How to treat melasma in clinic according to the experts

Published 25th May 2023 by PB Admin

Skin pigmentation concerns are one of the leading complexion complaints faced by potential patients. It’s also a topic that’s increasingly being discussed on social media, with melasma alone generating over 1.8 billion views on TikTok.

To mark International Pigmentation Day and help guide practitioners towards the best ways to treat hyperpigmentation in clinic, we spoke to the dermatologist Dr Jinah Yoo, a world-leading expert on melasma to get her advice. 

Step one: reconfirm the causes of hyperpigmentation and melasma

"Hyperpigmentation is a generalised term for increased pigmentation, which generally forms towards the skin’s surface, such as dark spots, patches and marks, resulting from excess melanin production," recaps Dr Yoo. "Hyperpigmentation can appear all over the face and body, and it affects all skin tones. It's predominantly caused by factors such as sun damage, inflammation, and acne, and it doesn't discriminate; affecting men and women equally.”

Specifically, "melasma is a complex form of hyperpigmentation, which is triggered by external factors, such as UV, blue light, and heat, and by internal factors such as hormones,” continues Dr Yoo. “Pregnancy or contraceptive medications increase in oestrogen in the body, which can cause melanin production to skyrocket, leading to dark patches.”

Step two: identify the hyperpigmentation type

"Before we can address hyperpigmentation and devise a bespoke treatment plan, we must first correctly identify the type of pigmentation a patient is presenting with; in order to most effectively remove, manage and reduce it," Dr Yoo advises. “The pathogenesis and depth of pigmentation can be different; hence treatment differs depending on the type of hyperpigmentation.”

Step three: discover new-age lasers

Lasers can offer impressive results for reducing the appearance of melasma and other pigmentation types, as well as helping with overall skin brightening. If you are looking for a new laser programme to maximise your results, Dr Yoo recommends and uses The Dual Toning Laser Programme at Maylin x Dr Jinah Yoo Dermatology’s central London clinic.

By combining two different lasers, the Dual Toning technique, which was developed in Korea over a decade ago, improves complex hyperpigmentation by destroying only the melanin pigments deeply embedded in the affected skin areas. It also helps to regenerate damaged skin cells and activates the production of collagen and elastin in the dermis, which can lead to improved elasticity and texture. The aim is to create blemish-free skin with an even skin tone and reduce hyperpigmentation with little to no downtime.

Step four: expand your hyperpigmentation treatment portfolio

Don’t forget about other effective treatment solutions to tackle pigmentation too. Chemical peels are a popular way to increase skin cell turnover and gently remove the damaged cells, reducing the appearance of dark spots over the course of three to six treatments. Micro-infusions are another recommended option to “infuse the skin with concentrated active ingredients to visibly improve skin condition,” Dr Jinah explains.

Step five: reassert the importance of SPF

Dr Yoo recommends maximising results with personalised and bespoke skincare plans devised to suit patient needs and concerns. “As pigmentation can return, you should recommend a topical skincare routine and advise patients to be mindful of any external factors, such as sun damage that could be contributing to pigmentation. A patient’s daily skincare regime should always include a broad-spectrum SPF to protect their skin against harmful UV rays.”

Dr Jinah Yoo is a nationally renowned expert in melasma and Korean aesthetic treatments, who established the first NHS-based hyperpigmentation service at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in 2018. Her expertise was recently recognised when she was appointed by the British Association of Dermatologists to update their patient information leaflet on melasma.

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PB Admin

PB Admin

Published 25th May 2023

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