Melasma & Hyperpigmentation: Can It Be Treated?
By: Angelica Jackson, MPAS PA-C, Halcyon Med Spa
At this point in summer, when despite best efforts, we’ve gotten more sun than we intended, many people in south Texas may begin to notice dark, uneven spots on their face. This may be due to a common condition known as melasma.
Melasma is usually seen on the cheeks, upper lip, and forehead. It is characterized as uneven patch-like areas. This happens when melanocytes, which produce pigment, overreact to sun exposure and produce so much extra pigment that you can see patches on your face. Hormonal imbalances reacting to the sun are the main causes. Many women develop melasma while on a birth control pill or while pregnant. Melasma is so common while pregnant, that it’s called the pregnant mask.
This is a very difficult condition to treat so you want to prevent the areas from darkening by using sunblock. The best sunblock is one which contains both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These are physical barriers that prevent UV radiation from damaging the skin. Look at the active ingredients of what you are currently using and you might be surprised to see that they rely on chemicals and don’t contain these superior physical sunblocks. Elta MD has introduced a new physical sunblock that not only delivers 10% zinc oxide and 5.5% titanium dioxide to block sun damage, it also contains hyaluronic acid to plump fine lines, and vitamin C and E for antioxidants. This all in one, medical-grade sunblock would replace your moisturizer and should be worn everyday. To improve your sun protection, look for mineral makeup from brands like Jane Iredale, a medical grade line of products with infused zinc and titanium. Jane also carries a SPF powder with 17% titanium dioxide so you can blot and protect your sensitive skin on the go.
But once the damage is done and you are seeing melasma, there are few effective treatments for this frustrating condition. Fortunately for Corpus Christi, Halcyon Med Spa has invested in the Enlighten laser by Cutera. Our clients no longer have to travel to larger cities to get access to innovative procedures that weren’t previously available to our area. The Enlighten laser uses Pico technology to shatter pigment cells and provide clearance. This 2-in-1 laser destroys pigment and also provides skin rejuvenation.
Another option is the popular HydraFacial, when combined with custom formulations for your skin type from ZO Skin Health. The Brightalive serum is a medical grade product designed to lighten areas of hyperpigmentation. During the treatment, exfoliation, extractions, a peel and more, all help the serum to penetrate and lighten problem areas. Besides the restorative benefits of the procedure, clients can take home the remaining Brightalive serum to continue to improve the results at home.
For more information on treatments to reduce pigmentation and treatments such as chemicals peels it is always best to schedule a consult for a customized approach. Halcyon Med Spa offers free consultations that allow you to explore your options without a financial commitment. For more information on effective sunblocks, mineral makeup and the newest lasers and procedures, visit us in person or online at halcyonmedspa.com.
Angelica Jackson is a Board Certified Trained Physician Assistant, who was trained in Dermatology and specializes in Aesthetic Medicine. She completed her Bachelor’s of Science from Azusa Pacific University and earned her Physician Assistant Sciences from St. Francis University.