Laser Toning for Melasma Hyperpigmentary disorders, especially melasma and post-inflammatory hyper pigmentation (PIH), cause significant social and emotional stress. Management remains a challenge due to the recurrent and refractory nature of these conditions.
Traditionally, the mainstay of treatment has been prescription strength skin lighteners. Attempts to treat melasma with lasers and other light sources that target melanin have frequently resulted in irritation, post-inflammatory pigmentation and, occasionally, worsening of the melasma, especially in Asians.
However, with advances in laser technology, treatment options have expanded, especially for melasma more deeply seated in the skin. Choosing the appropriate laser and the correct settings are crucial to successful treatment of melasma.
Laser toning offers a useful new option for melasma treatment. The Spectra laser is the only laser approved by the FDA for the treatment of melasma. The Spectra enlists the proven potential of well established laser technologies, such as those used to remove tattoos and for laser hair removal. Unlike other lasers, it delivers its energy via a pulse that distributes energy evenly and uniformly, as below, rather than in peaks and troughs, for predictable results without significant risk of adverse skin reactions.
The Spectra pulse selectively shatters the melanin molecules, rendering them accessible to elimination by the immune system, whilst at the same time minimising thermal (heat) diffusion into the surrounding skin. In contrast, most other lasers create heat in the skin surrounding their target that increases the risk of stimulating new pigment production and of making melasma worse.
Laser toning’s innovation is in the way it delivers laser energy to the skin – its gentle and gradual, rather than explosive. As well, it targets melanin at both the deep and superficial levels, making it ideal for treating both dermal and epidermal melasma.
What does Laser Toning involve?
First we clean your skin to remove all makeup and sun screen.
Secondly, we will apply laser light of a specific wavelength and pulse shape. You will hear a snapping sound when the laser is fired and may feel a slight tingling or warmth, but no discomfort. Because treatment is intended to be gentle, 2-3 passes over the areas affected by melasma may be required to reach an effective endpoint, at which your skin will look nothing more than slightly pink. (See below) This pinkness disappears within 10 minutes to an hour.
At the conclusion of treatment we will cleanse your skin with a gentle cleanser and apply skin lighteners and an SPF 50 sunscreen. Makeup can be worn immediately and all usual activities can be resumed.
How many treatments will I need?
Treating melasma is a gentle and gradual process. Results begin to appear after the first few sessions and accrue over a course of 5-10 treatments spaced at weekly intervals until the melasma is controlled.
You must wear an SPF 50 sunscreen on a daily, lifelong, basis and avoid direct sun exposure wherever possible. Sun exposure will limit the effectiveness of your treatment.
It is important to allow adequate time for results to occur. Melasma treatment is a gradual process that requires 5-10 sessions to produce effective, long lasting results.
Is there any downtime?
Are there any risks?
No. You may experience some dryness for a few days after your treatment. This can be managed with additional applications of moisturiser.
Is laser toning painful?
Laser toning is a gentle, comfortable and non-ablative procedure that requires neither pain relief nor downtime.
What are the costs?
Current special $150. Usually $200 per treatment. Packages available.
How long do results last?
Melasma can be controlled but not cured. Results are long lasting with appropriate lifestyle choices, active skin care, daily sun avoidance and maintenance laser treatments as required.