Can Cosmelan Eliminate Dark Patches and Age Spots?
Many people have hyperpigmentation of their skin from aging, taking oral contraceptives or other medications, and sometimes as a result of acne scarring. Cosmelan, a popular professional skin treatment with a skin lightening or depigmentation agent, is designed to lighten up darkened spots and patches on the skin. Here dermatology experts answer frequently asked questions about Cosmelan.
Q: How does Cosmelan work?
Cosmelan inhibits an enzyme called tyrosinase, which is involved in the manufacture of melanin. Cosmelan, which is applied directly to the skin, can decrease melanin synthesis, and thereby minimize areas of darkened skin.
Q: Will I need to go to a dermatology clinic for the Cosmelan treatment?
The initial treatment with Cosmelan is always done in a professional dermatology clinic. The first step is evaluation of the skin type by the doctor, and treatment begins with a special cleansing of the skin to remove all the dead skin cells. After the skin washing, Cosmelan 1 is applied. This is a facial mask. The mask is left on for 4-8 hours, depending on your skin type. You will go home with the mask on and, after the initial application time has elapsed, you will remove the mask with water and a neutral cleanser. You will continue treatment with Cosmelan 2 at home, which is a maintenance cream.
Q: What is the maintenance Cosmelan program?
The second stage of Cosmelan treatment is the home maintenance program. It consists of the daily application of the Cosmelan 2 cream. The cream is applied two to three times a day, for the first two weeks following the application of the mask, then once a day from then on. Continual daily use is recommended for the best results.
Q: When can one see the results of Cosmelan?
In most cases, the skin blemishes start to disappear within the first week after starting treatment. The darker the skin, the longer the time it takes for the spots to disappear. The skin starts to appear shiny and healthy in two to three weeks. In most individuals the dark spots can no longer be seen after four to six weeks on the Cosmelan treatment.
Q: What should I expect after my first Cosmelan treatment?
For many patients, the skin will appear sunburned. Most will feel a slight burning and tightening of the skin. This is a normal reaction, and these symptoms will subside in 24-48 hours. If you have sensitive skin, an itchy feeling may occur, but should subside in the next 48 hours. To limit the itchiness and burning sensation, you will be given a Mesoestetic Hydra-Vital Factor K cream to apply whenever necessary. Symptoms resolve for most patients after the first 48 hours. The reddening and skin flaking is soon replaced by normal, healthy skin.
Q: Is Cosmelan the same as a peeling agent?
No, peeling agents generally use acids to remove the top layer of skin. Peeling agents have more side effects and can cause prolonged discomfort. Cosmelan is a depigmetation agent which inhibits the skin from forming melanin, a chemical that darkens skin. Cosmelan does act similarly to a very light peeling agent, but should be painless.
Q: Can the skin patches or spots return if I stop using Cosmelan?
Yes, unfortunately Cosmelan is only a temporary solution to skin depigmentation. In order to prevent dark patches from returning, it is necessary to apply Cosmelan regularly. When Cosmelan is not used, a sun block should be applied.
Q: Does Cosmelan help with vitiligo? I’d like to get rid of the white patches and even out my skin tone. Will this product work for that?
Cosmelan does not treat Vitiligo. Cosmelan is used to remove pigment in the skin that is darker than normal, but it cannot add pigment to lighter patches. If you have vitiligo, your “normal” skin would be darker colored with some lighter-than-normal or “under-colored” areas. Vitiligo is typically treated with UV treatments.
Q: Can Cosmelan be used to treat the dark pigmentation on my underarm area?
Yes, this is an area you can try. You should consider laser hair removal as well since continued shaving under your arm will only cause the dark pigment to come back.
To read the complete selection of questions that our experts have answered about Cosmelan and how to treat darkened areas on the skin, please visit www.dermanetwork.org/cosmelan/qa