Melasma is a type of pigmentation that commonly develops in women, particularly in those who are pregnant or taking birth control pills. The condition often worsens with sun exposure and is difficult to eliminate without professional treatment.
Melasma is a common skin condition that causes brown, gray, or even bluish patches on the face. Treating melasma can be difficult without the right care, but Jordan V. Wang, MD, MBE, MBA and his team of board-certified dermatologists have found that a combination approach works best.
At Laser & Skin Surgery Center of Pennsylvania in the greater Philadelphia area on the Main Line in Devon, Dr. Wang and his team of board-certified dermatologists recommend a combination of sun protection, topical lightening solutions, and laser treatments to effectively minimize the appearance of melasma.
what causes melasma?
Although there’s no single cause of melasma, experts agree that it likely develops in response to an over-stimulation of melanocytes, the pigment-producing cells in the skin.
There are a few melasma triggers to consider:
The hormone estrogen naturally increases throughout pregnancy, which is why many pregnant women develop dark patches of skin toward the end of the third trimester. Likewise, oral contraceptives, which increase your estrogen levels, can also cause melasma.
Since ultraviolet (UV) rays stimulate the melanocytes in your skin, melasma is highly common in men and women who spend a lot of time in the sun. This is particularly true for those with fair skin.
Irritating Skin Care Products
If you have sensitive skin that is easily irritated, then certain skin care products can trigger or darken your melasma.
treatments for melasma
With brand new, state-of-the-art laser devices and a wide selection of oral and topical treatments at our 8,000+ sq. ft. dermatology center, Laser & Skin Surgery Center of Pennsylvania is well-equipped to provide individualized melasma treatment.
Our laser treatments for melasma include:
- Clear + Brilliant® Touch
- Fraxel Dual®
- Vbeam® Prima
While there is currently no cure for melasma, laser therapy is highly effective at reducing the appearance of unwanted skin pigmentation. Laser treatment is often specially combined with topical medications to improve their overall effectiveness, such as tranexamic acid.
are laser treatments painful?
Most patients find that laser treatments for melasma feel similar to a tiny prick, or a rubber band snapping against the skin. For those with sensitive skin, a topical numbing agent may be administered to ensure comfort throughout the treatment.
How Long Does It Take To See Results From Melasma Treatment?
How quickly you see results from laser therapy depends on the severity of your condition. Most patients need at least 3 treatments, spaced about 2-4 weeks apart, to see noticeable improvements. You should see optimal results within 1-6 months of treatment.
How Long does it take to recover from melasma treatment?
Laser treatments require little-to-no downtime. Most of our patients resume their normal activities immediately after leaving our office. Redness, swelling, and peeling are common side effects of laser treatment that should subside within 1-7 days.
To ensure proper healing, it’s important to avoid picking at your skin or applying harsh skin care products.
“Laser-assisted delivery of tranexamic acid for melasma: Pilot study using a novel 1927 nm fractional thulium fiber laser.” J Cosmet Dermatol 2020 Nov 11.
“Kojic Acid for Melasma: Popular Ingredient in Skincare Products.” Skinmed. 2020 Oct 1.
“Bakuchiol as a Trendy Ingredient in Skincare: Recent Evidence.” Skinmed. 2019 Sept 9.
“Tranexamic Acid for Melasma: Evaluating the Various Formulations.” J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2019 Aug.
Real Patients Before and After photos
Laser Treatment for Melasma on the Face
Laser Treatment for Melasma on the Face
Laser Treatment for Brown Spots and Sun Damage on the Cheeks
Questions and Answers
Q: What Causes Melasma?
A: Melasma is commonly seen in women, but men aren’t immune to the condition. Associated with the female hormones estrogen and progesterone, melasma is especially prevelant in pregnant women and individuals taking birth control pills. Stress and sun exposure can exacerbate the condition.
Q: What Are The Symptoms of Melasma?
A: Melasma appears as discolored patches of skin and most commonly develops on the cheeks, nose, upper lip, and forehead.
Q: Can Melasma Be Prevented?
A: While melasma can’t be prevented in all cases, limiting sun exposure and wearing board-spectrum, high SPF sunscreen each day can minimize the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
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Our dermatology center in the greater Philadelphia area on the Main Line in Devon, which spans more than 8,000 square feet, is a comprehensive cosmetic and medical dermatology facility. Our board-certified dermatologists are leaders in the industry who have trained under distinguished physicians to provide our patients with cutting-edge care.
laser & skin
surgery center of Pennsylvania
Monday – Friday: 8:00am – 7:30pm
Saturday 8/27 & 9/10: 8:00am -- 12:00pm
Monday - Wednesday, Friday: 9am - 4:30pm
Thursday: 9am - 5pm
*Physicians perform 100% of all medical and cosmetic treatments.