By Dr. Kaycee Reyes
Face it, the good thing about makeup is that it can enhance one’s features while hiding the impurities to show off flawless, filter-free skin. But then again, makeup can only do so much, and no matter how hard you try to cover up, no amount of makeup can hide bad skin. This goes for those with acne, skin redness, dark under eye-circles, and melasma. While most of these are treatable, melasma is not. It is a lifelong skin condition that may only worsen without proper management. Is there hope for individuals with melasma?
Melasma is derived from the Greek word melas that means black. It is a common and recurring skin condition that appears on frequently sun-exposed areas of the face such as the cheeks, jawline, nose, upper lips, forehead, and also on other parts of the body such as the neck and forearms. Discoloration forms in differently sized and colored patches of skin from light brown to black. This discoloration is brought by the overproduction of pigment-producing melanocytes depending on certain triggers, such as sun exposure, birth control pills, cosmetics, hormonal changes, medications (ex. Cancer treatments), and other illnesses (ex. thyroid problem). Sometimes even genetics may contribute to its appearance. It is more common among females, and most prevalent among individuals with brown or dark skin, or those living in areas with continuous sun exposure, such as those with Asian, Latin or Hispanic, Mediterranean, North African, African-American, Indian, and Middle Eastern descent.
Since melasma is a lifelong condition, some patients have had lower self-esteem and are more self-conscious about themselves. Up until recently, dermatologists have always prescribed topical skin lightening creams to manage this skin condition, such as hydroquinone, tretinoin, TCA, and alpha hydroxy acid peels, among a few. Lasers such as IPL (intense pulse light) and NDYAG also help with melasma. These, however, would only cause selective destruction of melanin in skin cells (keratinocytes) and pigment cells (melanocytes) without considering the other pathogenesis of melasma. The good news is that now, there is a much more effective treatment for melasma. According to new studies, melasma skin shows an increase in the number and size of dermal blood vessels, suggesting that the redness or erythema is part of the pathogenesis of melasma. Also, human melanocytes (human skin cells containing pigments) express functional vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptors, which could influence pigment formation in melanocytes. With this, copper bromide laser is ideal to target both vessels and pigment, the main organelles that need to be targeted in melasma patients. Solid state copper bromide is heated transforming into a vapor, which then excite photons to produce two wavelengths: a.) 511 mm (green) wavelength for the treatment of pigmented lesion; and b.) 578 mm (yellow) wavelength for the treatment of vascular lesion.
Both wavelengths are always present in the laser but one may be filtered out if a single wavelength is desired. Studies show that copper bromide laser reduced both the size and number of vessels, resulting also to decreased pigmentation in the melasma lesion. VEGF expression was also decreased in the laser-treated area of the melasma skin. From this, the studies concluded that reduction of vascularity and VEGF expression contribute to the improvement of melasma. So targeting not only the pigment cells but also the vessels would be beneficial in managing the condition. What’s more, it is FDA (Federal Drug Administration), CE, and TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration) approved, making it an ideal treatment option for most, if not all, melasma patients! Not only that, did you know that it can also treat other skin concerns too, such as dark under eye circles, skin redness, wrinkles, warts, rosacea, angiomas, stretch marks, other vascular and pigmented lesions, and yes, including acne? Now that’s a powerful laser, indeed!
Who says you still have to hide your skin? The copper bromide laser is the ultimate solution for melasma and your other skin issues. Truly, the future has arrived with the Copper Bromide Laser. Don’t let anything stop you and live life to the fullest, starting today.