How can it be treated or prevented?
Melasma is often a chronic issue. It can be present for the rest of your life, or it may disappear when hormone levels return to normal.
Because sun exposure is the most common way to cause recurrence, the best prevention is to wear sun protection daily. Sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher should be applied to the face, neck, and other exposed areas each morning, reapplying as needed throughout the day.
Doctors often treat melasma with topical medications. Creams, lotions, gels, or liquids come with different active ingredients, meant to enhance treatment intensity as needed.
This is the active ingredient in the typical first line of treatment for melasma. It’s sold in a variety of forms, including creams, gels, and liquids. These products also contain differing amounts of the active ingredient. Some of the lower concentrations of hydroquinone can be purchased at the pharmacy, while stronger concentrations should be prescribed by your dermatologist.
Tretinoin and corticosteroids
These are additional active ingredients that may be prescribed separately to enhance the skin-lightening process, or they may be combined with hydroquinone in what is often called a triple cream.
Your doctor may prescribe additional medications for skin lightening, including azelaic acid and kojic acid.
If topical medications aren’t helping, a procedure could be the answer. In-office methods include chemical peels, microdermabrasion, dermabrasion, laser treatment, and light-based procedures. Because each patient’s unique skin composition must be taken into consideration, it is imperative to have these procedures performed by medical professionals that can tailor the treatment to your specific needs.