Melasma is described as a vague brown-grey patch of pigmentation usually on both cheeks. It appears mostly in women in their early to mid thirties, especially after child-birth or prolonged use of contraceptive pills. In addition, sunlight exposure, stress and lack of sleep are known aggravating factors. Melasma remains a very difficult condition to treat. Thankfully, there have been a few more options in the past three years that effectively addresses this common condition.
Creams and laser treatment
The traditional approach to treat melasma has always been with the use of bleaching or lightening agents such as Triluma, Kligman, hydroquinone 4% creams. They all contain certain lightening agents that have been shown to suppress melanin production that leads to melasma. Some melasma conditions will also respond very well to depigmentation lasers, such as the Medlite C6 laser. The problem with using a laser is that sometimes, there may be a rebound phenomenon whereby the pigments actually get worse. Thankfully, this is rare in the hands of an experienced doctor who understands the laser and the patient’s skin well.
Recently, the introduction of Cosmelan Peel in clinics have led to a great progress in the treatment of melasma. Painless, easy and effective. This is the feedback we gather from our patients. The Cosmelan peel involves two main steps: in the clinic and at home. In the doctor’s office, you will first undergo a thorough evaluation for suitability and explanation of the treatment, before we proceed with cleansing of the face with a special solution to remove residual make-up, dirt and oil. This is followed by application of the Cosmelan 1 on the entire face. You will go home with this mask, which is peanut-butter in colour. The mask is left on for the next six to eight hours, as directed by the doctor in charge. Thereafter, the mask is washed off with water and a mild cleanser.
The next phase would be to use the home care kit, comprising the Cosmelan 2 cream and the Hydra-vital Factor K. This is an equally important step to ensure a continued release of melanin suppressing agents in the skin. Please follow the instructions as given at the clinic.
It is normal to experience some redness and maybe mild peeling of the facial skin for the next three to five days. As the skin settles down, you will notice a more radiant, even skin tone. In time, the pigments will fade and lighten. It is advisable to continue the Cosmelan 2 and Hydra-vital Factor K for up to 6 months for optimal results. So make sure you return to your doctor’s office to replenish your supplies regularly.
The use of sunscreen is also very important to achieve and maintain fair, blemish free skin.
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