Best Melasma Treatment Vancouver
Dealing with melasma may seem daunting and riddled with complexities. Many patients in Vancouver are looking for effective treatments for melasma, especially in the summer months. The best treatment for melasma should be decided by a trained medical physician who understands your skin. It is a common, yet often misunderstood skin condition that affects millions of people worldwide. As a condition marked by dark, discoloured patches on the skin, melasma can negatively impact an individual's quality of life and confidence.
In this blog post, we aim to empower you with the right knowledge so you can feel confident about making a more informed decision when it comes to the health of your skin. We will delve into what melasma is, how it differs from other skin discolorations, the current treatments available we offer, and, importantly, how one can prevent its occurrence. Let’s navigate and discover more about this condition.
Best Prevention Practice for Melasma Vancouver: Understanding Melasma
Often referred to as the “mask of pregnancy” due to its prevalence among pregnant women, melasma is a skin condition that results in brown to gray-brown patches on the face. It's most often seen on the cheeks, bridge of the nose, forehead, chin, and above the upper lip but can also appear on other parts of the body that are frequently exposed to the sun. The patches are often large, symmetrical, and have irregular borders. The discoloration is purely cosmetic – it does not cause any physical symptoms like itching or pain but is a significant concern since it may cause emotional distress.
While the exact cause of melasma remains unclear, we know that it's primarily linked to external sun exposure and internal hormonal changes. Typically, melasma is more common in people with darker skin tones because they have more active melanocytes – the cells that produce skin pigment, melanin. When these cells produce too much pigment in certain skin areas, melasma occurs. Since it's influenced by many factors from genetics to our lifestyle, melasma is a complex condition that needs deep understanding and knowledge. By being aware and educated with foundational knowledge, we can better navigate preventative strategies and treatment options available.
Despite its prevalence and persistent nature, with the right guidance, it is a condition that can be successfully managed. Remember, melasma is a complex condition, for predisposed individuals even with strict sun protection and skincare routines, it might still recur. However, these preventative measures can significantly reduce the risk and are beneficial for your skin health in general.
Melasma Treatment Vancouver: Effective Strategies to Prevent Melasma
Wearing Adequate Sunscreen: Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is a significant trigger for melasma because it stimulates the melanocytes in our skin to produce more pigment. When it comes to preventing melasma, it's important to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 to block off both UVA and UVB rays. The brand our physicians love is Tizo as the formulation is gentle and is well tolerated by most skin types.
Consider Wearing Sun Protective Clothing: If you plan on prolonged exposure to the sun, physical barriers such as hats, sunglasses, and clothing with built-in SPF can add an extra layer of protection against UV rays. We suggest avoiding going out during peak sunlight hours and if you have to be out, ensure you have sufficient sun protection and seek shade whenever possible.
Using Effective Skincare Products: Another significant aspect of melasma prevention is proper skincare. Some skincare products or treatments can irritate the skin, which might worsen melasma. Therefore, using gentle, non-irritating skincare products and following a regular skincare routine can help keep your skin healthy and reduce the likelihood of melasma.
Best Treatment Options for Melasma in Vancouver: Sparrow MD
While melasma may be stubborn to treat, several effective treatment options can help manage this skin condition. Treatment usually involves a combination of topical creams, aesthetic treatments, and medical interventions. It’s important to highlight that hormonal changes are harder to control and those who are prone to melasma may want to discuss alternatives to hormonal contraceptives.
Topical treatments are often the first line of defense against melasma, involving medication or active ingredients that are applied to the skin topically to mitigate melasma symptoms. Here are the most common active ingredients and products to look out for:
Vitamin C serum- Multiple studies like this from The Journal of Drugs in Dermatology concluded that a topical Vitamin C is effective at inhibiting melanin production thereby preventing discolouration from worsening. Vitamin C also protects us against environmental stressors and free radical damage making it essential to incorporate into our routines. At Sparrow MD, our team love to use Skinceuticals Vitamin C serum as they have different formulations to address different skin concerns while boosting the effects of your sunscreen. They pack a punch but are super gentle and safe for women who are pregnant or who are expecting.
Hydroquinone: This powerful skin-lightening agent works by suppressing an enzyme needed for melanin production, thus reducing the amount of pigment produced. Our physicians love to prescribe a six-step program from ZO Skin Health. Hydroquinone is best used for limited periods as it can cause adverse side effects if used for too long. It's also essential to note that while it is effective, strict adherence and guidance are vital so it's important to use it under professional supervision.
Tretinoin: Tretinoin, also known as retinoic acid, helps to enhance skin lightening when used in combination with hydroquinone. It works by increasing the cellular turnover rate of your skin to reveal fresh, new healthy cells. When using retinol some may experience an acclimation period so it's best to start under the guidance of our medical team so you are well-versed and avoid possible complications.
Tranexamic Acid: Originally used to treat heavy menstrual bleeding and to prevent excessive bleeding during surgeries, Tranexamic Acid has shown promise in treating melasma. Like the previous ingredients mentioned, it works by inhibiting the activation of melanocytes, lowering the development of pigmentation.
Azelaic Acid: Azelaic acid is a gentle and safe alternative for those with sensitive skin or for those who can't tolerate hydroquinone. It has a dual action of skin lightening and offers anti-inflammatory properties to calm irritated skin. It combats melasma by inhibiting tyrosinase, an enzyme essential for melanin production, thereby reducing skin hyperpigmentation.
Alternatives to Hydroquinone: As mentioned hydroquinone is efficacious at treating melasma but may not be tolerated by everyone. At Sparrow MD, we have non-hydroquinone-based skin lighteners to help improve melasma. We commonly prescribe Discoloration Defense by Skinceuticals or Brightalive from ZO Skin Health as they both have powerful lightening agents like niacinamide and tranexamic acid as well as soothing ingredients to minimize sensitivities. We recommend coming in to consult one of our professional team members to decide which product is best suitable for you and your skin type.
In some cases, when topical treatments are enough to reach your skin goals, our medical team may recommend the following procedures to boost the effects of your skincare:
Physician Advice: Medical interventions such as oral medications offer a systematic approach to treating melasma, targeting the condition from within. One of the promising oral treatments is Tranexamic Acid, traditionally used to control bleeding. It works by inhibiting plasmin, an enzyme that stimulates melanocytes to produce more pigment when in excess. By reducing plasmin, tranexamic acid decreases melanin production, helping to lighten melasma patches.
As always, these medications should be taken under the guidance of a healthcare professional as they can have systemic effects and potential side effects.
Chemical Peels: To cater to different skin types, we offer two gentle chemical peels. This is a perfect procedure for those struggling with pigmentation or for people who have lacklustre skin. We use a combination of acids to provide epidermal exfoliation and renewal of the skin to improve the appearance of discoloration and texture.
Microneedling: Collagen induction therapy or microneedling is an emerging technique in treating melasma. The process involves using a device equipped with tiny needles to create micro-injuries in the skin, triggering the body's wound-healing healing process. This helps to rejuvenate the skin and even out skin tone by stimulating collagen and elastin production. When combined with topical treatments, microneedling can enhance their absorption and effectiveness, allowing for deeper penetration of skin-lightening agents into the layers of the skin.
Microdermabrasion: This non-invasive procedure works by gently sanding the skin to remove the thicker, uneven outer layer of dead skin. This can help improve the appearance of melasma by eliminating discolouration and pigmentation. In order to achieve the best results, we recommend doing a series of at least three treatments.
Laser or IPL: Laser and Intense Pulse Light Therapy (IPL) may help tackle melasma. They use selective photothermolysis to target melanin in order to lighten existing dark spots and pigmentation. People with darker skin tones may not be suitable for this treatment and these procedures should be considered with caution. If used by an inexperienced practitioner, adverse reactions such as skin darkening or rebounding of melasma may occur.
All these treatments can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so it's crucial to diligently follow sun protection advice when undergoing treatment. Topical treatments such as retinol or hydroquinone as well as aesthetic treatments like laser or IPL may be done during the fall months to avoid causing sensitivity to the sun.
Melasma Treatments in Vancouver: Booking a Consultation
Melasma is a condition that requires consistent continuous efforts to be maintained. Seeking professional advice can be invaluable in navigating this decision. We can provide the guidance and support you need to make the best decisions for your skin health. There's no one-size-fits-all solution, and what works best for you may differ from what works best for others.
Our team of experienced physicians and medical aestheticians prioritize your safety and comfort throughout this journey and we wholeheartedly encourage you to schedule a consultation with us. Our aim at Sparrow MD is to empower you with knowledge and help you wherever you are in your skincare journey. Your skin deserves the best care possible, and we're here to help you provide that. Let's navigate this journey towards healthier and radiant skin together.