Laser Therapy for Melasma: What to Expect

When most people think of healthy skin, they picture an even tone with no unsightly marks, spots, or discolorations. But when you have melasma, you live with a constant swath of brownish-gray across your skin. It’s not a health hazard, but it can do some damage to your ego and your confidence.

Fortunately, we can whisk away the unwanted patch of color with advanced technology. Here at Holladay Dermatology & Aesthetics, Dr. Robert Topham uses noninvasive, painless laser energy to rid your face — or any other body part — of melasma.

Understanding melasma

Before we talk about laser therapy and the many benefits for your skin, it’s important to make sure you know what melasma is and why you have it.

When you have dark areas on your skin that aren’t caused by an injury, burn, suntan, or scar tissue, it’s likely melasma. Although the exact cause isn’t completely clear, there are some things we know about what triggers it. 

If you have dark skin, you’re more likely to get melasma because your pigment-producing cells are more active.

If you’re a woman, you have a higher chance of getting melasma, because the condition is sensitive to estrogen and progesterone fluctuations. We often see melasma show up when a woman starts or stops taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy. It’s also common in pregnant women, which is why it’s earned the nickname, the “mask of pregnancy.”

Sun exposure is another culprit that contributes to melasma, especially if you have dark skin. So not only is sunscreen critical, but avoiding too much sun exposure is also important if you have melasma.

Although men can get it, too, and it can pop up on your neck, chest, or arms, it’s most common on women’s faces.

Getting rid of melasma with laser therapy

Now that you have a good understanding of melasma, let’s take a look at how to get rid of it.

Depending on what’s causing your melasma, how severe it is, and how long you’ve had it, we offer different levels of treatment. Sometimes melasma resolves on its own, but other times it needs a little help from topical medications that interrupt the biological process causing the hyperpigmentation.

When you need next-level help, Dr. Topham turns to lasers. Again, depending on your unique symptoms, he uses different techniques. One reliable treatment is called PICO Genesis by Cutera®. It’s a nonthermal laser that obliterates clumps of pigmentation in your skin and marks the pieces for removal. 

Dr. Topham also trusts the enlighten™ laser by Cutera to treat your melasma and other skin pigmentation problems. Lasers have been helping to solve skin discolorations for years, but enlighten is different because it harnesses two technologies — thermal and mechanical. 

By offering a wide range of wavelengths and precise pulse durations (picoseconds) that target hyperpigmentation deep under the skin, enlighten is far more effective than its more limited predecessors.

Dr. Topham delivers the high-peak power of enlighten energy using a small handheld device he hovers over your melasma patch. The short pulses penetrate your outer layers of skin and zero in on hyperpigmented cells, breaking them up into micro particles that your body flushes away. 

You can expect to feel a slight snapping sensation against your skin during either the enlighten or PICO Genesis treatment, and it may take a few treatments to get full results. But you can rest assured that both are 100% safe for your skin.

When you're ready to get rid of your melasma once and for all, contact us at our office in Holladay, Utah, to set up a consultation with Dr. Topham, and you can face 2021 without melasma.

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