Melasma is a common pigmentary problem affecting Asian skin. It causes brown or gray patches to appear on the skin, primarily on the face. Unfortunately, it is also one of the hardest pigmentary disorders to treat. Having melasma is akin to having diabetes or high blood pressure. It is a chronic condition and requires long term maintenance. Melasma can be improved but it cannot be cured.
Treatments for melasma are numerous and varied. Chemical peels, topical lightening agents, lasers, intense pulse light and oral medications have all been used to treat melasma. Best results are obtained with combination therapy. Mono-therapy more often than not results in sub-optimal results and patient dissatisfaction. In general, at least 2 modalities need to be used, depending on severity of the melasma. For mild cases, lightening cream and chemical peels are used. For more severe cases ,low-energy lasers or intense pulse light , and oral medications are used.
Melasma can be very distressing. Although it cannot be cured, it certainly can be improved and combination therapy is key. Not all treatment modalities are suitable for everyone. Speak to your doctor for a personalized treatment plan.