the appearance of skin discolouration due to melasma.
If you would like to learn more about these treatments, how they work, and what other conditions they can help with, we would love to have you in for a complimentary consultation at AFYA Skin and Body Clinic. We promise there will be no aliens, outer space invasions or sci-fi movies in the making. And we also promise to create a skin-care plan that leaves you feeling and looking like the stars you are!