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Laser Failure - United Kingdom

After much research of various clinics etc, I...

After much research of various clinics etc, I booked an appoinment to have my melasma looked at to see if laser treatment would help. I felt very reassured by clinic, after my initial assessment I was told their was a very good chance that the laser treatment could really improve my melasma.

I had my first treatment in June 2010. The laser used was the AFT-570 Pulsed Light. I found this treatment very gentle, just a slight tingling sensation across my face. Afterwards the areas treated were slightly red, I was given a Thiospot Roller to use on the treated areas, and also an oxygenated cream to use during the day. I had my second treatment in July 2010, again using the same AFT-570, and the same after care products. Again no significant discomfort or down time. At the end of July 2010, I had another assessment at the clinic, and as I had not had any obvious improvement in the condition of my melasma, they changed the laser to a Harmony Pixel Laser.

I found this treatment very distressing. During the treatment my face was extremely hot and I did feel some pain. However, I was assured that this was quite normal. After the treatment a gel was applied. When I looked in a mirror at the clinic I burst into tears. I had these grid like patterns all over my forehead and around my eyes. The were very red and I looked just awful. I had to leave the clinic like this, and my family were totally shocked when they saw me. I looked like I had been burnt.

I persevered with the same aftercare routine as before and after about 10 days the redness did start to reduce, however, I could see that the melasma patches were actually larger than before and also darker. I visited the clinic and was again assured that this was perfectly fine and that all would settle in time, and then I would notice an improvement. It is nearly 18 months since I had this treatment, and I regret it every day. I have not had any improvement at all, just larger areas of melasma. I still had a slight grid type pattern underneath my eye. I have seeked help from a dermatologist, who told me the best thing to do would be to continue with the use of a good sunscreen, which I had been doing anyway. Any product I use on my face has sunscreen. I wear a hat during the summer months and try to stay in shaded areas. Nothing has worked for my melasma, but the worst treatment I tried was the laser.

Laserase

Before treatment the clinic was very professional, however now as I have had treatment and it has been a complete disaster, all they can offer is skin bleaching, more laser etc, all of which I have declined.

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I just finished a series of 3 Pixel treatments, scheduled 4 weeks apart with the Harmony laser, and it GREATLY reduced my melasma. I had treatments on my entire face and my skin has never looked better. I was also prescribed Groot (a prescription skin lightener) to use on my face after it healed and that has also done wonders on my skin. Every one I know complements me all the time on how good my face and skin look. If you have melasma, that is something you will battle forever, you're constantly keeping it a bay. But skin resurfacing laser treatments like the Pixel and chemical peels certainly help, as do periodic use of skin lighteners. I'm not a fan of IPL treatments for melasma because the heat can sometimes make it worse.
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Im so confused about these IPL treatments! I got some melisma on my cheek bones at the end of my last pregnancy. I had a photo facial done about 4 mos post partum and it complete took it away!!! But then 2 mos later is fully came back. So I recently had it done again but it looks the same if not a little worse. Why did the laser help once but not the next time??

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Has anyone ever tried an exoderm peel? Very expensive but I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get rid of melasma. I relate to so many of you. My childrens friends have asked me, What's wrong with your face...even with makeup on :(. There has to be a cure not just a treatment!
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I am about to turn 41 in a few days and I have lived with my Malasma for about 4 years now. I am wondering if anyone has tried (and had luck with) Meladerm? I would like to give it a try, but it is a little costly so was hoping someone here has tried it?

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I did; two pump bottles. Meladerm did not fade my melasma at all; very disappointing. I also had pixel treatments (in conjunction with Obagi products); those tx showed some fading but the discoloration returned. Triluma was a total waste of $s and efforts as well; the same for IPL. However, what failed to work for me may work wonders for another person. I sincerely hope you find a product/treatment that work for you. Wear SUNSCREENS (yes, plural)! :)
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I got melasma from pregnancy and sunscreen seems to be the only thing that will at least stop it from getting worse, thanks for the info about what you've tried to make it better.  Right now I'm using Rodan & Fields Reverse skincare system which is for sun damage and they claim will help with melasma but I haven't seen any difference.  I'm thinking about doing some light chemical peels and getting a Rx for retin-A to see if that helps!  Good luck to all of you looking for a solution!

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I havent used Meladerm, but i have had 1 ipl treatment 3 weeks ago and have been using Obagi Nu Derm for 4 weeks. I can barley tell I have melasma now. I'm also taking supplements and have 2 more IPL treatments. I'm sooo happy with the results!
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What supplements are you taking?

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3000mg MSM (2000 morning, 1000 night) 500mg GSE (250 morning, 250 night) 1000 Vitamin C 150mg pycnogenol (50 morning, 100 night) Multi-Vitamin Sounds excessive, but I will do anything to get rid of this. I also just ordered Heliocare pills from walgreens (its buy one get one half off). Its crazy because I live in Florida and i'm so scared to go in the sun! I use 50+ SPF Skin Medica.
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IF you decide to use the Obagi make sure you get the Refissa (tretinonin) I use the 0.05% anything stronger and my skin will look as red as an apple! with the low % I really don't have much redness, just around the mouth.
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The Reverse regimen will definitely work for your melasma!! I have personally seen a transformation on 3 diff gals suffering from that! Keep using it and make sure u use each product- it WILL work :)-
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what kind of supplements are you taking?

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my daughter and I both have melasma bare minerals brand face powder does wonders for hiding it i am really grateful for your posts my daughter was fortunate enough to have a consult / take part in a research study at a teaching hospital in NC where they tried tiny spots with laser none of the treatments helped at all and they said the current lasers are just not there for making melasma better good luck ladies...you're all beautiful :)

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I think the after photo looks good - but I don't know what you looked like when you started. I would not have noticed any discoloration if I had not looked for it.

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Hi I first started showing signs of melasma when I was just 35 and for 3 years it would gradually get worse through the summer months only in winter did it improve very slightly. At the start of last year I started using clinique dark spot corrector along with Nutrogena spf 110 as I was due to be married in September and didn't want it to be visible on the wedding photos. I'm not saying that its a miracle cure but over the 8 months (even through summer) it faded quite significantly and along with a fairly light foundation on the day you could see nothing of the melasma on the day. For a month leading up to the wedding I also used body shop vitamin c capsules. Since then my routine diminished somewhat and the marks are back so I have now started it again. Can't guarantee this for everyone and the clinique stuff is pricey (maybe look for it at the airport next time you travel) but it definitely helped me.
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Hiya I to have just started showing ythe signd of melasema and am currently only using ambre solar 50plus as its the higest I can get, where did u purchase you 110 factor from please as I think this would be better than 50plus x
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Rachel and others, I'm 41 and developed melasma about 7 years ago. When I look back at pictures pre-melasma, I could cry. My skin looked so good. I have a large 'mask' with a large blob in the middle of my forehead that trails down over my eyebrows, around to both cheekbones, across the bridge of my nose and above my lip and around my chin. So basically, it covers my entire face. I have tried everything! Triluma, Obagi, hydroquionone, mandelic acid, glycolic acid....the mandelic acid gave me the greatest improvement with the least irritation but I quickly hit a plateau on this as well. I am currently trying lactic acid peels and an otc retinol cream, my skin can't handle the prescription stuff. And of course, I use tons of sunscreen and avoid the sun like a vampire. This makes living in Florida hard. No beach and I don't even use my own pool unless I have a hat, sunglasses and spf 100 on my face. Even then, 30 minutes is the max or the mask gets even worse. I have tried every foundation there is but with my slightly oily skin, and constant peeling, I look like a clown with anything on that actually covers the melasma. I will not try laser treatments because I have heard too many stories like Rachel's. I may try the Laura Mercie foundation/concealer but I have pretty much resigned myself to just trying to ignore it and not looking at old pictures. I am in sales and at a recent networking event, I had two different makeup/skincare reps approach me about products that they thought might help my face...so embarrassing!!
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Rose321, I have no cure for you, but my wife is in a similar situation, and we found that Dermablend's foundation and concealer effectively hide her melasma without making her look like a clown.
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It is the same foundation that I use and nobody can tell that I have melasma, the only part that I do not have it is in my nose. love this dermablend
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Rose, I too had the same mask all over my face, forehead, bridge of my nose, cheekbones and it was so bad it looked as though i had a 5 o'clock shadow on my upper lip and a beard. i use to have the most beautiful skin i became so embarrassed. i am 46 years old and knew i had to do something once my husband and daughter said "mom it is really getting bad!" my girlfriend's skin looked great and i asked her what she had done because she had small hints of the melasma. from her late in life pregnancies. she told me her plastic surgeon had recommended Obagi. I know you said you've tried this but i wonder if you tried the complete treatment of the NuDerm. Stages 1-6 with the RetinA (tretinol)? I only ask because i am currently doing the process and today I started week 4. My husband, daughter and all i come into contact with can't believe the results. It burns like heck and I have said almost everyday I am not going to do it today but I do it none the less. i haven't had to use any makeup to cover the patches anymore because i am down to one small spot that developed during my pregnancy 23 years ago. it has faded and i am confident that once i complete the treatment that will be gone as well. I never thought i could have beautiful skin again never mind the hopes of ever being able to go with out any foundation. but i can now!! you may want to give it one more chance. Monica
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Bless you all! I too have the above and have been under a fab dermotologist who tells it as it is. Laser treatments a waste of time stick with the Tretoin (bleach creams that are prescribed) use them correctly not on damp skin and you can put a moisturiser over the top when it has sunk in and only use at night, I am Indian so tanned and have found Bobby Brown correcter and concealer amazing also try the foundations! My dermo also prescribes amazing suncream called suncare which is australian its beautifully lightweight factor 50 which I use everyday you can even get a tinted facial one. Dont let it get you down be confident within and it will show.x

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I too have melasma and my dermatologist did tell me that laser treatment is only temporary & the melasam will only return when I go out in the sun again. So, instead I just use the skin bleaching cream which does help, but makes my skin peel. Someone also told me about laura mercier concealer, which I tried. I did not think it did the trick, but I do use the laura mercier creme smooth foundation (LOVE it). For the concealer, try Amazing Cosmetics from the SkinStore - it has worked GREAT for me. Don't give up - we're our worst critics. Good Luck!

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Hi Megan, thank you for your reply. The picture doesn't really show the patches very well. They do bother me as I had lovely clear skin until I was 40, then the patches started to appear. I do sometimes feel a bit down because of them, but then I have to think of others who are suffering from illnesses and disability, and it makes my problem seem a bit trivial. That being said, I have been out and people have come up to me and tried to to rub the areas on my forehead thinking that I hadn't blended my foundation in properly !!! Looking in the mirror every day can sometimes make me feel "why me".
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That's totally understandable. Sure, we always have to be thankful our situations are not worse, but that doesn't always make what we are dealing with easy. It sounds like you are doing a great job of trying to keep things in perspective though.

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Thank you so much for posting the "This is what I have been left with" picture. If I look super hard I can see some brown above your left eye and below your right one, but in the photos it's really not that noticeable. That being said, when its on your own face any unwanted changes seem bad, so I understand why it would be so upsetting.

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