Melasma is a skin condition where one or more brown patches appear on the face, and is most likely to occur when women become pregnant, are taking birth control pills, or are undergoing hormone replacement therapy. Heredity is also an important factor in determining who will get one or more melasma patches.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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!