Cosmelan Depigmentation Treatment is a type of chemical peel used to reduce unwanted pigmentation in the skin. It consists of two different types of product applications: a mask applied by a physician and a cream applied at home. It is usable on a variety of skin locations, including the face, neck, hands, and legs, and it is effective at combating hyperpigmentation, melasma, (pregnancy mask), acne scarring, and other discolorations of the skin.
Cosmelan works by inhibiting melanin production. Melanin is responsible for the dark pigmentation seen on the skin. The body produces it as a response to UV exposure, but hormones, aging, and acne may also trigger it. By inhibiting a specific type of enzyme (tyrosinase) that is directly involved in the production of melanin, Cosmelan can reduce melanin production and the discoloration it causes in the skin.
The initial application of Cosmelan occurs in Dr. Vallecillo’s office. After the in-office application, a few simple home-care steps are necessary over the course of two to three weeks. After the home-care process is complete, you should continue daily application of the at-home Cosmelan cream for best results.
- Preparation: Generally, no outside preparation is necessary before arriving at the office for the first application of Cosmelan. Once you arrive on the day of the procedure, your skin will undergo a thorough cleansing with a specialized cleansing agent designed to remove dead skin cells and ready your skin for the application of the Cosmelan mask. If your situation dictates further preparation beyond this in-office cleansing, Dr. Vallecillos will discuss this with you during your initial consultation.
- In-office Application: Once the skin is clean, Dr. Vallecillos will perform the initial topical application of the Cosmelan mask. The application is quick and without pain. Once applied, the mask remains on your skin for several hours, and you may leave the office and return home until the allotted time has elapsed. Typical application time for the Cosmelan mask is eight hours, but Dr. Vallecillos will determine the appropriate time for your circumstances.
- Home-care Application: The product will be visibly dark where applied. After the allotted time has passed, you will remove the Cosmelan mask at home using a gentle cleanser, following the instructions provided by Dr. Vallecillos. After removing the mask, you will apply the Cosmelan cream along with a hydrating Vitamin K treatment. Application of the Cosmelan cream continues daily for several weeks, typically two to three times each day. Dr. Vallecillos will determine the application regimen you should follow for the best results.
- Home-care Maintenance: After the initial home-care treatment period with Cosmelan cream, you should continue once-daily use of the cream to prolong your results.
Who is a candidate for Cosmelan?
Cosmelan is a relatively gentle topical cosmetic agent that may be suitable for a variety of patients and conditions. You should consider Cosmelan if you are bothered by or feel self-conscious about any of these skin conditions:
- Hyperpigmentation of the skin brought on by UV exposure
- Melasma (dark colorations of the skin, most commonly on the face, that may relate to hormones)
- Chloasma (a specific type of melasma that affects pregnant women)
- Acne scarring
- Other instances of unwanted dark coloration on the skin
How long does it take to see results with Cosmelan?
Cosmelan works by prohibiting the production of melanin in the skin. Melanin is a type of polymer produced by the body, and it is responsible for dark pigmentation. After the initial application of the mask and consistent application of the cream, most patients begin to see their unwanted dark spots fade within two to three weeks, and they all but disappear within four to six weeks.
What is the recovery time of Cosmelan?
Because Cosmelan is a relatively gentle peel, recovery time is typically short. Most patients will experience some degree of skin tightness, redness, and flaking at the site of application, but this usually subsides within a few days.
What are the side effects of Cosmelan?
Side effects of Cosmelan are usually mild and may include a sensation of stinging upon initial application of the mask; this usually ends within a few moments. After removal of the mask, itchiness, redness, tightness, and skin flaking or peeling may occur frequently over the first few days. Application of the Vitamin K hydrating treatment can lessen these side effects and help flaking or peeling skin to heal faster.
Are there any risks associated with the use of Cosmelan?
Because Cosmelan is a gentle product safe for most skin types, there are few risks associated with its use. In rare circumstances, patients may develop burning or scarring if exposed to prolonged, unprotected UV light.
How long do the results last?
Cosmelan temporarily reduces hyperpigmentation, and the length of the results can vary. Continued use of Cosmelan cream after the initial treatment period, exposure to sun and UV light, hormone fluctuations, and other factors may all affect the longevity of your results. For continued suppression of melanin production and lightening of skin discoloration, treatment with Cosmelan may need to occur every few months. Dr. Vallecillos can help you determine how frequently you might need to repeat your Cosmelan treatment during your initial consultation to ensure prolonged results.