Since my late 20’s I have been battling melasma or hyperpigmentation on my face. It first started on my upper lip and I didn’t notice it until my dad asked me if I shaved my face. Obviously, I didn’t shave my face nor was dermaplaning a thing back then. I was a little offended that he would ask me that on the other hand I was concerned as to why it looked like that.
What is melasma?
Melasma causes patches of discoloration. The patches are darker than your usual skin color. It typically occurs on the face and is symmetrical, with matching marks on both sides of the face. Other areas of your body that are often exposed to the sun can also develop melasma. Typically happens when pregnant and fades after birth but not 100% of the time.
When I started searching all about-face discoloration I found a lot of stuff that pointed to hormones + pregnancy. I wasn’t pregnant though. The only thing that resonated with discoloration during my pregnancy was under my arms (armpit). My skin turned dark but I thought it was just more hair growth and it was shadowing. After I gave birth, it faded and it went back to normal skin color. So I guess that was due to hormones??? It never happened to my face.
I set up an appointment with my esthetician to see if a treatment called microdermabrasion would help me out. Right away she knew what it was and said it was melasma. She also told me that it was going to be a never-ending battle as it is so hard to get rid of it. The treatment helped lighten up the area but it was not gone completely. Oh, how I was missing my even-toned skin.
Since I am a stubborn Mexican American girl raised by two stubborn Mexican parents I made the decision to consult with a dermatologist. I really didn’t have all the money in the world to be spending on doctor’s appointments and facial treatments but I didn’t feel pretty and all I could see when I looked in the mirror was a girl with a mustache. Not very attractive + I needed to do something about it!
At my visit, the dermatologist told me that yes it will probably never go away but that I could get it as light as possible and then try to maintain it. This visit was covered by insurance by the way…
He recommended a series of (3) Fraxel laser treatments for the areas of concern, not the whole face. Because I was only treating my upper lip the cost was relatively affordable, $300 x 3 = $900. I was also able to pay in three payments being at each treatment – not in full as a package deal. This was so helpful.
From my experience, I have found that having (1) laser series done a year has helped keep my melasma under control. Of course, still keeping a good skin care regimen morning/night.
How was the Fraxel Laser treatment?
It was a little painful. As it is a hot laser-blasting through your skin. It was fast though because remember I was only treating the mustache. I was able to push through. After it felt like I had a sunburn and it was a little red for a couple of hours. Nothing too bad. Honestly, you can do it. If you do have to do the whole face I think there is numbing cream they apply first.
What is the aftermath like?
For about 7 days the treated area looks pretty ugly. All the pigmentation rises to the surface of your skin and looks worse than it did before. This is good and this is supposed to happen. About a week post-treatment, the area will be scabby and it will eventually peel off. This will reveal the new skin but beware because this is NEW skin. Your skin is like a baby and you’ll have to protect it like never before. This means not leaving the house without SPF, wearing hats as much as possible, investing in some really big Jackie O sunglasses, and staying on top of your skincare regimen.
Do you ever get used to the treatment?
No. The laser specialist goes up in strength each time you have a treatment so it can be most effective. So this means more pain but even more lightening of the pigmentation. Trust me when I say you’ll be happy you did this and your skin will look amazing. All the magic happens within a week and then you will continue to see more positive results with time. This is a plus when it comes to aging skin. This helps with fine lines, wrinkles, tightening of the skin, etc… Read about it here it’s pretty great.
Trying new lasers, only because technology changes + advances. Last May I ended up trying PicoSure Laser. I loved the results!! This laser is commonly known for removing tattoos, and now highly used for removing melasma. Of course, it is still a little painful but I can say I like the results better (you can use numbing cream for sensitive areas). And it does all that of Fraxel and more and I also feel it’s a much faster session with less downtime. You see the results quicker too! Read about it here.
5 Best In-Office Treatments to Try If You’re Not Ready for Fraxel
SHOP VITAMIN C
Thank you for stopping by – if you have any questions leave them in the comments area😊
*Im am not a doctor please consult a licensed physician or dermatologist for advice on what you should do with your skin care scenarios.