Many people (mostly women) will notice a shadow form on the skin above their top lip. This is not to be confused with pigmentation on the lip itself (this would be sun damage). If you have this shadow, you may have noticed that it occurred after a hormonal change of some sort. Whether it was simply starting oral or internal contraceptives or something more obvious such as giving birth. Since then, the shadow gets darker – especially during the Summer. This ladies (and maybe gentlemen), is what we call Melasma.
Melasma is a hormonal pigmentation that occurs primarily on the face. It appears in ‘blotches’ and can get noticeably larger and/or darker if you leave it untreated.
Types and Causes of Melasma
Most women often develop melasma when pregnant or using contraceptives or taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT). At City Laser Clinic, we mostly see women between 20-40 years old developing the pigmentation. We understand the distress that you may face from these blemishes, especially when other treatments have failed. You may notice that the appearance of Melasma is worsened over time due to age and sun exposure.
If your melasma has arisen from pregnancy, contraceptives, or hormone replacement therapy (HRT), the discoloration usually fades on it’s own. The fading happens several months after you have given birth, stopped taking the contraceptives or HRT. If your melasma is not related to these circumstances, we can help to reduce it.
Benefits of the MedLite C6 Q-switched Laser for Treating Melasma
The nature of Melasma makes it challenging to treat. This is because it’s a mixed pigmentation – dermal (deep) and epidermal (superficial). The pigmentation develops through these layers of the skin, which is why it is difficult to treat. There are other treatments available to reduce the discolouration, however the laser route is the most safe & effective method.
In order to treat this mixed pigmentation, we need a laser that is able to treat both layers of the skin. This is exactly why we use the Medlite Q-switched lasers as it delivers multiple wavelengths of light. The ability to deliver different laser forms allows us to treat both epidermal and dermal pigmentation within the one treatment. The wavelengths associated with this device are;
As with all laser therapy, you will require a [free] initial consultation prior to commencing treatments. We need to assess the pigmentation and ensure that it is melasma before treating it as so. If we provide the incorrect treatment, we can worsen the pigmentation or gain no result at all. The consultation also allows us to thoroughly explain what the treatment involves before you commit to it. Once correctly diagnosed, we are then able to commence your sessions.
It’s important to remember that melasma is a hormonal condition. And as a hormonal condition, it is impossible for us to completely remove it. However we can get your melasma to the point of being barely visible. That being said, you will need to manage it by having a maintenance session every few months after your sessions.
To get to the point of being barely visible, you will need 10-12 weekly/fortnightly treatments. The treatment duration is 10-15mins per session and will leave your skin looking slightly pink. This pinkness usually only lasts 10-20mins, and up to an hour in sensitive skins. There is no downtime, which means you can apply makeup and do any usual activities post-treatment (except sun baking!).
Are there any Precautions to take during treatment?
As with all laser treatments, you must avoid exposure to direct sunlight before, during and after your treatments. As melasma tends to get darker with humidity, we ask you to avoid humid conditions. Humid environments include saunas, hot yoga, steam rooms, holidays to tropical locations. It would also be wise to avoid allowing your bathroom to steam up during your showers.
At City Laser Clinic, our experienced laser therapists will advise you based on your skin type and the nature of the treatments that you are receiving. Contact us to arrange your free laser consultation to discuss your needs with one of our trained and experienced laser therapists. We will develop a laser treatment plan that meets your needs & expectations.