Melasma is a condition of excess pigment formation on the face; this brown discoloration is most commonly seen in women and often presents on the upper lip, forehead, and cheeks. It is thought that hormones and sun exposure both play a significant role in the development of melasma, but it is unclear exactly why some people develop melasma and others do not. Due to its hormonal link, melasma is most commonly seen in women who are taking oral contraceptive pills or women who are pregnant.
How is melasma treated?
The first-line treatment for most women with melasma is a “bleaching cream” called hydroquinone. Hydroquinone blocks an enzyme that plays a role in the development of excess pigmented cells in the skin. While hydroquinone can be an effective bleaching cream, melasma is often too deep in the skin for hydroquinone creams to yield improvement. Chemical peels can also be used in the treatment of melasma. Chemical peels help to break up the excess pigmentation in the skin and unveil normally pigmented skin. The most effective treatment option for melasma is fractional laser resurfacing with a laser called the Fraxel Laser. Recently, the Fraxel Laser was improved upon and the new Fraxel Dual version produces even more dramatic improvement of melasma.
What is the Fraxel Dual laser?
The Fraxel Dual laser combines a 1927nm treatment with a 1550nm laser treatment. The 1550nm laser treatment can improve pigmentation and improve the skin’s texture, while the 1927nm treatment is currently the most effective treatment for reducing pigmentation (including melasma and sun damage) on the skin. The 1927nm Fraxel laser sends microscopic columns of laser energy through the skin’s surface, which breaks up areas of excess pigmentation on the skin. Even one treatment with the Fraxel Dual laser for melasma can produce significant improvement in melasma.
What should I expect after a Fraxel Dual treatment for melasma?
For the first 24 hour following your melasma treatment, you may experience mild redness and swelling (similar to a sunburn.) During this time, and in the days to follow, it is safe to apply makeup to cover the redness. For a week or so following the Fraxel Dual treatment, it is normal to experience a ‘bronzed’ appearance of the skin. This will eventually flake off to reveal your fresh, healthier skin.
Where is Fraxel Dual for melasma performed?
The Fraxel Dual treatment for melasma is performed at Schweiger Dermatology, in midtown Manhattan and downtown near Union Square.