Do you feel like you’re always fighting melasma? You’ve used every product, tried every procedure, worn all the sunscreen, and yet those stubborn dark spots never fully go away? Yeah - I’m right there with you.
My melasma is heat and hormone induced. Quite frankly, I am not willing to come off of my birth control pills (my new business is baby enough for now!), and while I try to control my heat exposure as much as possible, sometimes it’s impossible to not get hot – especially this time of year.
Personally, I’ve tried both IPL and BBL (short for Intense Pulsed Light and Broadband Light) which are common laser treatments that treat hyperpigmentation. The problem with lasers is that they produce heat, which as I previously mentioned, can worsen melasma. It’s no surprise that these lasers made my melasma worse– not only did my current spots darken, but new spots popped up that were not there prior to the laser treatment.
I’ve also tried microneedling with and without PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma), and while these treatments are wonderful for collagen stimulation, acne scarring, and fine lines/wrinkles, I did not experience much improvement of my melasma.
Additionally, I’ve tried mild and moderate strength chemical peels. While the mild peels brightened my skin and gave me a nice glow, they didn’t touch my melasma. And while the moderate chemical peels theoretically seem like they’d help more, the stronger acids typically induce more intense heat and thus can worsen melasma.
So what’s left? If lasers, microneedling, and most chemical peels don’t help, then what treatment does?
LET ME INTRODUCE YOU TO THE COSMELAN DEPIGMENTATION TREATMENT.
I first heard about this treatment a few years ago. The more I looked into it, the more I had to try it. This 4-phase depigmenting treatment gets down to the cellular level to block the tyrosinase enzyme that is responsible for causing pigmentation.
While it is still a chemical peel, it is not your typical peel. Most peels sit on your skin for approximately 8-10 minutes, during which time produces an intense burning sensation (often inducing heat). Cosmelan, on the other hand, sits on your skin for 8-10 hours (yes – HOURS!) using different ingredients over a longer period of time to induce the same results without inducing the heat response. A mixture of hydroquinone and many powerful pigment fighting acids including azelaic acid, kojic acid, phytic acid, ascorbic acid, and retinoic acid make this peel ideal for combatting melasma on a deeper level.
WHAT DOES THE TREATMENT LOOK LIKE?
The treatment begins in our office where we apply the Cosmelan mask to your skin. You will leave the office with the mask still on your face - keeping it on for another 6-12 hours based on your skin type. You will receive additional products and detailed instructions for your strict at-home maintenance program. Over the next 7-10 days, you may experience redness, tenderness, inflammation and peeling while your skin recovers from the peel. In other words, count on 7-10 days of downtime.
MY COSMELAN JOURNEY
As I’m sure y’all know by now, I am adamant about trying every treatment and product before I decide to bring it into my practice. This treatment was certainly no exception, and I was giddy to try it! So here’s a walk through my Cosmelan Treatment journey so you can see the process for yourself!
24 hours after Cosmelan Treatment - mild peeling
48 hours after Cosmelan - significant peeling
4 days after Cosmelan - still red and peeling
Redness immediately after washing off Cosmelan
Redness one day after removing Cosmelan
Makeup covering redness after Cosmelan
Left: Before Cosmelan Depigmentation Treatment. Right: 1 month after Cosmelan Depigmentation Treatment
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Is this a treatment I can order and do at home? Due to the intensity and strength of this treatment, it must be applied in office only.
How much does the treatment cost? The treatment is a series of two visits, 1-3 months apart, and total cost is $1,000.
Is it safe during pregnancy and/or nursing No, there are several ingredients in this treatment that are not safe to use during pregnancy or nursing.
Does it only treat melasma or does it treat other hyperpigmentation too? It treats all hyperpigmentation, especially melasma.
If I don’t live in Charlotte, how can I get this treatment? Since it must be applied in office, I would search for offices in your area that offer the Cosmelan Depigmentation Treatment.