With every passing month, we wonder what skin concern is going to pop up next. Although when we’re talking hyperpigmentation, we’re not talking about a skin issue that is exclusively an effect of aging – it’s caused by a number of factors, some completely out of our control. We might not be able to stop hyperpigmentation from occurring, there are options for treating it. From concealers to chemical exfoliators, there are lots of ways to combat the dark spots and patches. If you’ve tried all of the above and you’re still not seeing results, it might be time to consider something a little more advanced. A Cosmelan treatment might be exactly what you need.
WHAT IS COSEMELAN?
Cosmelan is a powerful treatment that is performed by dermatologists or other skincare professionals. Similar to a more traditional AHA chemical peel, Cosmelan is specifically formulated to treat problems with pigmentation. A two-step process, this topical treatment both reduces and regulates dense pigmentation by peeling the skin to even skin tone and inhibiting the overproduction of Melanin that causes hyperpigmentation in the first place. The first step of a Cosmelan treatment is an 8- to 12-hour Cosmelan 1 mask that is followed by Cosmelan 2, a take-home cream that should be applied consistently after the mask is removed. Cosmelan is primarily used to treat the skin on your face but it’s also effective for dark spots all over your body.
WHAT DOES COSEMELAN TREAT?
Cosmelan treats problems with hyperpigmentation, whether caused by Melasma, Cholasma, Age/Liver spots or scarring from acne. But before we get into this, we’re going to help you understand a bit about what causes pigmentation problems.
Melanin is the naturally-occurring pigment that determines your skin, eye and hair color. When Melanin production is healthy, it’s evenly distributed throughout your body. But there are a number of factors that can disturb the distribution of Melanin cells: sun exposure, heat, hormones and skin problems like acne or rashes. When your Melanin cells are haphazardly distributed due to these factors, your skin coloration can become mismatched and you might develop brown patches, spots or blemishes.
That’s where Cosmelan comes in. Hyperpigmented skin is very hard to cover up with concealers or camouflage creams and at-home treatments aren’t always successful in reducing its appearance. After a Cosmelan treatment, many women have found they only need to use a minimal amount of makeup to create an even tone.
That’s because Cosmelan acts as a cell-communicating agent that regulates the Melanin produced by your body. The ingredients in Cosmelan tell your cells to slow down overproduction and to function in a healthy, uniform way. Scientifically speaking, the Hydroquinone, Azelaic Acid, Kojic Acid, Arbutin, Phytic Acid, and Ascorbic Acid in Cosmelan inhibit Tyrosinase, an enzyme found in the Melanin production process. Finally, the Kojic Acid and Phytic Acid in Cosmelan 2 help to heal and protect the skin.
COSMELAN VS DERMAMELAN?
Although both treatments offer similar benefits, Dermamelan is considered to be the stronger alternative to Cosmelan. Dermamelan’s formula contains higher amounts of the active ingredients found in Cosmelan and therefore is reserved for more advanced pigmentation issues.
Cosmelan is considered sun-friendly as long as you use a broad spectrum sunscreen on the reg. With that said, you should avoid prolonged exposure to the sun – but if you’ve been reading our articles, you already know that you should be doing this anyway. The sun causes far more problems than just hyperpigmentation! For more on the importance of a good sunscreen make sure you check out our guide.
You can expect your skin to be delicate and sensitive for the first two weeks after treatment. This might include tightness and itching or mild to moderate redness and discomfort similar to sunburn.
Cosmelan 2, the at-home part of your treatment, may cause flaking and dryness. Although if you apply the Hydra Vital Factor K Cream every few hours, it will help relieve any severe dehydration.
On the very rare occasion, scarring and other more serious complications can occur. You should have a consultation with the professional performing your treatment to discuss all of the possible side effects and whether Cosmelan is right for you and your skin.
HOW DOES THE COSMELAN TREATMENT WORK?
Like your friend who doesn’t know how to dance, Cosmelan has only two-steps. The first step is the in-office stimulating mask and the second part is the continued application of Cosmelan II from the comfort of your own home. As the peel itself requires several hours, you should plan to do the treatment on a weekend or after work.
Your skincare professional will clean and prep your skin to ensure there is no excess oil or dead skin cells on the area being treated. A thick layer of Cosmelan 1, is applied to the area. The mask might sting upon application but this will fade in a matter of minutes. The Cosmelan I mask will be left on your skin for 8 to 12 hours depending on the level of treatment required, your skin type and the sensitivity of your skin. When your skincare professional gives you the green light to head home, you’ll remove the mask at a pre-determined time – don’t worry, they’ll give you all the details on how to remove the mask safely.
Side note: For those with more stubborn pigment, you may be advised to treat your skin with a Mandelic peel (30-40%) for about 5 minutes before your Cosmelan treatment.
You’ll be removing the Cosmelan mask with a gentle, neutral cleanser and then begin using the at-home part of your treatment. Cosmelan 2 consists of active-ingredients products that are used on a consistent basis to enhance the effects of the Cosmelan mask, improve pigmentation problems and prevent excess pigment formation. Peeling will begin two or three days after Cosmelan 1 is removed, but the Cosmelan 2 treatment protects new skin growth. The Cosmelan 2 cream will be applied two to three times a day for two weeks and once daily after that.
WHEN CAN YOU EXPECT RESULTS?
Cosmelan starts working incredibly quickly. Within a week you’ll notice that your blemishes have begun to fade and your complexion appears brighter. After two weeks, your skin will be shiner and healthier-looking. Over the fourth and fifth week, the full benefits of the Cosmelan treatment will be visible. If you’re going to attempt this treatment, make sure you commit to your daily aftercare routine and the results can last for months and maybe even years.
Mesoestetic Cosmelan 2 $300
For the most effective results, you should be getting the Cosmelan 1 Treatment before using Cosmelan 2. but you can purchase Cosmelan 2 cream separately to improve less severe hyperpigmentation. The active ingredients inclusive of Azelaic Acid, Kojic Acid as well as Retinol block the biological processes that cause discoloration, lighten existing pigment issues and inhibit Melanin production in the deepest layers of the dermis.
ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS TO CONSIDER
Non-Ablative laser treatments are gentle and focus on irregular skin pigmentation problems and uneven skin tone. Read more about the benefits of laser treatment on hyperpigmentation in our in-depth article.
Skin discoloration like freckles and age spots as well as other pigmentation concerns can be treated with photorejuvenation. The light pulses target red pigment (hemoglobin) in the blood without affecting other tissues. To learn about how IPL treatments help hyperpigmentation, check out our overview.
Although makeup and at-home products are an effective solution for many skin concerns, hyperpigmentation can be more difficult to treat and in some cases requires a powerful blast of active ingredients to trigger any noticeable visible change. Cosmelan was specifically created for those more troublesome cases and is a viable option for those struggling to control the appearance of these more advanced cases. The two-step process is quick, easy and affordable and with very little side effects, it’s a great treatment even for those just looking for a bit of overall rejuvenation.