Melasma, also known as hormonal pigmentation, is a considerable problem for South African women. It is a chronic skin condition that occurs on the face in the form of brown patches and is a dynamic (active) condition that needs lifelong management.
What causes Hormonal Pigmentation / Melasma?
- UVA rays are a stimulant for melanin (brown pigmentation) to develop on the skin, and unfortunately can even penetrate through car window glass.
- Any change in hormonal status with higher levels of estrogen is thought to trigger and aggravate the condition (i.e. birth control pills and pregnancy).Discontinuing the use of contraceptives rarely clears the pigmentation and it may last for many years after discontinuation.
- After pregnancy Melasma (chloasma) or pigmentation usually clears within a few months of delivery but may persist indefinitely
- However many women without these risk factors also develop melasma
- any activities that cause Intense heat to the face( from steam showers, hot closed environments, sitting on the beach even under cover and with full sun protection, etc causes inflammation which is a powerful stimulator of melanin
- It is more prevalent in darker-complexioned individuals though persons of any race can be affected due to the intense sun exposure in South Africa.
- Melasma is seen most frequently in young women but can be seen in men
How can one prevent Melasma from forming?
- Avoid sun exposure and wear a protective hat when outdoors for extended periods to further block these rays.
- Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30+ to block the UVA rays every day to help prevent melasma.
- In addition your sunscreen should also contain an anti oxidant as this stops free radicals which cause pigmentation.
- At least 5 mls of sunscreen should be applied daily to the face and neck twice a day to prevent melasma.
- Taking an oral anti oxidant supplement such as Ovelle or Heliocare daily is clinically proven to raise one's level of resistance to the sun and also helps to reduce the melanin content in the skin down the line.
- As melasma is a dynamic condition and needs to be managed daily and indefinitely, one day of unintentional sun burn can set you back.
What are the different types of Melasma? (This describes how deep the pigment is in the skin and how to treat it)
- Epidermal melasma is the most common form and is easily treated with a combination of superficial chemical peels, Limelight or Photo Genesis procedures
- If the melanin has leached into the dermis, this is known as dermal melasma .The deeper the pigment is and the more difficult it is to treat. Dermal melasma is not treated with superficial peels and is best treated with mid dermal peels such as a Mela M or a Q switched laser which can penetrate into the dermis to reach the pigment.
- Mixed Epidermal-Dermal is a combination of the above and needs superficial and mid dermal chemical peels such as Lamelle Mela M
Exciting new developments in the treatment of Melasma
To date traditional cosmeceutical products as well as prescription medications try combating hyper-pigmentation with disappointing results or worse - cause hypersensitive skin, which in turn aggravates the pigmentation.
Newly launched is Lamelle's Luminesce, an advanced pigmentation program which addresses hyper-pigmentation by reducing melanin at several points in its production, as opposed to just one point as with other treatments. This wider inhibitory effect is an industry first, positioning the Luminesce range as one of the most innovative.
How does Luminesce work?
- Luminesce uses groundbreaking peptide technology (Oligopeptide 34) for treating pigmentation and has recently added 3 new peptides to the program which offers excellent results in combating epidermal and post inflammatory hyper- pigmentation ( PIH).
- An added benefit is that the combination of peptides used in the range offers anti-ageing benefits to the skin as they stimulate collagen producing cells.
- Luminesce used twice daily for 8 weeks will reduce the appearance of age spots and is safe for use on all skin types unlike traditional skin lightening cosmeceutical products as well as prescription medications
- These traditional products try combating age spots with disappointing results or worse - cause hypersensitive skin, which in turn aggravates the pigmentation
- By adding the supplement Ovelle or Heliocare, the melasma will be reduced further by 37% within 4 to 6 weeks of use.