Melasma is a common skin condition characterized by dark patches on the skin, most commonly on the face. Melasma is most common in adult females with moderate skin color, for example Asians, Central and South Americans, and Mediterranean people.
Melasma is often triggered by sun exposure, and is often associated with pregnancy as well. Note however, that melasma is not the same as sun damage or sun spots, which are more common in aging adults with light skin, both males and females.
Fortunately, melasma itself is not harmful, but because it tends to occur in a visible area (the face), many people would like to improve its appearance. Unfortunately, melasma is not curable, but it can be controlled.
Treatment includes bleaching agents such as hydroquinone, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and lasers…all of which are available at Althea! Which to use? Different people may have different preferences and may respond better to different techniques. A bleaching product may seem less expensive, but if it has to be used continually and still does not give you the result you want, then it may end up costing more. At Althea we have a slight preference for lasers, which we believe in many cases are cleaner, safer, faster, and more effective than the alternatives.
The Lutronic Spectra laser that we use at Althea is the first laser to be cleared by the FDA for melasma treatment. Melasma typically disappears after around six weekly treatments. The treatments take an hour or less, are not painful, and there is no downtime. Then return for maintenance sessions as needed.