The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Fraxel DUAL for melasma treatment in June 2013. While dermatologist previously treated melasma with the Fraxel laser, the new approval further proves the efficacy in the treatment of this skin pigmentation issue.
Melasma is a type of hyperpigmentation of the skin that appears as brown splotches on the face. While no one knows the exact cause of melasma, it is usually linked to sun damage and pregnancy. Potential triggers for melasma include:
- Genetic predisposition
- Certain medications
- Excessive ultraviolet (UV) light exposure
- Birth control pills
- Hormone replacement therapy
Melasma appears as dark spin blotches on the skin due to increased melanin production. Melasma also typically coincides with hormonal fluctuations, particularly progesterone and estrogen. UV light exposure is also linked to melanin production since it acts a natural sunscreen to skin in the form of a tan. UV light exposure results in the loss of electrons to free radicals due to oxidation in lipids within the cell membrane. To counteract the process, melanocytes trigger melanin production. Those with olive or darker skin tones also have higher chances of developing melasma.
PREVENTION AND MELASMA TREATMENT
You should wear sunscreen SPF 30 or higher everyday, especially on the face. Sunscreen lessens the affects of UVA and UVB light rays from triggering melanin production. You should apply it 20 minutes before sun exposure and every two hours if you are swimming, sweating excessively or in the direct sun for extended periods.
If you are already experience moderate to severe melasma, a board-certified dermatologist will reveal your treatment options. Melasma treatment options include chemical peels, microdermabrasion, Fraxel DUAL, Q-switched Nd-YAG and Ruby Lasers. Two most common solutions are topical solutions and laser procedures.
- Hydroquinone: available in 2 and 4 percent formulations
- Fraxel DUAL
- Lutronic Spectra
Melasma requires specific wavelengths in a laser melasma treatment. Both lasers eradicate extra melanin within organelles.
Fraxel DUAL is a non-ablative laser treatment that addresses mild to moderate acne scars, photodamage, surgical scars and mild to moderate periorbital wrinkles. Laser melasma treatment with Fraxel DUAL offers two laser strengths to stimulate collagen and refine skin.
The 1,550-nanometer nanamter Erbium fiber laser penetrates deeper to address hyperpigmentation and more difficult scarring issues. The 1,927-nanometer Thulium fiber laser is more superficial and can be used on the entire body. The DUAL is suitable for all skin tones.
If you are currently suffering from the appearance of melasma, schedule a free consultation with Dr. Sunasi Umar. Dr. Umar has helped thousands of Los Angeles residents achieve radiant, beautiful skin at FineTouch Dermatology. He can tell you the best course of action for your skin.