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What Is the Best Way to Treat Melasma?

In the Kansas City fall, when your tan is fading, you may notice that some patches of dark skin are sticking around. Or when you’re pregnant, you may have unusual blotches on your skin–brown or gray, typically on the forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin. Well this condition has a name, and it has a treatment. It is melasma, also known as chloasma, sometimes called “the mask of pregnancy.” It doesn’t affect your health, but it does put dark spots on your skin that you may very much not want. In order to find a cure for melasma, we need to know what it is and what causes it. This article will go through what melasma is, where it comes from, how it affects you, and how you can best get treated for it–right here in Kansas City.

What is Melasma?

Although melasma is often associated with pregnancy (because it can be activated by the hormones associated with pregnancy) it can affect women in all walks of life, as early as the teens up into late adulthood. Melasma isn’t painful, and doesn’t have any side effects other than discoloration, but it can be very troubling. It’s difficult to treat, and there’s a lot of misinformation about it.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you’re more likely to get melasma if you have a darker skin type, likely because your skin has more active pigment-producing cells. Melasma occurs when these cells are overstimulated and produce too much pigment. This is not unlike the process of getting freckles, except it occurs over a much larger area of the skin.

And although melasma is much more common in women, it has been observed in men. It also may be genetic and run in families.

What Causes Melasma?

There are many different causes for melasma, but two major ones. The first is hormones (which can include hormone medications, including birth control or hormone replacement therapy). This is why melasma is so commonly associated with pregnancy.

The second main cause of melasma is sun exposure. But contrary to popular thinking, it is not merely the remnants of a tan or a sunburn. Melasma is exacerbated by the sun’s rays, but also by heat and visible light, meaning that sunscreen may not be effective in blocking melasma from taking effect.

How Do I Treat Melasma?

For starters, if you’re pregnant and experiencing melasma, you probably are best served by letting the pregnancy run its course. The hormones that are affecting you won’t be easily or effectively helped by any medication or treatment until you’ve given birth and the hormones have worked their way out of your system.

On the other hand, if you’re on other hormone-activating medicines, such as birth control, and wish to have your melasma treated, there are definitely things that can be done. These include:


This is a skin-lightening topical treatment that is generally the first thing a dermatologist will recommend to a patient with melasma. It is a prescription treatment (coming in liquids, creams, and gels).

Corticosteroids and Tretinoin:

These may be prescribed either after the hydroquinone, or with it (the three together are sometimes called “triple cream”.)

Azelaic Acid or Kojic Acid

These are alternative treatments to the above prescriptions that target the melasma spots.

The Chemical Peel

In the event that the above mentioned medicines do not work, the dermatologist (such as Quinn Plastic Surgery & Aesthetic Center in Kansas City) can do a chemical peel which will not only treat melasma but also age spots, sun damage and scar tissue.

Getting melasma treatment in Kansas City is a simple and comfortable process, and it only lasts 15 to 30 minutes. The peel takes a few days to a week to resolve, and will restore your skin leaving it new and clean.

More treatments may be required for stubborn cases, or if the melasma returns. The good news is that the treatment will not only remove the melasma but also age spots and other skin blemishes. According to the American Academy of Dermatologists, this type of treatment for melasma may take up to a few months, and it is recommended to follow your own Kansas City dermatologist’s advice. It is also recommended that in the days after the peel you stay out of direct sunlight.

Other treatments recommended by the AAD include microdermabrasion, dermabrasion, laser treatment, or a light-based procedure.

At Home Treatments

In addition to the treatments you get from your dermatologist at Quinn Plastic Surgery & Aesthetic Center, you should establish a good cleansing regimen for your skin, as pollution can exacerbate melasma. It’s recommended that you cleanse your face every night. Also, vitamins C and E can help heal damage from sunlight. Applying these vitamins as a cream or serum topically is better than taking a supplement. Using a good moisturizer after applying the vitamins is a good idea, and then your best advice is to be patient and diligent in your routine. The melasma can go away–it just takes time and perseverance.

Where’s the Best Melasma Treatment in Kansas City?

Melasma treatment in Kansas City is best found at Quinn Plastic Surgery & Aesthetic Center. Although any dermatologist can prescribe creams, the best place for the full and complete melasma treatment is with the good doctors at Quinn Plastic Surgery & Aesthetic Center, who work with melasma patients every day and have the staff, equipment, and materials on-hand to work through any stubborn melasma problem.

To get a personal consultation, contact the professionals at Quinn Plastic Surgery & Aesthetic Center in Kansas City at (913) 492-3443

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When you commit to your beauty journey, you are choosing to take how the world sees you into your own hands. That’s an empowering feeling. Dr. Quinn and his team at Quinn Plastic Surgery & Aesthetic Center are here to honor that commitment and help you achieve the best results for you and your body. These are your decisions. Our role is to help you make the most of them. Schedule a consultation today to get started on your beauty journey.

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