Melasma and Skin pigmentation, are skin conditions that some men and more commonly women, experience at some point in their lives.
What causes Melasma/Skin Pigmentation?
There are many skin pigmentation conditions, ranging from melasma to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and from superficial pigmentation to pigmentation that lies deep within the skin.
Melasma (also known as chloasma) refers to a chronic skin condition in which pigment is located within the superficial and deeper layers of the skin. This skin condition has a distinct ‘mask’ of pigment that can be spread across the forehead, cheeks and above the top lip or be isolated to just one facial area.
While the exact cause of melasma is unknown, the stimulation of hormones by the contraceptive pill, pregnancy and stress appears to be a common trigger. In addition, sun exposure can accentuate the appearance of melasma. It is also important to note that, in most cases, a vascular component of the skin pigmentation is found.
What can I expect from the treatment?
At Bella Plastic Surgery, we use laser technology designed to target melasma and other skin pigmentation conditions precisely without causing damage to the surrounding skin tissue. This is important because skin prone to melasma and other pigmentation conditions will not tolerate direct heat. Therefore, heating the skin with traditional laser devices can lead to the pigmentation condition worsening.
The laser technology used by Bella Plastic Surgery works by breaking down the pigmentation within the deeper layers of the skin. There is typically very minimal discomfort associated with this treatment—often patients will experience a warm sensation in the treated area, during treatment.
Once the skin pigment has been broken down into small particles, these are reabsorbed into the bloodstream and eliminated. In addition to breaking down the pigmentation, the blood vessels will also be treated by the laser device to reduce the underlying redness.
Skin needling is recommended as a complementary treatment performed immediately after your laser treatment. Skin needling causes light trauma to the skin, which facilitates the production of cells in the treated area to accelerate the reduction and elimination of pigmentation.
How many treatments are required?
For pigmentation that resides superficially within the skin, treatment plans are shorter, when compared to pigmentation that extends to deeper layers of the skin.
Pigmentation that is located within the deeper layers of the skin (in melasma, for example), a rigorous treatment plan is required. In part, the treatment regime will depend on the rate of reduction, which will be assessed following each treatment.
The exact number of treatments required to treat skin pigment can never be provided as there are many variables that determine the effectiveness of laser when treating skin pigment. With that said, our advice is simple, you should see results following a single treatment – if you do not see a result, do not continue with treatment.
Is the treatment painful?
This treatment is generally termed comfortable and tolerated well by patients.
Although the potential risks are extremely uncommon, one or more of the following may occur:
- Lightening or darkening of the skin in the treated areas.
- Skin crusting or blistering.
- Scarring – which includes Hypertrophic or Keloid Scarring.
As part of your post-treatment care plan, you will be provided with verbal and written post-treatment instructions.