Melasma / Pigmentation In Dark Skin Types

People of colour are a very large group, which in South Africa includes people of African and Asian descent. It also includes patients of mixed backgrounds who have more darkly pigmented skin.

Darker skin type people represent a significant and growing group of patients seeking aesthetic procedures. This is because of the increased awareness of safe, affordable aesthetic procedures. These procedures include amazing new lasers that are colour blind and are less invasive than previous generations of lasers. Yet special concerns have to be addressed when treating skin of colour as the wrong choice of treatment (especially when it comes to Lasers and lights) can have dire consequences and adverse effects.

Melasma, also known as hormonal pigmentation, is a considerable problem for South African women, especially in darker skin types. It is a chronic skin condition that occurs on the face in the form of symmetrical brown patches and it is a dynamic (active) condition that needs lifelong management. It often shows up when someone is pregnant, taking the pill or using some form of hormonal therapy. That being said, it is not exclusively women who suffer from this condition, it can affect men as well.

Melasma is not treated in the same way as normal sun-induced pigmentation because it is not just a superficial concern and it has internal triggers and hormonal influences. This treatment therefore requires treatment (in-clinic), topicals to maintain the treatment results and prevent new pigment from forming, supplements that suppress the internal and hormonal and inflammatory triggers from within.

What treatments can be done Safely on dark skin types to treat and manage Melasma?

  • Dermamelan & Cosmelan deep pigmentation treatments
  • Laser Genesis with the Cutera Laser
  • RF Needling with Secret RF or Endymed Intensif
  • Laser Painting / Laser Toning with the Candela VBEAM Laser
  • PDT with TA Solution
  • Combination peels with Salicylic and Azelaic Acid
  • Injected Mesotherapy with TA
  • IV Infusions with Glutathione and Vitamin C
  • Injected Mesotherapy with Biopuncture Skin Cocktail
  • Transdermal Mesotherapy with TA
  • Microdermabrasion with TA application
Pigmentation in Dark Skin Types Treatment Videos

Frequently Asked Questions

Treatment for melasma in black skin is available in Johannesburg at FourwaysParkhurstMorningside, BedfordviewWest Rand, Waterfall and Illovo as well as in Pretoria at Brooklyn and Irene and in the Western Cape at Cape QuarterClaremontConstantiaStellenboschWillowbridgePaarl, and in KwaZulu-Natal at BallitoDurban & Umhlanga.

  • UVA rays are a stimulant for melanin (brown pigmentation) to develop on the skin and unfortunately can even penetrate through car window glass.
  • Any change in hormonal status with higher levels of estrogen is thought to trigger and aggravate the condition (i.e. birth control pills and pregnancy). Discontinuing the use of contraceptives rarely clears the pigmentation and it may last for many years after discontinuation.
  • After pregnancy Melasma (chloasma) or pigmentation usually clears within a few months of delivery but may persist indefinitely
  • Any activities that cause Intense heat to the face( from steam showers, hot closed environments, sitting on the beach even under cover and with full sun protection, etc causes inflammation which is a powerful stimulator of melanin
  • It is more prevalent in darker-complexioned individuals though persons of any race can be affected due to the intense sun exposure in South Africa.
  • Melasma is seen most frequently in young women but can be seen in men.
  • Centro Facial (forehead),
  • Malar (cheekbones) and
  • Mandibular (jawline).
  • Avoid sun exposure and wear a protective hat when outdoors for extended periods to further block these rays.
  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30+ to block the UVA rays every day to help prevent melasma.
  • In addition, your sunscreen should also contain an anti-oxidant as this stops free radicals that cause pigmentation.
  • At least 10ml of sunscreen should be applied daily to the face and neck twice a day to prevent melasma.
  • Taking an oral antioxidant supplement such as Pycnogenol from the French Maritime Pine bark is clinically proven to raise one’s level of resistance to the sun and also helps to reduce the melanin content in the skin down the line.
  • As melasma is a dynamic condition and needs to be managed daily and indefinitely. One day of unintentional sun burn can set you back.

Home therapies for Melasma in dark skin types:

We offer highly effective depigmentation topical creams: Dermamelan Maintenance Cream and Cosmelan 2

Pigmentation ranges by top cosmeceuticals house Neostrata is also available at all Skin Renewal branches.

In-house topical brightening agents have been specially developed for Skin Renewal. The Renewal Institute brand includes traditional brightening products such as Kojic, Arbutin, Nicotinamide amongst others. Topical anti-oxidants that protect against infra-red A, a newly discovered deep wavelength that causes accelerated ageing and pigmentation, is also available at Skin Renewal.

In-Office therapies for Melasma in dark skin types:

At Skin Renewal, it's mandatory that one of the home brightening products mentioned above be used routinely for 2 weeks on the entire before any exfoliation treatment such as peels. A visit/consultation to one of our doctors who are experienced in treating skin of colour is mandatory before any procedure.

In-Office Treatments available at Skin Renewal include the full epidermal peel for PIH that is resistant to treatment with normal superficial AHA and BHA peels. Transdermal Mesotherapy with prescription Brightening products done straight after our peels improves the final result by removing deep dermal pigment. Cosmelan and Dermamelan mask treatments together with the home maintenance products offer superior results for resistant pigmentation.

The epidermis renews itself every six weeks, by six months, any pigment from PIH is probably in the dermis. Traditional skin rejuvenation treatments such as superficial peels, microdermabrasion, and bleaching agents are not successful for pigment such as PIH that has leached into the dermis. That is when the use of certain lasers such as the long-pulsed Nd Yag become effective to safely treat darker skin including skin type 6. The Laser Genesis procedure by Cutera gently heats the dermis, causing cavitation bubbles, which disrupt the unwanted dermal pigment, breaking it into smaller particles that are able to move upward to the epidermis where it can be easily removed with exfoliation. The PDT Red Light with post peel reduces inflammation and evens out skin tone.

Our Brightening Intravenous infusions with brightening anti-oxidants such as glutathione which work intracellularly to remove resistant pigment. An overall lighter and even skin tone can be expected.


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