What is Melasma?

Melasma is a condition in which large brown patches appear on the face, typically to the cheeks, forehead, nose and upper lip. The patches are generally symmetrical and can last for years or be lifelong. Melasma is typically caused due to hormonal changes such as pregnancy, natural oestrogen fluctuations, contraceptive, hormone replacement therapy or also from genetics or sun exposure. Women are much more likely than men to develop this condition, and it is most common in those with olive skin types or darker. For some women, depending on the triggers, melasma may fade on its own after pregnancy or after an affected woman stops taking the contraceptive pill.

Treating Melasma

Melasma, being a chronic skin condition, cannot be cured however a combination of treatment and skin care can help reduce its appearance. It is important to remember Melasma can be lifelong and tends to return, so maintenance is essential to upkeep any achieved results.

Melasma is not suitable for standard Photo rejuvenation or IPL treatments, as this can in fact stimulate pigment and cause the Melasma to worsen. This is due to the heat and energy used during these types of treatments, which causes too much inflammation which can trigger the formation of more pigmentation.
We recommend such treatments as:

Laser Correction Facial

Our Laser Correction Facial Treatment utilizes Q-switch laser technology. The rapid speed of the laser combined with a high repetition rate causes vibration in the skin which helps to shatter deep dermal pigmentation and melasma, as well as eliminate impurities and stimulate collagen. The 1064nm wavelength specifically targets the deeper layers of the skin and is highly attracted to the pigment in melasma, causing a breaking up of the deeper pigmentation without causing too much trauma or inflammation, and thus, not causing the pigmentation to worsen. Laser Correction facials, because of the minimal inflammation and treatment depth, is a safe treatment for all skin types. Laser Correction Facial treatments for Melasma are recommended in an 8-10 treatment course, performed every 2 to 4 weeks for maximum results.


Cosmelan is a highly effective and intensive 12-week program aimed at dramatically fading superficial and dermal pigmentation.

Cosmelan has a two-pronged effect:

1) Cosmelan contains a tyrosinase inhibiting complex, which works by preventing pigment from moving through the skin and stops deep pigment from reaching the superficial layers.

2) Cosmelan also contains Exfoliating agents and a Vitamin complex, which aims to reduce the amount of pigment that has previously formed as well as stimulating skin renewal, stimulating collagen production and revitalizing the skin.
Cosmelan is a 2-stage depigmentation treatment, consisting of both an in-clinic professional treatment mask application and homecare treatment products to be applied throughout the 12-week program. At VC Dermal Clinic, both the mask application and all post care products are included in your purchased package, along with 7 follow up facial treatments to support you throughout your course and aid in recovery. It is extremely important that all homecare for Cosmelan is strictly followed as it is vital to the treatment results. If homecare is not strictly followed, Cosmelan can be rendered ineffective and may cause pigment to worsen.

Chemical Peels

A series of chemical peels can reduce melasma by exfoliating, encouraging skin cell turnover and helping shift the pigmented cells from the affected area. As with laser, it is recommended to undergo light peels often rather than occasional intensive peels, as stronger peels may cause too much inflammation and stimulate the production of new pigment. Peels containing Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) are gentle yet a very effective treatment for ageing, sun damaged and pigmented skin. Cosmedix peels can help manage pigmentation by regulating melanocyte activity (pigment production), evening out skin tone and normalizing skin function. A course of 6-10 treatments is recommended every 2-4 weeks depending on your skin condition.

Skin Care

Cosmedix Simply Brilliant

Cosmedix Simply Brilliant is an effective tyrosinase inhibitor, without the use of hydroquinone or arbutin. Tyrosinaseis an enzyme that controls the production of melanin as part of our skin’s natural defence mechanism against UV rays. When our skin undergoes trauma or becomes inflamed, this causes Tyrosinase to misfire resulting in an overproduction of pigment, causing hyperpigmentation. Use of a Tyrosinase Inhibitor daily, will prevent the enzyme from misfiring, thus inhibiting the overproduction of pigment in the skin. Simply Brilliant also contains 10 skin-specific brightening ingredients that improve existing discoloured, hyperpigmented, photodamaged and uneven skin.

Cosmedix Pure C

L-ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, not only helps break down any current pigmentation, but it also helps prevent new pigmentation from forming. Cosmedix Pure C uses a high concentration of vitamin C (100% L-ascorbic acid) which fights the formation of hyperpigmentation, accelerates skin cell turnover, breaks up dark spots and removes dull skin. The crystallized formula is simply added to other Cosmedix serums and moisturizers for maximum impact. A skin analysis will be performed to determine your ideal serum/moisturiser combination for maximum results.

Physical Sunscreen

The use of daily sunscreen is paramount when treating any form of pigmentation. Pigment cells within the skin react the same to UV exposure, so as your skin colour darkens and tans, so too will your Melasma. It is extremely important as many clients notice their Melasma worsening or being triggered during the summer months or after periods of prolonged sun exposure. A Physical sunscreen, those containing Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide, is the most ideal as it protects from both UVA and UVB damage and creates an instant blanket like protection. It is because of this it is essential for those with a heat-activated conditions, such as Melasma, as it deflects the heat given off from the sun. The heat and energy from sun exposure is why UV is a major trigger for those suffering with Melasma, so it is recommended an SPF be worn daily to prevent and reduce symptoms.

Mineral Makeup

The appearance of Melasma can cause patients to feel very self-conscious, so makeup can be vital to a Melasma suffers’ routine. Just like physical sunscreen, Pure Mineral makeup’s main ingredient base is Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. This means it has the added benefit of sun protection, but also Mineral Makeup binds together upon application, so it also gives exceptional all-day coverage but also will not penetrate in to the skin causing blockages or irritation. At VC Dermal Clinic, we stock Jane Iredale as 7 of their products have earned the Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Recommendation. To earn this seal, a manufacturer must provide scientific data showing that its products sufficiently and safely aid in the prevention of sun-induced damage to the skin. Jane Iredale comes in a huge array of colours, powders and liquids to suit all skin types and preferences. A colour match session can be performed by your clinician to determine the ideal colour, coverage and consistency for your skin.

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