WE ALL KNOW the sunlight is a risk factor for the development of melasma.
However, sometimes it’s not easy for us to avoid or stay out of the blazing sun during the hottest days of April. So if you do notice blotchy dark patches on your upper cheeks, it’s not the end of the world. It’s treatable!
Conventional melasma treatment uses topical cream containing lightening agents that help reduce or block pigment production and speed up your body’s natural cell turnover process. This will help to fade existing dark patches over a period of time. Avoiding UV and visible light as well as other risk factors are an essential part of the treatment to prevent flare-ups and exacerbation of melasma. Oral medication and procedures including chemical peels and lasers are also often used as adjunctive treatment.
If patients want to get rid of the melasma quicker, laser treatment can jumpstart results. It has been shown to effectively break down melanin without severe side effects. However, particularly in individuals with dark skin colour like Thais, there is a possible risk of post-inflammatory pigmentation. The good news is that this complication can be minimized by the latest generation of laser, the Nu Pico Laser.
The Nu Pico Laser is an advance in laser therapy that minimises damage to surrounding tissue and reduces post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation as well. It does this by delivering the energy rapidly in picoseconds, faster than the conventional laser that generates energy with pulse widths at the nanosecond range. The Nu Pico Laser then converts to pressure instead of heat. This pressure scatters the pigment, which gets easily flushed by the body. A study published in the Prime Journal in June 2018 states that patients reported high levels of satisfaction and improvement in both pigmentation and skin quality. Typically, no topical anesthetic is required, as treatments are not particularly painful unless the patients have a very low pain threshold. The patients did not experience any side effects other than transient erythema. At the four-week follow up, according to the treating dermatologist, there was a 50-per-cent reduction in the level of pigmentation, as well as global improvement of skin quality. And at the six-week follow up, there was evident clearance of both the pigment as well as improvement of the skin tone. The researcher concluded that the extremely narrow pulse width of picosecond lasers minimises adverse dyspigmentation and confers a distinct advantage over traditional laser device.
I am not saying the latest laser, the Nu Pico, is the best. However it is effective in clinical procedures and you usually see very visible improvement in your melasma in a shorter period. Thus, if you are suffering from melasma or other pigmentation problems, please remember that successfully treating melasma requires the expertise and experience of the dermatologist who incorporates laser treatment with the main therapeutic approach.
THANISORN |THAMLIKITKUL MD is a member of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery and certified in dermatological laser surgery. Send your questions for her to firstname.lastname@example.org