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 MELASMA TREATMENT
In these imperfections or dark patches on the face, we target the pigment melanin with the laser melasma treatment. 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 melasma 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. How would I know if the brown patches on my face were melasma or sun spots? What is the difference?
A. Melasma, brown patches of skin on the face, is usually caused by hormonal shifts and is often referred to as the “mask of pregnancy”. The starting of birth control pills can also cause it to appear in some women that are particularly sensitive to these shifts. Even switching to a new brand of birth control can cause the brown patches to arise.
For some, the melasma will simply fade away once their hormones return to their normal state. For instance, after giving birth or stopping the use of birth control pills. For others, treatment of the melasma may be the only solution to make it go away. Melasma is also made worse with excessive exposure to the sun.
There is not a hormonal component associated with sun spots. Sun spots are caused by over exposure to the sun for long periods of time. As we age, we are more likely to get sun spots if we spend a lot of time in the sun.
Laser treatment for melasma is more difficult than for sun spots, however, both can be successfully treated and removed.
Q. Can this laser treat the red pigmentation marks on my face that were caused by acne?
A. The red marks are actually inflammation left over from the acne not pigmentation. They are caused by vascularization that was left over from inflammation. They are not caused by melanin, your skin’s natural pigment. The good news… Yes! Such marks can easily be treated with lasers.
Q. I have melasma on both sides of my neck. I also have it on my left arm from my elbow to my wrist. It seems to be spreading. I’ve tried Tri Luma and chemical peels but neither has worked. Can this laser melasma treatment help me?
A. Our laser melasma treatment protocols can more than likely help. First, we need to establish the likely cause of you melasma with a thorough evaluation. This will allow us to determine if the melasma is “stable” or “unstable”. During the evaluation we often times perform test treatments with different lasers. We need to understand how your specific skin responds to the different technologies. This allows us to customize the most effective treatment for your particular skin that will achieve the best possible results.
Q. I’ve been told that the brown patches on my face are an unstable melasma. Will this melasma treatment get rid of it? Can the melasma 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.