Hyper pigmentation is without doubt one of the most difficult skin concerns to improve. The issue is that once you get it, it doesn’t always fade when the trigger (UV) is reduced or removed. Melasma is one of the most upsetting of all pigmentation disorders as often the pattern is displayed in a butterfly configuration across the whole face.
Commonly it is across the forehead, cheeks and most distressingly across the top lip. And sometimes all three. The change of hormones in pregnancy, menopause, certain contraceptive pills and even stress disrupts the function of the melanocytes and cause them to ‘dysfunction’. This means that these dark patches appear almost overnight (on in some cases throughout the day!).
Interestingly, when melanin is produced it’s actually clear. Only when certain enzymes are released in the cells – tyrosinase does the melanin change to its familiar, darker colour. This change is to protect you from the harmful effects of UV, it’s your body’s way of protecting you from the onslaught of damage that is coming your way once the UV light starts the cascade of damage to your skin cells (although that’s for another blog!).
Back to the issue in hand, how do we lighten or indeed remove all together the dark pigmentation. Whether it’s in the form of sun spots, freckles (sun damage – no child is ever born with freckles), melasma, hyper-pigmentation can cause distress and knock the confidence of the most robust person.
Microneedling is one a solution, along with superficial depigmentation chemical peels that inhibit the release of tyrosanine (which turns the melanin brown), stimulating cell turn over, ‘pushing’ up the pigmentation from the dermis. The microneedling then assists with cell turnover and rejuvenation, replacing damaged skin cells by creating fresh new ones. We can in some cases improve the appearance, fade down the areas and get a nice result. However this does not always work and can be short lived as the pigmentation can return when you are next exposed to even the smallest amount of UV light sources.
So how do we really fix this? I’m constantly looking for different treatments that are safe, effective, practical and beneficial to the client as a whole. I am thrilled to say that I have indeed discovered a revolutionary treatment that hits all of these points and more!
Cosmelan is the flag ship treatment from Mesoestetic, this Spanish HQ company are the leaders in this area. I love their technology, their ethos and sophisticated pharmaceutical grade advanced skin solutions and products. I choose who I work with, I’m proud that I am not tied in to any particular brand with aggressive sales targets which I believe cloud the judgement of some therapists whose retail numbers can be a deciding factor when recommending products. This does not apply to me; I only select partners to work with based on their merits and will only take on those which I believe will fill any gap in my portfolio or see an improved service to offer.
As a level 4 Skin Therapist, I am a true Skin Expert, unbiased and fact driven. I have studied skin to full level 4 diploma (which has taken 2 years) in Cosmetic Dermatology. We are taught all about advanced skin science, not what one vendors opinion is about skin but in an unbiased, scientific, biological cosmetic dermatological and factual way. They say you don’t know what you don’t know and that is what I can say about myself before this round of studies. Yes I am well educated, I’ve passed a lot of courses, I know ‘a lot’ about skin and there is no doubt I have a natural affinity to the understanding of skin. Previously I completed my level 2 & 3 but the level of detail in my understanding now about the role of wound healing, chemical peeling agents/acids and skin anatomy to such deep levels has certainly been a truly fascinating and exciting learning experience. Most importantly it has taken my treatment of skin concerns and issues to even better outcomes for my clients. Results have always been my mantra and now I know so much more, I can help more people reach their skin goals.
Back to Cosmelan, how does this work? Well it’s not laser (although we love laser hair removal here at DPC Clinic). It’s a very clever chemical peel but unlike any other in terms of application and skin response I’ve ever worked with.
Method – first we prepare your skin (if not already) for around 2 weeks with products especially designed to inhibit Tyrosine (the enzyme that turns melanin dark) along with other active ingredients to get your skin turning over efficiently. We then perform a chemical peel again to prepare your skin to slow down the pigmentation process, get it clear and ready to take the Cosmelan which is applied around 48 hours after your peel.
It’s a relatively quick appointment, I prep your skin, do final pictures then I apply your Cosmelan mask. Think smooth peanut butter colour and consistency. You then leave wearing this mask and leave on for around 8 hours (actual time depends on your skin type) so you must ensure you have a day that is free of social commitments.
You then wash it off with like warm water at the time I specify (to the minute) and apply the products I supply.
The next couple of days your skin will be red and slight puffy, this is perfectly normal. I review you 48 hours later and provide you with your creams that must be applied 3 times a day.
I review you after 4 weeks and usually at this point much of pigmentation is lifting quite significantly but it doesn’t end there!
For the next 3 months you apply the Cosmelan homecare creams twice a day (morning, night and a daily SPF130 and it SPF50 – this is so very important). Then months 4-12 you simply use the creams every evening and again every single day, come rain or shine you will wear your high SPF religiously no matter what, where or who! I cannot emphasis this as one day of UV exposure can undo ALL of your hard work.
The reason this plan is 12 months is because we are reprogramming your melanocytes. Remember they were dysfunctioning and we must ‘reset’ them and this process takes 12 months.
It’s so tempting at around month three, as you will probably look almost completely clear of any pigmentation and the temptation is to think ‘I’m cured!! I can go back in the sun’ but you are not. This is where the odd client falls, lulled in to a false sense of security and feeling on top of the world it’s easy done but you must stay vigilant!
At three months we can also commence other treatments such as Microneedling which could help move any remaining, stubborn areas as the pigmentation that will be moving up past the dermis and up to the epidermis ready to go.
I’ve now completed around 25 of these treatments in my clinic and they are truly life changing. It is one of my favourite treatments to perform. I am all about delivering skin solutions that make you happy, rebuild your confidence and as such, this is one of my most rewarding treatments as we go on a true journey together.
For more information simply book your Cosmelan Consultation via our online booking system or contact me via email, phone or our social media platforms.
I will assess your skin and take it from there 😀