Why is Melasma A Contraindicator for BBL

Many of you know I have a very special place in my heart for those suffering from melasma! Melasma is something I personally struggled with and was a huge reason I became passionate about skincare. On the blog today I have invited one of the amazing members of our Racquel Aesthetics team as a guest writer. Emily is a highly trained and experienced laser specialist. Although we have many ways to support our melasma sufferers at Racquel Aesthetics, Emily is here to explain why Melasma and BBL do not mix. Take it away Emily!

Hi Everyone! I’m back and ready to celebrate laser season, AKA, the happiest time of the year! Now is prime time to un-do all of the sins caused by the summer sun now that sun exposure is at a minimum and cooler temperatures are upon us. Sun damage, photoaging, hyperpigmentation and sun freckles can all be erased with our plethora of laser choices. However, what do you do if you suffer from melasma and are limited in your laser choices? That is a question I often get in my practice, so I am happy to delve deeper into the science behind lasers to understand what melasma sufferers can and cannot do!

Melasma is a tricky condition that while there is no known cure, can be managed well. One of the easiest and best practices anyone with melasma can do is be fastidious about their sun protection! Wear a daily SPF of at least 30, and always reapply every two hours when outside for long periods of time, especially when swimming or sweating. Wearing a wide-brim hat (not a baseball hat), is also crucial to protect your pigment from getting worse. I would also seek out shade, avoid the peak sun hours of 10 am- 2 pm and wear sunglasses. 

These are some simple and easy things that anyone suffering from melasma can implement right away. When it comes to lasers, I frequently have patients with melasma that want to be treated with BBL/IPL, and I have to explain that this laser modality is contraindicated for melasma. This is where seeing a highly experienced laser provider is imperative to your treatment outcome.

BBL/IPL is actually not a laser but a light treatment that sees multiple colors on the electromagnetic spectrum, mainly browns and reds, making its target very scattered and not focused on the chromophore at hand. Additionally, light treatments like BBL and IPL have a poor depth of penetration in reaching their targets.

The  biggest reason that BBL/IPL is contraindicated in treating melasma is that these treatments use a ton of heat and light to go after their target (pigmentation). Unfortunately, heat and light are known to exacerbate melasma. This is why melasma gets worse in the summer for most people. Temperatures are soaring  and the summer sun is unrelenting.

There is hope though! While BBL/IPL may not be the laser choice for melasma, Moxi is! Moxi is a fractioned non-ablative laser that targets water in the skin, not pigment, making it a safe choice for melasma sufferers. Non-ablative fractionated lasers deliver heat below the skin’s surface through thousands of tiny channels without damaging the surrounding tissue.  It does not produce the high levels of heat that can trigger pigmentation issues like BBL/IPL. Bounceback pigmentation when treated by BBL/IPL can make melasma 10x worse!

After years of clinical research, Sciton has zeroed in on the Moxi laser that has the ability to gently eliminate unwanted pigmentation in 3-4 sessions, without causing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or exacerbating melasma. Moxi is safe for all skin types and safe all-year long. My melasma patients have seen a 70% reduction in their melasma after one treatment! Check out the before and after pictures below to see for yourself! To maintain your results, we recommend an RFA skincare regimen that includes a pigment lightener to suppress melanin and prevent you from making new pigmentation.

In the past many providers have prescribed chemical peels, hydroquinone and and/or oral medications to help control melasma. However, long-term use of bleaching agents like hydroquinone can carry risks.

Additionally, Moxi helps with tone, texture, pore size and all over skin rejuvenation. Tightening and brightening. This laser is good for anyone who has skin!

Fear no longer if you have melasma. There is now a laser for you! Make sure that whomever you see has years of experience and is educated not only in laser settings and treatments, but also the physics behind lasers and light and why they work. We are here at RA ready to help you achieve your dream skin! Ready to schedule your appointment?

Contact me at emily@racquelaesthetics.com or find me on IG at aesthetics_by_emily

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Racquel Frisella

Board Certified Nurse Practitioner & Aesthetic Specialist based in Saint Louis, Missouri

I work as a cosmetic injector and skincare specialist with 12 years of experience in the Aesthetic Industry. I see patients both in-office at Racquel Aesthetics for treatments as well as online for customized, complimentary skincare plans. I focus heavily on preventative and corrective injections, treatments, and skincare.  My career is my passion and I love to help people feel like the very best version of themselves. I am a wife and a mother of 3 beautiful children under the age of 3. I love all things beauty, fashion, and fitness. I am creating this site as a place to share my expertise on beauty, anti-aging, and skin while also giving a glimpse into my lifestyle as a mom, wife and lover of fitness!  

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