What is Melasma?
Melasma is a common adult skin condition where light to dark brown or greyish pigmentation develops, mainly on the face. The pigmentation is due to overproduction of melanin by the pigment cells - melanocytes.
Melasma/Cholasma usually affects women. Only one in twenty affected individuals are male.
Melasma is thought to be primarily related to external sun exposure, external hormones like oral contraceptive pills, and internal hormonal changes as seen in pregnancy. It is more common in people that tan well or have naturally dark skin compared with those who have fair skin.
Melasma affects the forehead, cheeks and upper lips resulting in macules (freckle-like spots). Larger patches, around the mouth that darken in the sun are very common. Occasionally it spreads to involve the sides of the neck, and a similar condition may affect the shoulders and upper arms.
What can be done to treat melasma?
We have a couple of treatments at Zenith that are proven to improve the appearance of Melasma. The first is the incredible Dermamelan Peel treatment, which is the result of years of research into skin pigmentation disorders.
For more mild cases, we may recommend a course which includes the use of chemical peels.
What happens during the procedure?
This depends on the treatment you are prescribed, but in general terms we use a combination of creams and gentle peels to prepare the skin, then apply the main peel. This is left on your skin for a number of hours as decided by the doctor. You will then remove the peel at home, and come back in to the clinic within 48 hours for the second part of the treatment.
What are the side effects or risks?
Immediately after your peel you should expect some redness and your face may feel a bit sore or tight.
What results can I typically expect?
You can expect at least an 80% reduction in the appearance of your melasma in the first week. After this the improvement from 80 -100% is dependent on how well you apply the aftercare.
- You will need a week off work.
- You will be in touch daily with your doctor and will need to send him pictures every day, by WhatsApp for instsance, so he can supervise your recovery.
- If the creams are used for 12 months the effect is improved further and becomes permanent.
- As it heals, your skin will be more sensitive to the sun, so you will need to use sunscreen for at least a month after treatment.