WHERE DO THESE DARK PIGMENTED SPOTS ON THE FACE COME FROM?
The most common pigmented spots are also called melasma (or more rarely chloasma). They are common, particularly in women with dark skin (phototypes III and up). Though benign, this condition has a significant impact on quality of life due to the aesthetic consequences. These pigmented spots are the result of an over-abundant production of melanin (a pigment that is naturally produced by melanocytes, which causes the tanning of the skin in order to protect it).
We do not know exactly what causes melasma. It often occurs during pregnancy (the famous “mask of pregnancy”) or when hormonal contraception is taken, even if in other cases, it occurs without the presence of either of these circumstances. Melasma occurs when several hormonal, familial and environmental (the sun’s rays) factors come together.
Pigment spots are generally light brown when they first appear, they become denser and darker under the effects of sun exposure, then lighten again during the winter period. Exposure to the sun always revives the dark spots!
It is important to consult a dermatologist to confirm the diagnosis of melasma and to rule out any possible confusion with other types of spots.
A dermatologist will also quickly see whether the pigment spots are concentrated in the epidermis, the dermis or distributed between these two layers of skin. This is important information, as it conditions the results that can be expected with the treatments implemented.
CAN MELASMA BE EFFECTIVELY TREATED?
If we have fully understood the information above, we will have understood that the first treatment is preventive: it concerns good protection from the sun.
In terms of treatment, to date, one active substance has predominantly shown its efficacy in clearing the majority of these dark spots: hydroquinone. This active substance is particularly effective when it is combined with retinoic acid and hydrocortisone (which we call the Kligman depigmentation trio).
However, this combination is not available in any medicinal products in France. In addition, hydroquinone is not authorized in Europe in cosmetic products, and the only possibility for use remains within the framework of magistral preparations prescribed by a dermatologist. In this case, it is a medical prescription that requires careful monitoring.
In general, depigmentation treatments provide good results in spots with an epidermal component (70% of cases), but more moderate results in mixed spots (20%). On the other hand, spots with a dermal component (10%) cannot be treated. Products used to camouflage them must suffice.
ARE THERE ANY EFFECTIVE COSMETIC PRODUCTS?
Effasun Bright 8% and Effasun Bright 15% contain high concentrations of alpha-arbutin, an active substance extracted from Arctostaphylos uva-ursi leaves (shrub commonly called bearberry), the structure of which is similar to that of hydroquinone. When combined with vitamin C and exfoliating agents, alpha-arbutin yields interesting results by blurring dark spots and unifying the complexion.
A 41% DECREASE IN DARK SPOTS ON AVERAGE AFTER 2 MONTHS OF APPLICATION OF THE EFFASUN BRIGHT 15% SERUM
In a study conducted in 2013 by dermatologists in 47 women with epidermal or mixed dark spots, a 41% decrease in the intensity of dark spots on average was observed after two months of application of the Effasun Bright 15% serum (two applications per day). The evaluating dermatologists reported lightening of the pigmented spots in 96% of patients included in the study. With regard to tolerance, it was considered excellent by 96% of patients.
SUN PROTECTION, A FIRST-LINE WEAPON AGAINST DARK SPOTS
Whether the melasma has been in place for some time or if the objective is preventing it due to promoting factors (dark skin, family history, hormonal contraceptives, pregnancy, repeated sun exposure), good sun protection on the face, neck and chest is a salutary reflex.
To go even further, Codexial has developed Effasun Post-Acte SPF 50+, a very high sun protection (UVB and UVA) cream that combines sun filters and vitamin C as well as an active substance that reduces dark spots. This colorless, non-sticky and non-oily cream can be used regularly without being seen (no chalky effect).