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Treating Melasma with Chemical Peels

Melasma is hyperpigmentation (brown, tan, or blue-gray spots on the face).

It is most commonly seen on the forehead, jawline, and in some cases, across the upper cheek area like a butterfly-shaped mask. Overstimulation of the melanocyte cells causes the melanin (pigment) in the skin to darken. It is mostly seen in women between 20 and 50 years old.

Causes and Treatments

What Is Melasma?

The exact cause of melasma is still unknown. However, the main contributors that we do know of are exposure to sunlight, internal and external hormonal imbalances, and genetic predisposition. With that being said, the sun is still the number one contributor to melasma, triggering hyperpigmentation in the summer months more than in the winter months. Also known as the “pregnancy mask”, melasma can be triggered by the drastic hormonal changes in pregnant women, causing a darkened butterfly-like mask on the face.

Vitamin C, topical hydroquinone, and alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) are amazing ingredients to help improve and treat signs and symptoms of melasma. Avoiding the sun with physical sunblock as well as umbrellas and/or hats will help control any and all melasma outbreaks.

For pregnant women, it is best to wait until after childbirth and or breastfeeding to treat any hyperpigmentation or melasma, as it is unsafe to do any treatments during those times. Some topical cosmetic products are safe. However, any products that contain certain active ingredients as well as whitening agents are to be discontinued during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Chemical peel have proven again and again to treat clients with mild to severe cases of melasma. PCA Skin has created a peel solution containing alpha hydroxy acids that specifically targets hyperpigmentation as well as fine lines and wrinkles. It also helps even out skin texture. The most well-known AHAs that help with hyperpigmentation are lactic acid, citric acid, and glycolic acid.

Brightening, Tightening, Hydrating Your Skin

How Do Chemical Peels Help?

Another acid that is part of the AHA family but that typically isn’t always recognized for its efficiency in tackling hyperpigmentation is mandelic acid. This acid is naturally found in bitter almonds and helps dissolve the bonds between dead skin cells to allow better exfoliation and sloughing of the outer layers of the skin. The combination of mandelic acid, lactic acid, and other botanical and antioxidant ingredients allows for a deep solution penetration into the skin helping to brighten, tighten, hydrate, and exfoliate the top layers. This allows for new baby skin cells to form and rise to the top of the skin for a glowing and even complexion.

As melasma can be difficult to tackle and treat, it is recommended to have a one-on-one consultation with your medical aesthetician to determine an appropriate treatment plan and/or series for optimal results. Typically, treatments are spaced 4 to 6 weeks apart for a series of 4 to 6 treatments. With that being said, depending on the severity of the melasma, it could take two series of 4 to 6 treatments.

It is important that patients who are looking to treat melasma follow the protocols (pre- and post-treatment) advised by their medical aesthetician, as that will ensure they achieve the best results possible. It is also important that clients keep a realistic frame of mind when treating melasma and not be discouraged with the progress rate, as treating melasma will always remain a gradual process and not an instant result. To book your chemical peel consultation with our medical esthetician, we welcome you to contact Dr. Torgerson’s Facial Cosmetic Clinic at your convenience.

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