Skin: no more spots!
Il melasma è un disturbo estetico della pelle piuttosto comune che interessa quasi esclusivamente le donne e si caratterizza per la comparsa sul viso di macchie di colore scuro, sulle tonalità del marrone. Le macchie sono il risultato di una sovrapproduzione di melanina.
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Melasma tends to appear mainly on the cheeks, upper lip, nose, forehead. Why the spots appear is not clear – it’s probably due to hormonal causes, and this would also explain the frequency of melasma in pregnant women. This disorder is in fact also known as the “pregnancy mask”. Other factors also play an important role including: genetic predisposition, stress and the use of photosensitizing drugs, or the birth control pill.
These spots are due to the excessive production of melanin. It’s the pigment which protects the skin from the ultraviolet rays of the sun, in addition to giving your skin a typical tan color. This is why the spots darken with the stimulation from the sun’s rays.
Lightening agents: substances that reduce the accumulation of melanin. These include vitamin C, azelaic acid, arbutin (obtained from grapes and other plants) and licorice root extract. These agents are often associated with an exfoliation with some acids that can carry away the dark cells in which melanin has accumulated. Usually glycolic acid or mandelic acid is used, and the latter appears particularly effective. More than exfoliation, we talk about peeling because these acids take away numerous layers of the epidermis. The strategy is not entirely free from side effects if poorly executed. These acids destroy the upper part of the skin, where melanin with its unpleasant black color accumulates. But, at the same time, they deprive the skin of its natural defense against ultraviolet rays. Precisely for this reason it’s absolutely necessary not to apply these substances in the summer. Never expose yourself to the sun during these treatments.
Pulsed Light and Q-Switched: both technologies are based on the principle of selective photothermolysis. The laser hits the spot in order to spare the surrounding tissues and destroys the melanic pigment without leaving scars on the affected area. The Pulsed Light (IPL) and the Q-Switched laser emit high energy pulses and are able to remove the melanin granules in one or more sessions. Immediately after treatment, the lesion darkens to black and tends to gradually disappear.
Fraxel Laser: the Fraxel system, according to a study by Harvard Medical School, works as an “elevator that transports the pigment residing in the basal layer to the surface of the skin from where it is then expelled”. The treatment develops microthermal columns (MTZ) with depths that can be selected by the operator, acting on a fraction of the tissues equal to about 20% of the surface at a time (hence the name of the “fractional” laser treatment). The advantage of the Fraxel laser consists in not acting directly on the pigment – avoiding numerous side effects and allowing us to even treat patients with a dark phototype. The Fraxel laser has long since obtained FDA approval for the treatment of melasma.
Here we can see the results obtained with the Fraxel laser:
At the SOTHERGA clinic, it’s possible to treat melasma with all the methods mentioned above. During the pre-treatment visit, the doctor will decide the most suitable treatment for your skin.