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Melasma is a common skin condition characterized by dark, irregular brown, tan, or blue-gray patches on the face, particularly on the cheeks, forehead, nose, and upper lip and chin of women 20-50 years of age.    Uncontrolled sunlight exposure is considered the leading cause of melasma, especially in individuals with a genetic predisposition to this condition.

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Melasma is most common among pregnant women.   Although there is no definitive cure for melasma, there are several treatment options available to manage and lighten the pigmentation. One common treatment method is a combination therapy approach that involves topical creams, chemical peels, and laser treatments.  The Aerolase LightPod Neo targets melanin deep within the dermis to effectively lighten or clear any discolored patches in order to achieve a uniform skin tone.


Melasma treatment is indicated for individuals who have been diagnosed with melasma and are seeking to reduce the appearance of dark patches on their skin.


Melasma treatment may not be suitable for everyone. Contraindications can include:

1. Pregnancy or breastfeeding: Certain treatment options are not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women due to potential risks to the fetus or infant.
2. Active skin infections: Treatment should be postponed until the infection has cleared.
3. Photosensitivity or a history of adverse reactions to similar treatments.
4. Certain medical conditions or medications: Your healthcare provider will assess your medical history and any medications you are taking to determine if they may interfere with the treatment.

It is essential to consult with a qualified healthcare professional to assess your individual suitability for melasma treatment.

Side Effects:

Side effects can vary depending on the specific treatment method used. Some potential side effects of melasma treatment include:

1. Skin irritation: Redness, itching, or a mild burning sensation may occur after topical creams or chemical peels.
2. Temporary darkening: In some cases, the pigmentation may temporarily worsen before it starts to improve.
3. Skin dryness or peeling: This is more commonly associated with chemical peels or certain topical creams.
4. Increased sensitivity to sunlight: Following treatment, your skin may become more sensitive to the sun, so it is crucial to apply sunscreen regularly and avoid excessive sun exposure.

What to Expect During Treatment:

The treatment process can vary depending on the specific combination therapy approach chosen by your healthcare provider. Typically, it involves the following steps:

1. Consultation: Your provider will examine your skin, assess the severity of your melasma, and discuss the available treatment options. They will also explain the procedure, potential risks, benefits, and address any concerns you may have.

2. Topical creams: You may be prescribed topical creams containing ingredients such as hydroquinone, retinoids, or corticosteroids. These creams are usually applied at home as directed by your healthcare provider.

3. Chemical peels: Your provider may recommend chemical peels using substances like glycolic acid, salicylic acid, or trichloroacetic acid. During the procedure, the chemical solution is applied to your skin, and it exfoliates the outer layer, promoting skin rejuvenation.

4. Laser treatments: Laser therapies can target and break down the excess pigmentation in the skin. 

5. Follow-up appointments: Multiple treatment sessions are often required to achieve noticeable results. Your healthcare provider will schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your progress and make any necessary adjustments to the treatment plan.

Pain Control During Procedure:

The level of pain experienced during melasma treatment can vary depending on the specific procedure. Topical creams and chemical peels may cause mild discomfort, such as a tingling or burning sensation, which is usually temporary. Your healthcare provider may offer pain management options, such as cooling gels or numbing creams, to minimize any discomfort during laser treatments.

Duration of Procedure:

The duration of melasma treatment depends on the specific procedures performed and the number of sessions required. Topical creams are typically applied at home daily, while chemical peels and laser treatments are performed in a clinical setting. A single session of chemical peel or laser treatment usually takes around 30 minutes to an hour. The complete treatment course can span several weeks to months, depending on the response of your skin and the severity of your melasma.

Recovery Time:

Recovery time can also vary depending on the treatment method used. After topical cream application, there is generally no downtime, and you can resume your normal activities immediately. Chemical peels may cause mild redness, flaking, or peeling of the skin for a few days to a week. Laser treatments can lead to temporary redness and swelling, which typically resolve within a few days.

Typical Number of Sessions:

The number of treatment sessions required varies depending on the severity of your melasma and the response of your skin to the treatment. Multiple sessions are typically necessary to achieve optimal results. It is common to have anywhere from 4 to 8 sessions spread over several weeks or months. Your healthcare provider will determine the appropriate treatment plan for you based on your individual needs.

Expected Treatment Results:

Melasma treatment aims to lighten the pigmentation and improve the appearance of dark patches on the skin. However, it is important to note that complete clearance may not be achievable in all cases. The results can vary depending on the individual and the specific treatment methods used. With consistent treatment and adherence to post-treatment care, most individuals experience a visible reduction in the severity of melasma and improvement in skin tone and texture.

Post-Treatment Instructions:

After melasma treatment, your healthcare provider will provide specific post-treatment instructions tailored to your needs. These instructions may include:

  1. Sun protection: It is crucial to apply sunscreen with a high SPF daily and avoid direct sun exposure, as sunlight can trigger melasma and worsen pigmentation.

  2. Skincare routine: Your healthcare provider may recommend a gentle skincare routine, including cleansers, moisturizers, and sunscreens suitable for your skin type.

  3. Avoidance of irritants: Avoid using harsh or irritating skincare products that can exacerbate skin sensitivity.

  4. Follow-up appointments: Regular follow-up appointments will be scheduled to monitor your progress and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.

Typical Cost:

The cost of melasma treatment can vary depending on various factors, including the geographic location, the expertise of the healthcare provider, the specific treatment methods used, and the number of sessions required. Generally, a combination therapy approach that includes topical creams, chemical peels, and laser treatments can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is a chemical peel?
    A chemical peel is a cosmetic procedure performed by a licensed professional to improve the appearance of the skin on the face, neck, or hands. It involves applying a chemical solution to the skin, which causes the outer layers to exfoliate, revealing smoother, healthier skin underneath.
  • How does a chemical peel work?
    The chemical solution used in a peel causes controlled damage to the skin's outer layers. This stimulates the skin to shed dead cells and prompts the body to produce new collagen and elastin, leading to a rejuvenated and more youthful appearance.
  • What skin concerns can be addressed with chemical peels?
    Chemical peels can help improve various skin concerns, such as fine lines and wrinkles, sun damage, acne scars, uneven skin tone, pigmentation issues, and mild to moderate acne.
  • Are there different types of chemical peels?
    Yes, chemical peels come in various types and strengths, including superficial, medium, and deep peels. The type of peel used depends on the specific skin concerns being addressed and the desired level of exfoliation.
  • How long does a chemical peel procedure take?
    The duration of a chemical peel procedure can vary depending on the type and depth of the peel being performed. Typically, superficial peels take about 30 minutes, while medium to deep peels may take up to an hour or more.
  • Is a chemical peel painful?
    Most patients experience a mild burning or stinging sensation during the procedure, which subsides relatively quickly. Deeper peels may cause more discomfort, but pain management techniques can be used to minimize any discomfort.
  • How long is the recovery period after a chemical peel?
    The recovery time can vary depending on the depth of the peel. Superficial peels may have little to no downtime, with some redness and peeling that usually resolves within a few days. Medium to deep peels may require a week or more of recovery time, during which the skin may be red, swollen, and peeling.
  • Are there any side effects or risks associated with chemical peels?
    Like any cosmetic procedure, chemical peels carry some risks, such as redness, swelling, irritation, and increased sensitivity to the sun. In rare cases, there might be complications like scarring or infection, especially with deeper peels.
  • How many sessions of chemical peels are needed to see results?
    The number of sessions required depends on the individual's skin condition and the type of peel used. Some people may achieve desired results with a single peel, while others might need a series of peels spaced several weeks apart for optimal results.
  • Can anyone get a chemical peel?
    While chemical peels are generally safe for most skin types, not everyone is a suitable candidate. People with certain skin conditions, such as eczema, dermatitis, or recent sunburns, may need to avoid chemical peels. It's essential to consult with a qualified professional to determine if a chemical peel is right for you.

Before & Afters

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