Perhaps you’ve heard of melasma, also referred to as the ‘pregnancy mask’, the hormonally driven pigmentation that can come out of nowhere with a vengeance. It is characterized by light to dark brown splotches often appearing in a block formation and butterfly-like pattern, a mirror image on both sides of the face. For some it disappears on its own, and for others it requires some intervention! Due to changing hormones in the body, whether that be from pregnancy, the contraceptive pill, imbalances within the body or even stress, melasma can be an exasperating problem that requires more than just the conventional treatments to successfully reduce and keep at bay! This pigmentation can also worsen overtime if you are consistently exposed to the sun.

Where Should You Begin with Effectively Treating Melasma?

Before beginning skin treatments, the first place you should focus on is the skincare products used daily at home! The products you use everyday make incredible progress in your pigment-treating journey. Not only does it correctly prepare your skin for any skin treatment and ensure your skin is capable of fast recovery, the pigment-inhibiting properties of certain active ingredients and skincare formulations will assist in reducing pigment everyday. The best ingredients for treating melasma are Vitamin C, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Retinol (Vitamin A), a tyrosinase inhibitor and of course sunscreen!

Vitamin C – Decreases the production of melanin caused by environmental factors and/or hormonal changes, resulting in a more even skin tone as the brown spots (pigmentation) fade away.

Niacinamide (Vitamin B3) – Improves and treats hyperpigmentation, calms skin and cells for correct function and provides hydration to rebalance. A study with women using 5% niacinamide on half their face for pigmentation over 12 weeks saw significant improvements in pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles.

Retinol (Vitamin A) – Scientifically backed by its array of anti-ageing & collagen boosting properties, retinol also regulates your skin cell turnover as well as actively repairing damaged DNA within the skin to offer a reduction in any pigmentation, fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage, scarring and acne.

Tyrosinase Inhibitor – Tyrosinase is the enzyme that contributes to the pigment-creating process within the skin, a tyrosinase inhibitor stops melanin formation in the skin to give visible lightening benefits.

Sun protection – SPF daily is a must when treating pigmentation due to its protection capacity to repel harmful UV rays that cause pigment to be formed. If you aren’t going to wear SPF every day, unfortunately there’s no point in treating pigmentation with skin treatments. SPF is a non-negotiable!

What Treatments Are Best for Melasma?

There are still options for treatments to effectively reduce melasma. Unfortunately, laser is off the table. This due to their high-energy, which can exasperate melasma, leading to darker pigmentation! We choose to treat with either a series of cosmetic peels or the revolutionary Tixel 2 open channels.

Cosmetic peels, in particular lactic acid, have the capability to lighten pigmentation with a series of treatments. Lactic acid is an AHA exfoliant derived from milk. Its properties also assist in hydration, anti-ageing, acne and congestion. The ingredients of the peel work at a cellular level and require post care that will be discussed with you by your dermal therapist.

Another option for Melasma is the Tixel2, which uses thermal energy that is transferred to the skin by a hot titanium tip in a brief touch – no bleeding, no needles, and no pain! Tixel is suitable for all patients, any age group or skin type and is safe to be performed any time of the year. The tip creates ‘open channels’ which allows for enhanced absorption of topical products. Meaning, we can use pigment-banishing products a lot more effectively and deeply! For this treatment we require your skin to be adequately prepped with cosmeceutical grade skincare Vitamins A, B and C. There’s minimal downtime so you can back to living your life! See our clients before and after image to treat pigmentation after just 3 Tixel treatments!

Are you concerned that you have melasma, or even just some pigmentation? Our team at Cosmedispa can help you!

By Riley McDonald
Dermal Therapist