Before And After Melasma Treatment
As the top provider of Melasma removal in Toronto, the Anti Aging Toronto Clinic provides painless services for removing these unsightly blemishes and restoring your confidence. Since this skin condition typically develops over time, we recommend you take quick action to treating it. Our Melasma removal treatment will get rid of all traces of Melasma, but we also recommend covering up and wearing sunscreen outdoors for additional protection.
What Is Melasma?
Melasma is a skin condition usually seen in women and is characterized by darker patches of skin. These patches often appear on the cheeks, upper lip, chin, and forehead and are generally the result of hormonal changes, such as pregnancy. Commonly called the “pregnancy mask”, in most cases Melasma disappears after delivery. However, in a small percentage, the condition remains on the face. Melasma is also common in pre-menopausal women. Women with a light brown skin type who are living in regions with intense sun exposure are particularly susceptible to developing this condition.
Melasma Symptoms & Types
Melasma does not typically come with any uncomfortable or painful symptoms. The condition is entirely cosmetic, and it only affects the appearance of the skin. It is not associated with skin cancer (melanoma) although any unusual developments of skin ailments should be checked out by a health professional or dermatologist. The symptoms of Melasma include dark, irregular, or distinguished patches on the skin, which appear gradually over time. Since this condition affects skin, especially on the face, many women become frustrated and embarrassed about the appearance of skin. Although this is not directly caused by Melasma, the fear of interacting with others and self-conscious association with the skin condition can lead to minor negative psychological effects.
There are four types of Melasma:
- Epidermal (upper layers of the skin)
- Dermal (layer of skin underneath the epidermis)
- A fourth unnamed type, more often found in patients with darker skin tones
What Causes Melasma?
Your skin consists of melanin, which is a group of natural pigments found in your skin cells. Melanin is the substance that provides colour for your hair, eyes, and skin. Overproduction of melanin is what leads to Melasma or dark patches on the skin that can sometimes resemble bruising.
Melasma is a form of hyperpigmentation on the skin. It’s essentially a symptom of a number of different conditions and therefore, it doesn’t have a singular cause. The following factors can contribute to the development of Melasma:
- Sudden hormonal changes caused by pregnancy, stress, medications, menopause, hormone therapy, or birth control
- Overexposure to the sun, which sends melanin production in the skin cells into overdrive
- Thyroid disease,
- Certain skin-irritating cosmetics
- Addison’s disease (a condition in which the body’s natural hormone production is depleted)
Unprotected overexposure to the sun, particularly UV rays, and intense pulsed light (IPL) treatments can both trigger and exacerbate Melasma as a symptom of the abovementioned conditions and environmental factors. IPL is meant to improve the appearance of the skin by treating and reducing hyperpigmentation and sun damage. However, it’s not an effective treatment option for Melasma and can often worsen the condition by making the patches of skin even darker. To effectively treat sun damage on your skin, consult a licensed skincare specialist in Toronto.
Melasma Treatment That Works
Some women have found that their Melasma disappears on its own, especially when the cause was attributed to hormonal changes from birth control pills and pregnancy. In cases where the condition is not clearing up on its own, there are solutions for effective treatment.
At the Anti Aging Toronto Clinic, our skincare experts specialize in laser Melasma treatment that results in a more even skin tone. Melasma treatment is non-invasive and elicits noticeable results almost immediately. The treatment is done over the course of about 10 weeks (it could be less or more depending on the severity of your condition) with two different procedures being performed on alternating weeks. For optimal results, the first week consists of Laser Spectra Peel and the second week consists of Laser Toning treatment. Combining these two treatments to work together effectively eliminates or greatly reduces the appearance of Melasma and results in a smooth and even skin tone. Benefits include:
- No recovery or downtime – you can immediately resume regular activities
- Fast noticeable and long-term results on the dermis and epidermis
- Non-invasive and pain-free procedure
- Works well and is safe for most skin types
The Laser Spectra Peel gently removes the top layer of skin (epidermis) to encourage new, healthy skin cells to grow, so that your skin looks younger and fresher. It effectively treats Melasma spots, UV damage, sun spots, freckles, acne scars, and other uneven skin issues. It’s like having four chemical peels in one—except with minimal pain and less complications. The Laser Spectra Peel is also more affordable than other treatments and takes less than two hours to perform.
Laser toning is a minimally invasive, effective, and safe procedure that involves the use of laser energy to penetrate several layers of skin tissue and break up the colour pigments to even out the skin tone, resulting in a smooth and clear complexion. This procedure is used to treat a range of cosmetic conditions including signs of aging (wrinkles, fine lines), acne scars, sun spots, dark spots, and even injury scars. Disturbing the melanin in skin cells automatically sends the body into repair mode. Damaged or dead skin cells are removed and replaced with new cells, resulting in a more rejuvenated and even skin tone. These sessions take about 15 minutes.
What to Expect During the Treatment
The Laser Spectra Peel procedure usually takes about two hours depending on the location and severity of your Melasma, and includes the following steps:
- Cleansing and toning of your face
- Application of a light layer of Spectra Lotion to your skin, this lotion has a carbon base, so your skin will appear muddy
- Warming up of the carbon-based lotion under a steamer
- Application of laser energy to your skin; you will hear a slight snapping sound when the laser is fired, and you may feel a tingling or warmth sensation
- Multiple passes with the laser at different setting are required during each treatment
- Your face will be then cool down with the most appropriate method, such as cold towel or gel mask
- Application of antibacterial and moisturizers as required
- Finally, the application of sunscreen lotion
As a result of this treatment combo, you will achieve glowing, youthful skin; improved tone; a smoother feeling; improved complexion as scars are removed; and tighter, less visible pores; in addition to removing Melasma from your face.
FAQs about Melasma
1. Is Melasma common?
Many women deal with Melasma at some point in their lives. Although it is not a women-only condition, it has been known to affect pregnant women, women on birth control, and women of a darker skin tone.
2. How do I know if I have Melasma?
If you notice darker patches of skin across your cheek, nose, forehead, or upper lip and have recently been experiencing hormonal changes or high levels of stress, you may have Melasma.
3. Is Melasma considered cancer?
It is important to note that Melasma is not associated with skin cancer. It is not a serious issue to your health, but it can get worse in terms of it’s cosmetic appearance. If you are unsure if you have Melasma, speak with your health professional or dermatologist to get a more confirmed diagnosis.
4. Can Melasma be caused by stress?
High levels of stress can send hormones skyrocketing, and this is why stress is a possible cause of Melasma.
5. Can Melasma be treated with a laser?
Yes, our Spectra Peel Laser treatment has proven to bring our clients long-term relief from their Melasma.
6. Is Melasma hereditary?
Although a genetic predisposition of Melasma does not guarantee you will suffer from the skin condition, it does increase your chances.
7. Is Melasma the same as hyperpigmentation?
Yes. Hyperpigmentation is the primary sign of Melasma.
8. Can Mirena (IUD) cause Melasma?
Birth control changes the hormones in a woman’s body and sometimes it causes instabilities that lead to mood swings, skin problems like Melasma, and more. However, some women have found that birth control stabilizes their hormonal changes. Some women who have used the IUD (intrauterine device) reported that it has improved their Melasma since it only distributes hormones to the targeted area, rather than the entire body. Mirena, a brand of IUDs, may not directly cause or cure Melasma, but each woman responds differently to hormonal changes, even in the form of birth control.