Women who are pregnant may see strange spots of discolored skin on their bodies. Most often these discolorations will occur on or around the face. The most common areas for discoloration due to pregnancy will occur on the forehead, right above the upper lip, on nose bridges and on the temples above the eyes. These spots and discoloration is called melasma.
Melasma is not only caused by pregnancy, although pregnancy is the leading cause of melasma. Women who are on birth control, those that have dark complexions and being exposed to the sun for extended periods of time can all cause these spots to appear on your body. Each of these things stimulate the body’s melanocytes. These are the body’s pigment producing cells. Pregnancy, heavy sun exposure and birth control can all lead to excessive pigment production from melanocytes, says Julie Karen, who is a dermatologist based in New York City. The excessive pigment is what directly causes the discoloration.
One way of treating melasma is through the use of lasers. Dr. Karen says that low-energy laser pulses are the most effective way of getting rid of melasma. The Clear + Brilliant Laser System is especially effective. This laser treatment will cost around $200 to $350 procedure. Four to six procedures are often performed on a patient.
For the most effective treatment results of skin discoloration due to overproduction of pigment, one should consider combining low-energy laser treatment with topical skin applications. These include products such as kojic acid and alpha arbutin that you apply directly to your skin. The laser seems to improve the body’s capacity to absorb these products to help lighten the skin explains Dr. Karen. This is because the low-energy laser creates tiny microscopic holes that allow the products to penetrate deep into the skin.
According to a New York University medical study, three quarters of women who underwent low-energy laser treatment such as the The Clear + Brilliant Laser System and topical skin treatment saw tremendous improvement in their skin discoloration. The study found that out of the three quarters who saw significant improvement, 40% saw complete elimination of melasma, which is the clinical term for skin discoloration.
Those seeking laser treatment for melasma should avoid high energy lasers like Fraxel. These laser procedures may claim you will get quick and immediate results, but they often backfire. Dr. Karen says that such a procedure can actually increase discoloration by causing irritation or inflammation that will increase production of melanin.