People who suffer from melasma often attempt to treat their condition using a variety of skin ointments, particularly the type noted for its effect on limiting the production of melanin. Although they tend to be cheaper to the consumer, most of these topical creams and salves do very little to improve the overall texture and tone of the facial skin. Fractional laser resurfacing is a non-invasive, safe treatment that targets the outermost layer of skin and creates real, healthy improvement for melasma.
Fractional resurfacing uses a specialized laser instrument that creates microscopic holes below the uppermost dermal layers. This treatment is an outpatient procedure that stimulates new tissue growth as well as an increased amount of collagen production for continued improvement over time.
A Unique Treatment Approach
Laser treatment is not a new concept, but using an intense, specifically targeted laser beam to remove small sections of skin is just now becoming popular as a means to treat melasma. Melasma is characterized as the patterned darkening of the skin where overproduction of melanin creates brown or gray toning.
Although the exact cause of melasma is unknown, it is linked to genetic factors in combination with sun exposure, insufficient circulation of thyroid hormone, and certain medications. Women who have been pregnant are also susceptible to this condition. Laser resurfacing of the skin is one of the most effective treatments for melasma, and using a specialized carbon dioxide laser is now the preferred method of encouraging new skin growth.
What the Procedure Involves
Fractional laser skin resurfacing is a procedure that uses a heat beam to treat very small columns of skin. The laser safely and painlessly removes several layers of the skin, and the surrounding skin begins to produce new cells that eventually cover the treated areas. The result is a smoother surface with little to no scarring or scabbing.
When areas affected by melasma are treated with fractional resurfacing, the new skin cells tend to be free of the overabundance of melanin, and the patient often shows an improvement in skin tone as well as skin texture.
The laser is a wand-like instrument that directs a small beam into the skin. A local anesthetic is often all that is necessary for patient comfort during the treatment. After the laser resurfacing is complete, patients will have very sensitive facial skin. In most cases, a special ointment and bandages are used after the laser treatment, and the patient will need to keep these bandages on for one or two days. Recovery time is about one month, with most of the scabbing having disappeared after a week.
Benefits of Fractional Resurfacing
Fractional resurfacing is a one-time treatment. Unlike microdermabrasion, which involves the use of a wand tip covered in micro-sized granules of a hard mineral, laser resurfacing does not scrub away the surface skin. Instead, it causes small wounds that encourage new, healthier skin growth. The results are considered permanent, with many patients reporting no need to have a second procedure performed.
Fractional resurfacing not only results in a decreased amount of melanin production in the treated areas, it also helps get rid of wrinkles, age spots, and freckles. Acne scars are also often reduced when a laser resurfacing procedure is performed.
Schedule Your Consultation
If you have melasma, fractional resurfacing could be the perfect solution for you. At Metro Dermatology in Elmhurst, treating melasma is one of our cosmetic specialties. We’ll work with you to determine the most effective treatment for your needs. Contact Metro Dermatology today to schedule your consultation with our medical team.