Melasma is a medical condition that is cosmetically troubling. It mostly affects the face, takes months to treat, and can easily recur. Because of this, our providers take a serious approach to melasma. Not only do we create individualized treatment plans, but we also take the time to educate our patients about melasma triggers and prevention to prolong each individual’s treatment results.
Melasma is a benign chronic hyperpigmentation disorder that causes dark blotches on the skin. The discoloration caused by overproduction of pigment in the skin that is stimulated by certain triggers, such as sun exposure, hormones, and skin irritation. Melasma is most commonly seen on the face, but in rare cases can occur on other sun-exposed areas. About 90% of symptoms, treatment is often desired for aesthetic reasons.
Our practice offers a large variety of products and procedures that aim to lighten and even skin tone. This variety allows our providers to customize treatment plans for each patient’s melasma.
Hydroquinone is a bleaching agent available in 2% and 4% strength. Hydoquinone is applied directly to the hyperpigmented areas of the skin twice daily for 4-6 months at a time. Usually a several month long break is necessary in between treatments.
Retinoids are often used in melasma treatment ti increase the skin’s absorption of bleaching agents. They also help to rid the skin of excess pigment by promoting cell turnover, Retinoids are available in different strengths and formulations. They can be received by prescription or purchased at our office.
Perle Skin Brightening Cream Hydroquinone-free formula revitalizes and, with continued use, improves the look of skin clarity and tone for a more luminous, younger-looking complexion. Helps diminish the appearance of age spots and uneven skin tone.
Glycolic acid peels can reduce the appearance of dark pigmentation from melasma by exfoliating the superficial layer of the skin. They involve little downtime or discomfort. A series of glocolic acid peels are most effective when used in combination with a series of microdermabrasion treatments every 2 weeks.
Microdermabrasion gently exfoliates the top layer of the skin, which can reduce appearance of hyperpigmentation. It is most effective for melasma when performed in combination with a series of glycolic acid peels every 2 weeks.
PicoSure laser treatments deliver extremely short pressure waves into the skin that shatter pigment into small particles that are absorbed and discarded by our immune system. The Picosure laser is a unique treatment option for melasma because it does not produce heat. Without heat, there is no risk of causing inflammation in the skin and therefore no risk for triggering melasma. A series of these treatments performed 3-4 weeks apart can provide noticeable improvement in hyperpigmentation on the face.
As stated above, sun exposure, hormones, and skin irritation are the most common triggers for melasma.
Sun exposure is the most common trigger for melasma. This includes UVA and UVB light absorbed by unprotected skin.
Hormones can trigger melasma in both women and men. The most common hormonal change in women that triggers melasma is pregnancy. In fact, melasma is commonly referred to as “the mask of pregnancy”. Menopause, hormonal contraceptives, and hormone therapies can also aggravate melasma.
Avoidance of triggers is the best prevention for melasma. We recommend the following steps to avoid triggers and worsening of melasma.
Proper sun protection should be observed, including daily use of facial moisturizer with SPF 30. When outdoors, a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 50 should be worn and reapplied every 2 hours. Sun protective clothing. Like a wide brimmed hat, should also be used to maximize sun protection.
Hormonal changes, such as these during pregnancy or menopause, are difficult to avoid. However, avoidance of certain hormonal birth controls may be beneficial in preventing melasma.
Irritation in the skin can be easily avoided by following a gentle skin care regimen. We recommend washing and moisturizing the face with gentle products, such as Cetaphil, Dove or our product line. Cosmetic products should be used with caution in melasma-prone skin, as some can be irritating.