Melasma is a common, stubborn, and recalcitrant dermatological condition affecting mainly females with darker skin. It is characterized by brown patches on sun-exposed areas—specifically the face. Melasma is not physically harmful, but studies have shown that it can lead to psychological problems due to the changes it causes in a person’s appearance.

What Are The Triggers Of Melasma?

The most common triggers for melasma include hormones (estrogen and progesterone), birth control pills, ultraviolet light, visible light, and heat. Melasma is often called the “mask of pregnancy” because it is commonly triggered by hormonal changes during pregnancy.

Is Melasma Curable Or Preventable?

Melasma is something that we treat but cannot cure. Persistence with a good skin care regimen, proper treatment, and sun avoidance will keep melasma under control. 

How Is Melasma Treated?

The most important treatment is sunscreen and sun avoidance! 

Choosing an appropriate sunscreen is critical if you develop melasma, and studies have shown that broad-spectrum tinted sunscreens, especially ones containing iron oxide, can lower pigment production in the skin in melasma patients, as they block visible light as well as UVA/UVB rays.

Heliocare is an oral herbal supplement derived from the Polypodium leucotomos fern plant. When taken daily, it works in conjunction with your sunscreen to block the effects of UV light.

The most commonly used treatments for melasma are skin lightening medications that are applied topically to reduce pigment production and inflammation.

These include medications such as hydroquinone, azelaic acid, kojic acid, niacinamide, cysteamine, rucinol, and tranexamic acid, retinols, vitamin CE with ferulic acid, and alpha/beta hydroxy acids.

Pregnant women (who constitute a big proportion of melasma patients) should avoid most of these medications except for azelaic acid, which is a safe choice during pregnancy.

A thoughtfully crafted topical regimen is critical to treatment success.

What Are In-Office Procedures That Help?

Light to medical depth chemical peels is also effective for treating melasma.

Laser and light-based devices can be used to treat melasma but must be used with caution. If the laser settings are too aggressive, they can cause worsening of pigmentation.

Customized microdermabrasion with skin-lightening infusions might be effective.

Is Maintenance Therapy And Prevention Important?

After achieving improvement of melasma lesions, strict sun protection and maintenance therapy must be continued. Skin lighteners other than hydroquinone can be used in combination with retinoids to maintain the results, and hydroquinone therapy may be used intermittently if needed.

People with melasma should see a board-certified dermatologist for evaluation and appropriate treatment regimens to manage melasma and maintain the treatment results.

Treating Melasma | Dermatology Center For Skin Health, PLLC

Although melasma is not painful, its effects can be irritating. If you believe you have melasma, let our dermatologists at the Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC can, help.



Melasma: Who Gets and Causes


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