What is Cosmelan®
Cosmelan® is a professional depigmentation method used to treat multiple types of pigmentation from sun damage to melasma and in all skin types.
Skin colour is determined by the presence of four pigments within the skin: melanin, carotene, oxygenated haemoglobin and deoxygenated haemoglobin. Of these, melanin (brown pigment) is the most important pigment in determining skin colour.
The process of melanin production is called melanogenesis. It is a complex process with many influencing factors including sun exposure, specific skin conditions (melasma), age, hormones, medications, chemicals and genetics/ethnic skin type etc.
Melanogenesis involves multiple steps:
- Melanocytes are the cells responsible for producing melanin.
- Melanin is packaged into granules called melanosomes.
- Melanosomes are transported by ‘arms’ of the melanocyte called dendrites.
- The transported melanosomes are delivered to the surrounding skin cells called keratinocytes.
- As the keratinocyte matures, it migrates to the surface of the skin taking the melanin with it.
All of these stages of melanin production, processing, packaging and transportation can be altered, leading to increased pigmentation, or hyperpigmentation.Cosmelan® treatment aims to target each of these stages of melanogenesis through both an in-clinic and at-home treatment.
Who is a suitable candidate
Skin hyperpigmentation is common and affects both females and males and all ethnic skin types.
There are a number of causes leading to the development of pigmentation on the facial skin, including sun damage (photoageing), melasma, post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, skin cancer and other less common causes. Whilst mostly benign, occasionally serious pathologies such as melanoma can exist.
We encourage all our new patients to come in for an initial consultation, to allow us to examine your skin, to determine which type of pigmentation you have and to discuss if Cosmelan® treatment is suitable for you.
Pigmentation that is suitable for treatment with Cosmelan® includes:
- Sun damage including solar lentigines and freckles
- Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
‘We encourage all our new patients to come in for an initial consultation, to allow us to examine your skin, to determine which type of pigmentation you have and to discuss if Cosmelan treatment is suitable for you.’
What to expect
An initial consult and examination is essential prior to Cosmelan® treatment. It is important that we make sure that this is the correct chemical peel and treatment for your specific type of pigmentation.
The treatment peel (Cosmelan 1) is applied within our practice and then self-removed by gentle cleansing at home after 8-12 hours depending on your skin type and severity of pigmentation.
Over the next few days, your skin will begin to feel like you have a moderate to strong sunburn. Skin shedding, flaking and then peeling will start and is mostly complete within 7 days. Skin swelling and itching is common. We recommend a short period of social downtime where significant recreational or occupational events are avoided.
Maintenance cream (Cosmelan 2) is applied for the following 3 months to maintain results and prevent pigmentation from returning.
Sun protection including daily wearing and correct application of sunscreen is mandatory during treatment and is, of course, recommended long term as part of your skin care routine.
Significant improvement is seen after one treatment but can be repeated on a 6-12 month basis to maintain results if desired and medically appropriate.
We see you very regularly during the course of treatment to make sure that you are comfortable, that your treatment and recovery is progressing appropriately and to adjust the treatment plan as necessary. You will have multiple Healite II sessions to assist in skin repair during your treatment with us.
Most importantly, the diagnosis of pigmentation is critical in determining the most effective treatment both in the short and long term and what additional treatments may be helpful.
How are we unique
We are unique in that the entire patient journey is medically focused.
For pigmentation concerns we have a different approach compared with a non-medically trained therapist. The first and most important step is to come to a precise medical diagnosis and quantify the nature of your concern. This requires training, experience and we have additional technologies at our disposal to help us, such as dermoscopy and our specialised skin imaging systems.
We use various treatment methods, in additional to Cosmelan®, to improve and remove facial pigmentation.
Picosecond pigment laser is also suitable for many ‘skin of colour’ patients.
IPL treatment is very effective for those with sun damage including solar lentigines and freckles.
Prescription skin care as a stand-alone treatment or for maintenance treatment cannot be underestimated when the correct products are used according to the skin diagnosis.