What is Melasma?

Melasma is a common skin condition that causes darkened, discoloured areas on the skin. It often occurs on the face, neck, or forearms and is symmetrical, with markings on both sides of the affected area. While it is not known what exactly causes melasma, individuals with deeper olive to brown skin tones have a higher risk. Sun exposure can lead to melasma because ultraviolet rays affect the cells that control pigment in the skin. This condition is also associated with estrogen and progesterone sensitivity, and can even be triggered by pregnancy or birth control pills. 

Melasma Treatment Options

While melasma may fade on its own, some people experience it for years and episodes can recur based on exposure to its triggers. If melasma does not go away, there are several treatments available to help lighten it, including:

Hydroquinone: This treatment comes in cream, lotion, gel, or liquid form, and is applied to the skin. It works by lightening the darker areas of the skin over time and is only available by prescription. 

Cysteamine: This treatment comes in cream form and is applied to the skin for short contact.  It has a number of effects including enzyme inhibition and dopaquinone. It works by lightening the darker areas of the skin over 4 – 5 months.  It is available through DermAtelier on Avenue. 

Corticosteroids and Tretinoin: These cream medications also work to fade patches of melasma.

Other Topical Medicines: Azelaic acid, tranexamic acid, or kojic acid may be prescribed to help lighten the appearance of melasma. 

Oral medication:  Tranexamic acid is a therapy that can be prescribed to help control melasma in certain individuals.

Procedures: If topical treatments do not work, a procedure such as a chemical peel, microneedling, or lasers, may be recommended. 

Who is a Good Candidate for Melasma Treatment?

While melasma will not cause you any physical harm, it can cause you to lose self-confidence and feel self-conscious about your appearance. If you are unhappy with the look of your melasma, you can benefit from melasma treatment. The best way to determine which treatment option is best for you is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Beach. Simply give our office a call to get started!

What to Expect After Melasma Treatment?

It is important to understand that melasma may be stubborn, and it may take a few months of treatment before improvements are seen. After your melasma improves, you may need to continue treating the skin to ensure long-term results. Dr. Beach will give you directions on maintenance therapy, to help prevent your melasma from returning. 

Contact Us Today

If you are ready to take the first steps toward treating your melasma, contact DermAtelier on Avenue today! Our office provides a number of melasma treatment options to fit each of our patients’ individual needs. To find out how to schedule your initial consultation appointment with Dr. Beach, give us a call today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can liver problems cause melasma?

not practically speaking; sun exposure, hormone fluctuation and family history play a role

Can melasma appear suddenly?

yes, it can, particularly after sun exposure

Can Melasma be caused by stress?

not typically, although having melasma can be stressful

Does vitamin C serum help melasma?

yes, in the form of L-Ascorbic acid it can help to brighten the skin and reduce the appearance of melasma

Does Vitamin E help melasma?

vitamin E helps protect the skin with its anti-oxidant properties

How do I fix melasma on my face?

sun protection with sunscreen that is UVA and UVB protective, ideally tinted containing iron oxides. Other prescription treatments include: retinoid; azelaic acid; cysteamine; glutathione; tranexamic acid

How can I treat melasma at home?

avoid sun exposure and wear tinted sunscreen daily even while at home

Does retinol help melasma?

yes, it helps by renewing the skin cells to help accelerate skin

Does exfoliating help melasma?

no, it can irritate or microtear the skin and result in redness in addition to the brown melasma

Can vitamin C treat melasma?

yes, in the form of L-Ascorbic acid it can help to brighten the skin and reduce the appearance of melasma

Can Melasma be treated with laser?

there is some benefit with picosecond lasers for melasma but most people require topical therapy in addition to laser

What is the main cause of melasma?

sun exposure

What is the difference between melasma and hyperpigmentation?

melasma typically occurs at the forehead, upper cheeks and skin lip due to sun exposure and hormonal activity. Hyperpigmentation can occur anywhere and typically after inflammation like acne

What is the difference between melasma and chloasma?

no; theyre synonyms

What hormones cause melasma?

there is a role of hormonal activity as patients with birt

Is melasma cancerous?


Is melasma and freckles the same?

no; freckles or ephelides fade when sun-exposure is limited. Melasma persists even when there is no sun-exposure

Is melasma and autoimmune disease?


Is melasma an inflammation?

no; it is deposition of extra melanin

How can I reduce melasma pigmentation naturally?

use of vitamin C can be hepful

How can I permanently remove melasma from my face?

there are no permanent fixes for melasma, unfortunately. However treatment can be used to minimize its appearance

What vitamins are good for melasma?

Vitamin C topically and Niacinamide (B3)

What hormone triggers melasma?

possibly estrogen

What chemical peel is best for melasma?

glycolic acid

Should I see a dermatologist for melasma?

If it is bothering you to see it, or you feel it impacts your social interactions, seek out a dermatologist

How long does it take for melasma to fade?

it can take years and may not fade entirely

How do you get rid of stubborn melasma?

oral rx (Tranexamic acid) or topical therapies (retinoid; azelaic acid; cysteamine; hydroquinone; glutathione)

Is melasma caused by estrogen or progesterone?

both of these hormones are believed to play a role in triggering melasma



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