Melasma in Women – Treatment Options

Melasma in women is not painful or damaging to overall health. However, the suggestive dark patches of skin can have a significant impact on one’s appearance. Women are very conscious about their looks and melasma can be a cause of social embarrassment.

Since any exposure to the sun aggravates melasma and the discoloration, the problem is difficult to treat.

Treatment Options

Prior to starting off with the treatment, it is important to understand that melasma develops gradually. The treatment is also a slow process. It may take several months for the discoloration to disappear.

Hormone related to Melasma may fade without any treatment. So if it is pregnancy induced melasma, the discolorations may go away soon after delivery or when you discontinue medications with hormones.

Topical Creams

The best treatment and most easily accessible treatment option is using topical cream. The creams are widely available on the market. Although over the counter creams are available, it is always wise to use one under the guidance of a qualified dermatologist. Creams containing chemicals that diminish the discoloration are the usually the primary choice for treatment. A chemical called hydroquinone is frequently effective. It is easily available over-the-counter in 2 and 4 percent concentrations. You must start off with the smallest concentration as there is a risk of side effects such as skin irritation and more pigmentation. This increases with higher concentrations. Prescription medications are available with the following elements:

  • Hydroquinone (HQ)
  • Tretinoin
  • A combination of HQ, corticosteroid and tretinoin

Avoid Sunlight

Regardless of the kind of treatment you go for, it may not work if you don’t keep melasma away from sunlight. Sunlight can cause skin discoloration and affect treatment. Hence, make sure you wear a sunscreen every day, even when it is cloudy. Dermatologists recommend using a sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays. The skin responds well to a sun protection factor of 30 or more. Zinc oxide and titanium oxide are more effective than chemical blockers.


Many salons and dermatology clinics recommend microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and laser resurfacing. These are the three major treatment options to remove the outer layers of the skin. Since the new skin that surfaces will not be hyperpigmented. Hence, the treatment eliminates as the fresh skin grows. The peels usually take less than an hour. Microdermabrasion treats the top surface via removing dead skin through small crystals or other abrasive materials. Laser resurfacing uses laser light beams to remove the surface skin cells.


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