Cosmelan Depigmentation Treatment

By Mesoestetic

Throughout my blog I will be talking about my Cosmelan experience and reviewing the downtime and results of this highly recognised treatment in the skin therapy industry. I have been conducting a lot of research and reviewing results and experiences by other bloggers. 

As a Dermal Therapist at a local clinic I have experienced many treatments such as laser resurfacing, peels and microneedling. I have achieved good results from all of these treatments, however, I just could not target my stubborn Melasma. So the research Began! Jacinta and myself found the missing piece to the puzzle – The Cosmelan Depigmentation Mask by Mesoestetic – which seemed to be highlighted as the ‘gold standard’ in helping reduce pigment at a epidermal and dermal level. And so began our own clinical trial.

 

So here is my Cosmelan Storey…

Preparation for treatment:

5 days before Cosmelan: I stopped using all retinol products and tried to keep my skin as hydrated as possible (as this ensures your skin heals quicker post treatment when your pH levels are balanced). I am usually a dry skin type so keeping hydrated is always a mission of mine! My go-to products are Aspect Redless serum (a nourishing oil), Aspect post treatment balm and Aspect Extreme B.

Overview of my skin prior to treatment:

My skin prior to Cosmelan Depigmentation treatment is dehydrated, even with regular treatments and skincare. I have always had a lot of hyperpigmentation (patches of darker skin) through years of sun exposure, over the past 12 months I have found my skin become much darker, resulting into Melasma on my forehead that has been very hard to treat and to cover with makeup. With discolouration throughout my face my skin always looked lifeless and dull. Not only was I dealing with pigmentation problems, I have always suffered with acne lesions due to underlying hormonal problems. The lesions have always been consistent on my chin and jawline (the key indication of hormonal imbalance). This has further resulted in post inflammatory acne scarring and constant cycle of breakouts.

Note the colour of my skin, the scarring, the tone around my forehead and eyes, and the general condition. Uneven skin tone, discolouration and overall dull complexion.

Day of treatment:

I was feeling very nervous about what to expect. Research had advised me that the application of the Cosmelan mask itself would not be painful or uncomfortable. However, the unknown of post treatment downtime and discomfort had mixed reviews. I finished my last client for the day and it was time for application! Here we go!!!

My skin was cleansed and degreased thoroughly to remove any excess oil and makeup. Before photos were taken to document my journey. Application of Cosmelan 1 was applied to my skin at 4:30pm (I recommend booking your appointment at the start of the day) and I was advised to leave it on for 10 hours. The process of the treatment itself was very relaxing. The Cosmelan 1 is a clay/mud looking mask that is thickly applied to the skin and feels nice and cool. I am then advised not to touch the mask or smile or talk as little as possible… this was harder than I thought haha. Driving home it feels as though people are staring at you, and they probably are! Be prepared for this, as it must be done (and you cannot wear sunglasses to cover up either!). Whilst the mask is active on the skin I had to stay awake and ensure no mask accidentally rubbed off. As the hours go by, the mask starts to dry, going hard, and some loosens from the skin. So my best advise is to not wear good clothing or lie on the new white couch!

Be warned, you look as though you have mud on your face, in fact, it feels exactly that!

It also darkens when combined with your skin’s oils… and gives you this beautiful dirty look… haha

After application:

Two hours:

Mask still on my face. Skin has a slight tingle but still very comfortable.

Four hours:

More tingling is present, but skin now has a very slight warm sensation.

Time to remove the mask: 10 hours post application

It is now 2:30am (yes thats right, 2:30am… this is why I recommend having the mask applied first thing in the morning). I remove the mask with lots of cool water. Skin heats up immediately on removal. My skin felt like it was sunburnt. I then apply hydration mask (recommended home care) and experienced a strong intense tingle which calmed down within five minutes. Once the skin had soaked in the hydration mask (around ten minutes) I then applied calm repair and skin reports to be very hot and red.

Day 1: 6 hours post removal

Skin is very swollen, red (lobster face) with a lot of heat. I apply the calm repair recommended, however, I do not get much relief. I contemplate not wearing makeup to work as my skin is very tender to touch and I have already started to notice slight peeling on my chin. I wear very light mineral makeup (Colorescience mineral powder) as I do not want to horrify my clients with my red swollen face.

Note: I advise to not venture out of the house (more for embarrassment, rather than the peeling itself).

Day 1: 12 hours post removal

There has been no relief from swelling, redness or heat just yet. The heat is so intense that the heating at work makes it even more uncomfortable (I would recommend having this time at least off work for comfort – as the heating was keeping the heat locked in my skin).

Day 1: 18 hours post removal

The heat is still there, especially on the forehead and cheeks where the mask had a thicker application. I cannot wait to get home and wash my face! As I get home I cleanse my skin with recommended milk cleanser and cool water (this gives much relief). My skin is still tender to touch but the milk cleanser is soothing. I decide tonight to do my favourite mask for hydration (the societe peptide mask) its a gel sheet mask that I have kept in the fridge for extra cooling to help sooth my skin. I apply the peptide mask and sink into my bed with relief, now feeling very relaxed!

Day 2: 24 hours post removal

There is still heat and I am now thinking I will never be cool again haha

Day 2: 30 hours post removal

The heat is starting to reduce down to just a warm sensation. Skin is still red and tender to touch. My skin was feeling tight and cracking, my face was leaving its past behind! I had started to peel! Firstly started around my mouth, then my nose, chin and cheeks. The peeling flakes could have been blown away with the wind.

Day 3: Peeling

Skin is so tight, particularly on my forehead and feels like it is going to crack in half, I am peeling profusely today and it has finally worked its way up to my forehead (most pigmented area). The new skin was very raw, shiny and tender (especially across my chin that experienced the most peeling)

Yep… I woke up like this… peeling red face and all 😉

Day 3 peeling felt never ending! This photo was taken before I did another gentle cleanse in the middle of the day and reapplied powder. Again, I recommend taking this time off work!

Day 5:

I have started to breakout again, but it is always expected with my skin. SKIN NOW HAS A GLOW!!! Starting to feel excited!

Day 7:

Skin is just slightly pink. I can see a change in the skin texture, smaller pores, reduced fine lines and pigmentation faded. That night I feel ready to start the next step in the process which is the application of Cosmelan 2 (this is the same ingredients as Cosmelan 1 mask, however, with 50% less concentration so not as intense). I mixed the Cosmelan 2 with my hydra vital factor k moisturizer. Very nervous that it would be uncomfortable to apply, very slight warmth and tingle on acne lesions but otherwise very comfortable.

Day 10:

I have been using Cosmelan 2 with hydra vital factor k morning and night for the past 4 days, skin is becoming dry again and peeling slightly.

Day 11:

I decided to skip Cosmelan 2 and focus on hydration. Cleansed my skin with milk cleanser, exfoliated with aspect gold fruit enzyme and applied my favourite mask (societe peptide mask), followed by aspect hydration mask and slept in it.

Day 12:

I resumed Cosmelan 2 in smaller doses (half the size of pinky fingernail). I will continue Cosmelan 2 during the mornings and hydrate at night the next coming week.

Day 13:

Skin is looking even in colour with smaller pores with only 2 small pimples. I am feeling great in my skin and excited about the results I am seeing. Cant wait for the review photos!!

4 weeks post treatment:

Review photos taken and a much needed pamper with the follow-up facial in clinic

Ready to see some results!?

ONE MONTH POST TREATMENT BEFORE AND AFTER:

SIX WEEKS POST TREATMENT BEFORE AND AFTER:

If you asked me would I have Cosmelan again? Definitely!

UPDATE:

I underwent an extreme and very controlled form of facial peel, known as Cosmelan. It is one of the most intense and dramatic types of peels you can have. But like most things in life, with patience, dedication and diligence, the pay-off and the result is nothing to laugh at.

Remembering back to my skin only 6 weeks ago I am reminded of the constant dark shadow across my skin, the deep breakouts along my jawline and the lifeless skin I knew on a day-to-day basis. I can now say I have never been happier with my tone, reduced scarring, blemish control and overall healthy glow. This peel has changed my skin forever and I cannot wait to see the results keep coming (watch this space for more updates!).

It is very important to trust your treating therapist, and to take instructions and care of your skin very seriously. This treatment is not for everyone, especially those that I have not tried any form of skin treatment before, as you need to prepare yourself for the downtime. Although it is controlled, you do feel uncomfortable throughout stages of healing (heat, itchiness and peeling). So taking time off work, keeping hydrated and following your skincare steps will ensure you have the most comfortable recovery time. And remember your dermal therapist is only a phone call away.

I now get comments on my skin daily, with how healthy, glowing and radiant it is looking. I feel less self conscience about my skin now that the Melasma has been reduced and my breakouts have cleared dramatically.

I hope reading my story has given you insight to this incredible new treatment launched in the region at Wodonga Skin Centre and allows you to experience an opportunity of brighter, glowing skin too! Or you just enjoyed the read 🙂

Renae Foster xo

What is Melasma?

Melasma is an acquired disorder of symmetrical hyperpigmentation  that affects millions of people around the world. It appears light brown to dark, muddy brown macules and patches on the face, especially on the forehead, cheeks and chin.

Several patterns of Melasma can be described:

  • Centrofacial pattern – forehead, cheeks, nose, upper lip and chin
  • Malar pattern – lesions located primarily on cheeks and nose
  • Mandibular pattern – lesions on the branch of the jawline

Studies suggest:

  • That there is a high incidence of Melasma among family members proposing a genetic component
  • Common contributing factors include genetic predisposition, pregnancy, use of oral contraceptives, endocrine dysfunction or hormone treatments, and exposure to UV light. In addition to phytotoxic drugs.
  • It has also been linked to stress, inducing release of melanocytic-stimulating hormone.
  • More commonly seen in women and those with darker complexions
  • Melasma usually develops slowly and symmetrically, and can last for many years, with worsening in summer.
  • Can occur with pregnancy, termed as “the mask of pregnancy” and usually resolves within a few months post delivery

Melasma is often difficult to treat. The main aims of treatment is prevention or reduction in severity of recurrence, reduction of affected area’s. This includes therapy that protects the skin from UV light (sunscreen), inhibition of melanocytic activity and melanin synthesis (pigmentation inhibiting products) and disruption and removal of melanin granules (clinical treatment).

Management recommendations include:

  • discontinue hormone affecting drugs (discuss with your doctor if this is possible), scented cosmetic products, and phototoxic drugs.
  • Use of UV protection – broad spectrum of UVA + UVB.
  • Avoidance of sun exposure (bleaching agents are known to increase recurrence upon exposure to UV)

What are the main ingredients in Cosmelan that help target Melasma?

Unlike hydroquinone and tretinoin, which can be harsh on the skin and has the potential to cause unpleasent side effects. A Cosmelan peel contains ingredients that are both safe and effective in treating the skin:

  • Azelaic acid – kills bacteria on the surface of the skin and boost new skin cell production. Also has cytotoxic and anti proliferative effects on melanocytes, interfering with DNA synthesis of abnormal melanocytes
  • Kojic acid – which is an acid that is derived from several different types of naturally-existing fungi that inhibits the production of melanin in the skin by chelating copper at the enzyme active site
  • Ascorbic acid – otherwise known as vitamin C, interrupts the key steps in melanogenesis by interacting with copper ions at tyrosinase active site, inhibiting the action of melanin production.
  • Arbutine – is a derivative of hydroquinone, that is naturally occurring in plant products which has been used successfully in treatment of hyperpigmentary disorders. Arbutine acts by inhibiting tyrosinase, thereby decreasing melanin formation. Arbutine is far less toxic than the use of hydroquinone proving its safe and effective in treatment.

Cosmelan 2 contains all these ingredients, but at 50% less the strength. It also includes Phytic acid which is an antioxidant that helps heal the skin and protect it post treatment.

References:

Bandyopadhyay, D. (2009). Topical treatment of Melasma. Indian Journal Dermatology, 303-309. doi:10.4103/0019-5154.57602.

Gupta, A., & Gover, M. (2006). The treatment of melasma: A review of clinical trials. The American Academy of Dermatology, 1048-65.  doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2006.02.009

Rendon, M., Berneburg, M., Arellano, I., & Picardo, M. (2006). Treatment of melasma. The American Academy of Dermatology, 272-81. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2005.12.039

Sheth, V., & Pandya, A. (2011). Melasma: A comprehensive Update. Part I. American Journal of Dermatology, 689-97. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2010.12.046

Sheth, V., & Pandya, A. (2011). Melasma: A comprehensive update. Part II. American Journal of Dermatology, 699-714. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2011.06.001

Shin, J., & Park, K. (2014). Current clinical use of depigmenting agents. Dermatologica Sinica, 205-210. doi:http://doi.org/10.1016/j.dsi.2014.07.003

Telang, P. (2013). Vitamin C in dermatology. Indian Dermatology Online Journal, 143-146. doi:10.4103/2229-5178.110593

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