Melasma is also known as Chloasma or mask of pregnancy. Melasma is a chronic condition which presents as generally symmetrical hyperpigmentation macules on the face with uneven borders. Although the exact cause still remains largely unknown, evidence supports that genetic predisposition, hormones and sun exposure can play a dominant role in the development and progression of this condition. Although it affects both men and women, melasma is more common in women, especially pregnant women and those who are taking oral or patch contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy (HRT) medications. Other causes may include individuals with Thyroid problems and drug related reactions involving allergy and photosensitizing medications.
Due to the high incidence occurring in women Melasma is thought to occur with the stimulation of melanocytes (pigment producing cells in the epidermis) by the female sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone to produce more melanin when the skin is exposed to sun. Women with a light brown skin type who are living in regions with intense sun exposure are particularly susceptible to developing this condition however even dark skin tones are presenting with this condition more regularly.
Location of pigment within the skin will determine the approach to treatment, however pigmentation residing in the upper skin layer generally responds more efficiently to treatment than in the dermis. Melasma pigment is commonly distributed within the epidermal and dermal layers. A multi treatment approach including: Fractional Radio Frequency Resurfacing, Q Switched Laser technology with Chemical Peels and specialised products are often required to target this persistent condition successfully. The exact number of treatments can vary from client to client, as there are numerous variables that must be taken into account when determining treatment plan and outcome post assessment. The Melbourne Laser & Aesthetic Centre’s experienced Dermal Clinicians assess the condition in consultation and develop an individualised treatment plan.
Treatment involves a combination of Q Switch laser and Fractional RF treatment with the addition of appropriate skin products including topical tyrosinase inhibitors and/or lightening agents.
Immediate post treatment effects are dependent on the type of laser or cosmetic technology used. Immediately after treatment a mild inflammation is generally expected with gradual lightening of the areas over several weeks following each treatment. As Melasma is a chronic and unpredictable condition clients can expect long term lightening results if home care and maintenance plans are continued.