Say Goodbye to Brown, Splotchy Skin!

Have pregnancy, birth control pills, or heredity left you with brown patches of uneven-toned skin? You are not alone — an estimated six million American women live with melasma, a condition in which brown pigmentation (melanin) appears on the face, and can even create a mask-like appearance. For many patients, melasma can cause a loss of confidence and even anxiety or depression.

What is melasma?

Melasma is a chronic condition, most often triggered by pregnancy, the use of birth control pills, or hormone replacement therapy. It also seems to run in families, and is more prevalent among Latina and Asian women.

Melasma can be a difficult condition to treat, and using the wrong device for your particular type of melasma can actually make the condition worse.  This is why it’s important to choose a physician who is experienced in treating all forms of melasma and has invested in a variety of laser technologies to address the condition.  The right tools in experienced hands make all the difference in the world when it comes to treating your melasma.


Common melasma treatments

Fortunately there are several ways of treating melasma, starting with topical treatments, chemical peels and microdermabrasion, and usually ending with cosmetic lasers.

One commonly used topical treatment is a 4% hydroquinone gel or lotion.

While microdermabrasion and chemical peels can also be used for treating melasma, we have found that lasers make for the best melasma treatment—especially when combined with topical medications.

Laser Therapy – the Most Effective Way to treat melasma

At Reflections we offer the very latest and most effective treatments for melasma. We find that a combination of carefully chosen laser therapies and medications, combined with daily use of sunscreen, achieves wonderful results and helps restore our patients’ skin to its former radiance.

The Fraxel Re:Store Dual laser has long been considered the gold standard for treating melasma, and more recently the Clear + Brilliant laser has shown its merits as a melasma treatment, as it delivers its energy to the perfect depth for treating these unwanted brown patches. Once the lasers have worked their magic, topical medications can be used to preserve or even deepen the results.

“Thank you, for giving me my life back. Now I don’t have to hide behind a wall of thick makeup. I’m no longer ashamed of my face.”
— Teri

Reflection's Melasma Treatment Media

Modern laser technology

Lasers have truly revolutionized treatment for melasma.

Clear + Brilliant is the latest innovation in fighting melasma.  This laser treatment penetrates the skin at a shallow depth, targeting the layers where much of the unwanted pigment from melasma resides.  Clear + Brilliant is a good choice for both initial treatments and maintenance therapy, with treatments usually spaced about one month apart4.

For the more aggressive treatment of melasma there’s the Fraxel Re:Store Dual laser, which is the gold standard for sun damaged skin.  Its energy penetrates deep into the skin, eliminating the skin cells that cause melasma while protecting the skin’s outer layer. Fraxel Re:Store Dual laser treatments are usually performed monthly for a three or four month period3.

Depending on your skin and the type of melasma you have, our expert physicians will get to know your skin and identify the most effective options for you.

The Q-Switched Nd:YAG laser can target melanin in the deep dermis, making it another option for the treatment of melasma.  This laser is especially useful when treating patients with darker skin, as its long wavelength provides a safer and more effective treatment.  Q-Switched Nd:YAG treatments are usually provided in a series of visits, spaced two to three weeks apart, and are often used to supplement the great results from Clear + Brilliant and the Fraxel Re:Store Dual laser1.


Intense pulsed light (IPL) treatments can also be helpful in some cases where the pigment from melasma is found in the epidermis, the upper most layer of the skin2.

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A treatment plan that’s right for you

We have achieved tremendous results for our patients by combining carefully chosen lasers and topical medications.

We often recommend combining your laser treatment with topical medications such as hydroquinone (4%), retinoids such as Retin-A, or a prescription cream known as Tri-Luma® Cream. Agents such as hydroquinone do not “bleach” the skin, but instead decrease the activity of the melanin where applied. Retinoids promote the rapid loss of pigment by increasing skin turnover and easing penetration of helpful topical ingredients into the skin. Because hydroquinone decreases melanin in the skin, it often reduces the appearance of melasma. The doctor may also add a corticosteroid cream or a product call tretinoin which can hasten the lightening of the melasma. While this works for some women, those with more persistent melasma will likely not be satisfied with the results they get when using topicals alone.

No matter which regimen a patient follows, strict sun avoidance and the use of a high quality sunblock are mandatory to decrease the risk of melasma returning and its severity.

Choose Reflections Center as your melasma treatment specialists

Prescribing the right combination of medications and lasers is critical to successful melasma treatment. Therefore, it is critical to choose a physician who has the complete array of laser technologies for melasma treatment that is best for your particular type of melasma. It’s also important to choose a physician that has lots of experience treating melasma with lasers, as being too aggressive can often make the condition worse. Please give us a call if you have questions about the best way to approach treating your melasma – consultations are complimentary, and our physicians are always happy to help!

I have melasma — can I still spend time outside?

At Reflections, we want to help you look and feel your best, and that means being able to do the things you love. As part of your treatment plan, our team will recommend a top grade sunblock for daily protection, and strategize with you about other ways to protect your skin from the sun and keep melasma from reappearing.

Look like yourself again

With Reflections approach to melasma treatment and management, you will look like yourself again. Best of all, you’ll have a new confidence when you’re out and about, knowing everyone can see the real you.

*Results may vary: Melasma is hormone-related and can be resistant to treatment. Usually, patients can expect to see a dramatic improvement in skin tone after laser therapy, but there may be need for additional future treatments, particularly if hormones fluctuate in the future, such as with an additional pregnancy.

1. TSE, Y., LEVINE, V. J., MCCLAIN, S. A. and ASHINOFF, R. (1994), The Removal of Cutaneous Pigmented Lesions with the Q-switched Ruby Laser and the Q-switched Neodymium: Yttrium-Aluminum-Garnet Laser. The Journal of Dermatologic Surgery and Oncology, 20: 795–800. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.1994.tb03707.

2. Babilas, P., Schreml, S., Szeimies, R.-M. and Landthaler, M. (2010), Intense pulsed light (IPL): A review. Lasers Surg. Med., 42: 93–104. doi: 10.1002/lsm.20877

3. Lawrence S. Bass MD; Rejuvenation of the Aging Face Using Fraxel Laser Treatment; DOI: 307-309 First published online: 1 May 2005

4. Amir M Karam, Mitchel P Goldman; Rejuvenation of the Aging Face; JP Medical Ltd, Aug 28, 2015; pages 91-104

Medical Director at Reflections Center

Dr. Mitchell Chasin founded Reflections Center for skin & body as a place where physicians specializing in cosmetic medicine could focus on helping empower patients to feel their most beautiful. Dr. Chasin believes strongly that the best cosmetic physicians are those who are dedicated to mastering their craft through continuing education and collaboration with the industry’s top doctors.