Can Melasma Be Removed?
Melasma is a skin condition causing hyperpigmentation in parts of the skin, resulting in an uneven skin tone. Melasma occurs most commonly in pregnant woman or those who are on birth control pills. It usually starts to show on the skin as tiny freckles and patches of dark spots. For some women, these symptoms of melasma disappear after their pregnancy or when they discontinue their birth control pills. However, for some, melasma continues to last for years. Therefore, some might opt for effective melasma treatments. However, one important aspect to note when seeking such treatments for melasma is that there is no complete cure for melasma.
What Are The Effective Treatments for Melasma in Singapore
For the effective treatment of melasma, topical skin lightening products are mostly used. Some of the ingredients to look out for in such products are hydroquinone, azelaic acid, kojic acid, niacinamide, cysteamine, rucinol and tranexamic acid. These ingredients are able to reduce the symptoms of melasma by decreasing the production of pigments, inflammation and extra blood vessels in the skin that are in charge of melasma. In most cases, patients are given a combination of treatments such as hydroquinone and retinoid to decrease skin inflammation while also increasing the shedding and replacing of skin cells (skin cell turnover).
However, since melasma is most common in pregnant women, pregnant women most of these ingredients. The only safer choice of ingredient to use during pregnancy for melasma is azelaic acid.
In addition to these topical treatments, most patients require oral medications to control the hyperpigmentation caused by melasma. Some examples of oral prescription medication include tranexamic acid. This medication targets the excess production of pigment and blood vessels than continue to cause melasma on the skin.
Chemical peels that make use of ingredients such as glycolic acid, alpha-hydroxy acids, and salicylic acid help to remove the outermost layer of skin that is responsible for the extra pigment in patients suffering from melasma. This encourages greater skin turnover rate and regenerates a new, healthier layer of skin. Although chemical peels are effective in treating melasma by removing discoloured skin, it does not prevent hyperpigmentation from occurring again in the future. Therefore, after the treatment, it is vital to follow a strict routine of protecting your skin from sun damage. Some examples of this are avoiding staying under direct sun for too long, covering affected areas to prevent exposure to the sun and constantly reapplying sunscreen, especially on affected areas.
There are various types of effective laser therapies that are being used as treatments for melasma. These treatments are usually only considered when topical and oral treatment do not work. Such laser treatments include:
Pico Laser therapy
Instead of turning energy into heat, the PicoSure laser turns energy into pressure. This pressure tackle the pigmentation of melasma in the skin layer and breaks it down. The body then naturally disposes of this broken-down pigmentation. As a result, this treatment works quickly and effectively to treat melasma.
Fractional Laser therapy
Fractional laser therapy works by making miniature holes in the outermost layer of skin that encourage the growth of healthier skin cells, similar to the PicoSure laser treatment. Along with a new skin cells, fractional resurfacing helps with the production of collagen in the skin.
Intense Pulsed Light laser therapy (more commonly known as IPL) makes use of lights of differing wavelengths to target hyperpigmentation on the skin caused by melasma. One issue many people face with IPL for melasma is that it might worsen melasma in certain skin tones. Another issue is that the heat produced by the light used in IPL can spread to the surrounding tissues, causing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Q-switch laser therapy
Q-switch laser therapy, which had been previously considered the best for tattoo removal, projects thin pulses of very concentrated light energy that penetrates deep into the skin, to help the removal of melasma. Even though the lasers are made to penetrate the outer layers of the skin, the procedure is very gentle of the face, making it an effective treatment for melasma.
Rejuvenation Laser uses a 3-pronged approach to achieve results for effective treatment of melasma using TRIBEAM Laser and PRO YELLOW Laser. The programme vaporises your pigmentation, allowing them to lighten, and reduce any redness.
Can Melasma Be Removed Completely?
Although these treatments can help to decrease hyperpigmentation, melasma cannot be completely cured or removed, unless it goes away on its own. For instance, for those experiencing melasma during pregnancy, there is a high chance melasma will disappear once the baby is born. This is because melasma is a chronic condition causing an overproduction of melanin on the skin.
Even after indulging in effective treatments for melasma, there is a chance for melasma to resurface as these treatments do not completely address the root cause of melasma – the overproduction of melanin.
How to Prevent Melasma From Forming?
Being a difficult skin problem to completely remove and avoid, here are some tips to prevent melasma from getting worse, especially after treatments:Sun protection
The ultraviolet rays from the sun triggers the formation of melasma, therefore, it is vital that your skin is protected from the sun at all times, even during cloudy days. This can be done by applying sunscreen of at least SPF 30 every 2 hours. In addition, tanning beds and sun lamps should be avoided as they inhibit any treatments for melasma from working properly.Fragrance-free skincare products
Skincare products that are fragrance-free tend to be more gentle on the skin. If you are using a product that burns your skin during application, it may worsen the areas of hyperpigmentation on your skin.Keep away from waxing
Waxing areas of the body that are affected by melasma could facilitate inflammation of the skin, worsening the symptoms of melasma. Thus, avoiding waxing and indulging in other types of hair removal would be a more appropriate option.
Foe personalise treatment prescription, fix an appointment with any of our clinics for a detailed consultation with our doctors.