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Melasma: Diagnosis, Types, Prevention, and Treatment

Posted By: Lic. Silvia Derasner | November 29th, 2021 | Uncategorized

Melasma is a very common type of hyperpigmentation in the skin that manifests itself in the form of brown or gray patches of discolouration on the skin. Typically, it appears on the face, but it can develop anywhere throughout the body. Although the underlying cause of Melasma is still unknown, scientists have been able to pinpoint a few common triggers and symptoms.


The good news is that Melasma isn’t a serious condition and there are plenty of effective treatment and removal options available. If you notice spots or patches of discolouration on your skin, then speak to a skincare specialist in Toronto immediately.


How Is Melasma Diagnosed?


Melasma is typically diagnosed with a simple visual examination of the skin performed by a dermatologist or other skincare specialist. Since Melasma can sometimes be a symptom of other health conditions, though, your dermatologist may want to take a small skin sample to perform a biopsy to rule out other issues during the diagnosis process. In some cases, a Wood’s light may also be used to take a closer look at your skin.


What Are the Different Types of Melasma?


There are three different types of Melasma, each of which is characterized by the depth of the condition on the skin. Dermatologists and doctors typically used a Wood’s light, which is a black light that allows them to see deeper into your skin’s pores, to determine the type of Melasma you have and recommend the most effective and appropriate treatment options.


Epidermal Melasma


As the name suggests, epidermal Melasma consists of dark brown pigmentation spots that appear on the epidermis (top superficial layers of the skin). Epidermal Melasma is characterized by its distinctive dark borders, but it’s fairly easy to remove and responds very well to minor treatment such as microdermabrasion or a chemical peel.


Dermal Melasma


Dermal Melasma goes slightly deeper in the skin than its predecessor and is characterized by a light bluish appearance. The border of the mark is less distinctively defined. Unfortunately, because dermal Melasma runs deeper than epidermal Melasma, it’s a lot harder to treat and remove.


Mixed Melasma


Mixed Melasma is a combination of epidermal and dermal Melasma. You’ll notice distinctive bluish and brown discolouration throughout the skin, namely on the face and other parts of the body that get the most sun exposure. It responds moderately well to Melasma removal treatment.


How to Prevent Melasma Development?


Melasma can be caused by a number of different factors. It could be genetic, hormonal, or even environmental. Unfortunately, you have no control over genetic or hormonal Melasma, which usually develops during pregnancy. The one upside of hormonal Melasma is that it can be treated. And, in some cases, Melasma that develops during pregnancy usually goes away on its own.


When it comes to environmental factors that cause Melasma, the best form of defense is a good offense. There are a few steps you can take to protect your skin and prevent hyperpigmentation caused by too much sun exposure.


Daily Sunscreen Use


Applying sunscreen everyday protects your skin from the harmful effects of UV rays that can cause discolouration and uneven melanin in the skin. Moreover, it can also prevent certain types of skin cancer. Even in the winter months when the sun doesn’t shine as bright as it does in the summer and you spend less time outdoors, you should still use a moisturizer with a minimum of SPF 15 to protect the portions of your skin that aren’t covered by clothing.


Wear Protective Clothing and Accessories


If you’re planning on spending a significant amount of time outdoors, then you should double up on the skin protection methods. Wear light and airy protective clothing that covers your skin to minimize sun exposure and prevent dark patches or discolouration from appearing on your skin. You should also protect your eyes with sunglasses and wear a hat to protect your scalp.


Far too often, people overlook the importance of scalp and eye protection because they assume that their hair and eyelids sufficiently cover these areas, but that’s not the case. Even if you’re indoors and in an area with a lot of natural lighting, you could still be susceptible to some form of Melasma development, especially if you have sensitive skin.


Practice a Gentle Daily Skincare Routine 


The better you take care of your skin, the more it shows. Avoid using rough facial scrubs or washcloths as these won’t do anything to remove discolouration and will only irritate your skin, causing further redness and discolouration. Practice a gentle daily skincare routine using a mild cleanser. Use a moisturizer that has a minimum SPF 15 in the winter and increase it to at least SPF 30 in the summer months for ultimate skin protection.


Melasma Removal Treatment


There are also several highly effective and affordable Melasma removal treatments that you can try if all else fails.


Microdermabrasion


Microdermabrasion is a minimally invasive and painless cosmetic procedure that involves very gently scraping off the top layers of skin (the epidermis). Once these layers of skin are removed, the body quickly starts to regenerate healthy skin cells to replace them. This results in a smoother, more even skin tone over time. Microdermabrasion most effectively treats epidermal Melasma, but it can also be used for dermal and mixed Melasma as well.


Chemical Peel


Chemical peels are similar to microdermabrasion in the sense that the objective is to remove the top layers of skin. The main difference is that instead of using a scraping device, your skincare specialist in Toronto applies skin-safe chemicals that consist of retinoids, alpha-hydroxy acids, beta-hydroxy acids, trichloroacetic acid, and phenol. These chemicals peel off the top layers of skin, which promotes the regeneration of healthy skin cells to remove dark patches, scarring, and other blemishes.


Laser Treatments


here are two types of Melasma laser removal in Toronto:


  • Spectra Peel, which consists of using light therapy to remove the top layers of skin and promote healthy skin cell regeneration, resulting a smoother and more even skin tone.

  • Laser toning, which involves using a gentle light therapy to penetrate deep into the skin to break down dark spots and colour pigments.

Get Effective and Long-Lasting Melasma Removal Treatment at a Skincare Clinic in Toronto


The Anti Aging Toronto Clinic specializes in performing a variety of Melasma removal treatments including microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and laser procedures. Contact us today to book a free consultation!


With an MBA in computer science, Silvia started out in the IT field with proven success working on strategic initiatives with executive leaders to align an organization’s culture, capabilities, and structure, with business strategies. This career has lead her to a business path founding the Anti Aging Toronto Clinic in 2012. Silvia now holds a diploma in medical esthetics with interests in anti-aging skincare, evening out skin tone and texture, scalp hair regrowth, body contouring and laser hair removal treatments. Silvia believes in the importance of building open, trusting relationships with her clients and prides herself on excellent customer service. Whether it’s developing the business or awarding her clients with significant results, Silvia is committed to offering only the best. Silvia is the finance director and a medical esthetician at Anti Aging Toronto Clinic. She is fluent in both English and Spanish.

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