Skip to main content
Laser Treatment of Melasma
Melasma (Hypermelanosis)
Melasma (Hypermelanosis)
Melasma in the typical butterfly form in women - on the nose and cheeks, and additionally above the upper lip.

Melasma is an acquired hyperpigmentation (hypermelanosis) of sun-exposed areas of the skin. 

Melasma presents itself as symmetrically distributed hyperpigmented confluent or punctate macules.

Melasma usually occurs in skin areas that receive excessive sun exposure, such as the cheeks, areas below the eyes, nose, moustache area, chin and forehead. Melasma can also occur in other sun-exposed areas of the skin. 

Chloasma is a term that is used to describe melasma during pregnancy. Chloasma comes from a Greek word "Chloazein" that means "green". Melasma also comes from a Greek word "Melas" meaning "black". So, as pigmentations are never green in appearance, melasma is the preferred term for indicating hyperpigmentation (hypermelanosis).

Factors Involved In The Development Of Melasma
The sun factor and the hormonal factor are the two most important factors determining the development of melasma
Factors Involved In The Development Of Melasma

A direct relationship of the development of melasma with female hormonal activity do exist. 

Melasma occurs more frequently in women than in men. 

Melasma commonly develops or worsens during pregnancy, and with the ise of oral contraceptive pills. 

50% of melasma cases occur initially during pregnancy. 

Additionally, the expression of oestrogen receptors appears to be up-regulated in melasma lesions. 

Whether melasma has started during pregnancy or later, it becomes obvious when women reach the age of 40 years, generally before the onset of menopause, i.e. in the pre-menopause period. And if left untreated at the age of 40-45 years, melasma gets darker and spreads around, leaving quite a disfigured facial appearance.

Whether hormone levels play a role in male melasma development still needs a lot of research to be carried out.

Other factors involved in the development of melasma are:

  1. photosensitizing medications;
  2. ovarian dysfunction;
  3. thyroid dysfunction;
  4. certain cosmetics.

Apart from the hormonal factor, the other important factor in the development of melasma is exposure to sunlight. Ultraviolet (UV) solar radiation is known to increase melanin production in the skin and hence directly contribute to the development of melasma. Fibroblasts found in the dermal layer of the skin may also contribute to the development of melasma. 

An over-expression of the tyrosine kinase receptor c-kit and certain stem cell factors have been identified in melasma lesions and these are believed to increase the development of melanin (melanogenesis).  

So, two main factors are responsible for avoiding the failure of potentially successful treatments of melasma, namely:

  1. Hormonal dysfunctions/fluctuations
  2. Exposure to sunlight

So, apart from receiving treatments for melasma elimination, the patient should see to it that the treating doctor conducts examinations of her hormonal system and manages it further.

The patient should also take care to strictly avoid direct sun exposure, if she wants to achieve success in her treatment. 

Chemical Skin Peels (Chemical Exfoliations)

Exfoliation involves the removal of the oldest dead skin cells on the skin's outermost surface. Exfoliation is involved in the process of all facials, duringmicrodermabrasion or chemical peels at medical spas. Exfoliation can be achieved through mechanical or chemical means.

Chemical exfoliants include scrubs containing salicylic acidglycolic acidfruit enzymescitric acid, or malic acid which may be applied in high concentrations by a medical professional, or in lower concentrations in over-the-counter products. Chemical exfoliation may involve the use of products that contain alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), beta hydroxy acids (BHAs), or enzymes that act to loosen the glue-like substance that holds the cells together, allowing them to ease away.[5] This type of exfoliation is recommended for people treating acne.[8] In beauty spa treatment on continental Europe, the chemical properties of wine producing grapes are exploited in the practice of vinotherapy which is becoming increasingly popular.

Treatments Available For Melasma At Our Clinic
  1. Exfoliation (Chemical Peel)
  2. Microdermabrasion (Mechanical Peel)
  3. Laser-Assisted Microdermabrasion
  4. LED Photonic Therapy
  5. Carbon Laser Peel Procedure
  6. Nd YAG Laser Treatment
  7. Erbium Glass Laser Treatment
  8. Fractional Laser Treatment