WHAT IS MELASMA?
Melasma is a dark skin discoloration caused by excessive melanin found predominantly in women on sun-exposed areas of the face. It’s a very common skin disorder that can be effectively treated with AMA Skincare’s advanced laser treatments.
Those most affected by this skin disorder are women with medium to darker skin tones. Women experiencing hormonal fluctuations in pregnancy, or while taking contraceptive pills or hormone replacement therapy, have a greater incidence of this condition. The risk is even higher for those over-exposed to sunlight, or whose skin has suffered chronic irritation from external sources such as chemicals, abrasion and even waxing.
Typically, melasma first appears as dark spots on the face such as sunspots or sun damaged skin, and later develops into a more extensive “mask-like” coverage of the skin, with an uneven, brown-toned discoloration found mostly on the cheeks, nose, lips and forehead. See above to view before and after photos of laser melasma treatments.
The color of skin affected by melasma will vary depending on the concentration, density and depth of melanin at different locations within the affected area. Accordingly, the most effective melasma treatments often require a combination of different lasers. Fortunately, AMA Skincare has 6 different types of lasers that effectively target virtually all types of skin discolorations.
LASER TREATMENT FOR MELASMA
In these imperfections or dark spots on the face, we target the pigment melanin. Naturally occurring melanin is responsible for skin pigmentation. It allows our skin to become tan, and is also what causes brown spots. When precisely targeted with the correct energy, the melanin absorbs the laser’s energy, causing a change in its molecular structure. Consequently it is no longer recognized by the immune system which actively breaks it down and dissolves it away over a course of 3-4 weeks, leaving your skin free of discoloration. In some cases, the targeted melanin crusts over and flakes off in 3-7 days, revealing perfectly virgin skin underneath.
Effective melasma treatment protocols typically require 4-7 laser treatments spaced 3-4 weeks apart. In each case our unique protocols interact with your body’s natural physiological processes regulating melanin content and turnover. Together the synergistic partnership between our science and your physiology achieves the best possible results.
A customized and specially formulated cream will often be used in conjunction with laser treatments to assists in suppressing your skin from reforming the unwanted pigmentation. This proprietary AMA formulation is designed to directly suppress your skin’s melanin creating mechanisms by utilizing a sophisticated combination of naturally occurring substances as well as pharmaceutically synthesized components for maximal effectiveness.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS – MELASMA TREATMENT
Q. What is the difference between melasma and age spots? How would I know which I have?
A. Melasma, dark patches of skin on the face, also known as the dreaded “mask of pregnancy”, is usually associated with hormonal shifts in women. Thus in some particularly sensitive woman, it can also arise from starting or stopping the birth control pill, or even changing the brand of birth control pill. For the lucky ones, after they give birth and their hormones return to their normal state, the melasma will fade away. For other, the melasma may persist, and require treatment to go away. Exposure to the sun will typically make the melasma worse.
Sun spots do not have a hormonal component. They are caused by simple over exposure to the sun, over long periods of time. Thus, as we age, and if we are in the sun a lot, we are progressively more likely to get sun spots, also called age spots.
Both melasma and sun spots/age spots can be successfully treated, though melasma is more difficult.
Q. I have hyperpigmentation on my face from acne. My skin is completely smooth other than the red pigmentation marks. Can this laser treat it?
A. The red marks left over from acne are actually not pigmentation but inflammation. Meaning, they are not caused by your skin’s natural pigments (melanin) but rather from vascularization left over from inflammation. The good news: YES, we can easily treat such marks.
Q. I am a biracial man with melasma on each side of my neck and on my left arm from wrist to elbow that appears to be spreading. My dermatologist has given me Tri Luma and I’ve also had chemical peels but nothing has worked. Can this treatment help me?
A. More than likely, our protocols can help. First we need to evaluate your hyper-pigmentation to establish what is likely to have caused it, and to determine if it is “stable” or “unstable”. Often times, as part of our evaluation we will offer “test” treatments with different technologies to see how your skin responds. Once we understand how your skin responds, we can then customized the most effective treatments for your skin to achieve the best possible results.
Q. I’ve been told that the dark spots on my face are caused by an unstable melasma. Is it possible to get rid of it? Is there a chance that the melasma will come back?
A. We are confident that we can provide you with treatments that will achieve successful results for your skin. However, before I respond specifically to your concerns about the potential for your melasma to return, let me explain in general terms the bases of why our laser treatments are successful.
A primary reason for our success in the clinical science of aesthetic dermatology, is because we customize laser protocols for each patient according to their skin’s needs. In tougher cases, such as a melasma this may also require that we first try a number of small test treatments in order to establish which protocol methodology is best suited for your skin.
We call this, “finding the physiological roadmap” to a healthy and successful outcome. In every patient, the roadmap is not found in a text book or medical reference. The roadmap is as unique as the patient, and is inherent in the patient’s own physiology. Thus until we “consult” the patient’s physiology by engineering an initial test protocol, we won’t know with certainty what the best course of treatment is. Your case is one that requires some testing, and you will be pleased to know that we do not charge for the testing.
Now, specifically about a case of unstable melasma such as yours. Yes, in such cases, even after a successful reduction of the initial melasma, if the patient’s skin is subjected to the conditions that stimulates their melasmam, the melasma might return. For some patients, they unfortunately have to “chase” the melasma off their skin every few years, until such time as their melasma becomes stable and can be removed permanently.
More information on Melasma can be found at:
FREE CONSULTATION WITH OUR DOCTORS
In order to achieve the best possible results for your skin, successful melasma treatments should start with a patient that is thoroughly educated. Therefore, we start our relationship with you with a free and private consultation wherein we invest an entire hour to personally educate you. Schedule a free consultation today to find out more about our laser melasma removal treatments.
For information regarding the challenges, truths and misconceptions of treating darker skin types with lasers, visit the Darker Skin FAQ page.