Melasma is a chronic skin disorder that results in symmetrical, bolotchy, brownish facial pigmentation. It is more common in women and generally starts between the age of 20 and 40 years, but can begin in childhood or not until middle age.
Not all pigmentation presents the same and therefore should not all be treated in the same manner. It is not easy for the untrained eye to differentiate between freckles, solar lentigines (sun spots), moles (nevi), melasma and seborrheic keratosis (benign skin lesions). Most people don’t even know what all those terms mean, let alone how to treat them. It is for this reason that off the shelf products are ill-equipped to effectively treat all pigmentation yet they promise to brighten the skin. IPL’s are a wonderful way to treat more superficial pigmentation such as freckling and solar lentigines, however, it does not treat seborrheic keratosis or melasma. Furthermore, the heat generated within the skin during an IPL can interact with deeper dermal pigmentation such as melasma, and with subsequent treatments, leaves the customer at risk to exacerbate the existing condition.
The deep pigmentation sits at the base of the epidermis just at the dermal/epidermal junction and has the ability in some cases to seep down into the dermis. Melasma has a hormonal constituent and is also referred to as a “Pregnancy mask” that follows a hormonal pattern and can be triggered in women during pregnancy, menopause, or by the administration of oral contraceptives. Melasma is a tricky thing to treat because it deepens with exposure to the high heat of the summer sun. It is this high heat that makes it contraindicative for IPL treatments. Using the Fotona Frac 3 laser, we can break down the pigment within the deeper layers of the skin. Depending on how the melasma presents and reacts to treatment, it may be advised by your treatment provider to incorporate micro-needling into your treatment plan. Micro-needling creates tiny channels which help to facilitate full absorption of treatment products, as well as further encouragement of cell renewal, pushing the damaged cells to the surface to be released through exfoliation.