Melasma Treatment Options
Brown or gray-brown melasma patches are a form of hyperpigmentation appearing most often on the cheeks, forehead, nose, and chin in blotchy patches. Melasma most often occurs in tandem with hormonal changes, like pregnancy or birth control pills, as well as from sun exposure.
Melasma is more common in those with darker skin types. When the skin naturally has more active pigment-producing cells, they can become hyperactive and produce too much pigment. This is similar to how age spots and freckles develop, but melasma patches tend to be larger, distracting from the overall tone and health of the skin.
Treatments for melasma only work if you remove the triggers as well. Even oral treatments that now exist for severe cases of melasma do little if there are still triggers in place, like sun exposure with unprotected skin.
Can I prevent melasma?
Is there a permanent treatment for melasma?
Sun protection is the most essential factor in lasting melasma treatment. Opting for a non-chemical sunscreen that contains zinc and titanium dioxide is the best way to prevent harmful rays from reaching the skin. Chemical sunscreens with oxybenzone do not offer the same protection for melasma and may even trigger allergic reactions that can worsen it.
Topical treatments usually involve the use of creams or gels that contain hydroquinone, tretinoin, or corticosteroids. These products work by lightening the skin and reducing the production of melanin. However, they may take several weeks or months to produce visible results.
Additional Melasma treatment information
Treating melasma involves creating a rapid turnover of cells, and procedures that facilitate this process are typically the most effective treatment options. Chemical peels, microdermabrasion, dermabrasion, or laser treatment often provide more rapid results than a topic treatment.