Melasma Treatments

Melasma is a common chronic skin condition often triggered by hormones that affects vastly more women than men. Though it has no painful symptoms, melasma can make people feel self-conscious. Its symmetrical brownish or grayish patches on the face are commonly called the “mask of pregnancy,” because half of all pregnant women experience melasma. Women who tan easily or have darker skin tones are more likely to develop melasma. The longer the condition is undiagnosed, the longer it takes for melasma treatments to work. If you notice these types of patches, don’t wait to make an appointment with one of our dermatology clinics in the Twin Cities area.



  • Causes:Triggers include lifelong sun exposure or skin inflammation caused by recent sun exposure, hormonal changes or treatments (such as pregnancy, birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy), irritation from scented skin-care products, and hypothyroidism. Those with a relative with melasma are more likely to be affected. It seldom affects people younger than 20 or older than 40 years. It’s important to evaluate the causes to determine the best melasma treatment and to know what to expect in general. Melasma may be a mild and temporary skin condition that simply needs to be managed for a discrete period of time. Some people struggle with melasma for years if not their entire lives.


  • Symptoms: The brown/gray patches or freckle-like spots generally appear on the forehead, bridge of the nose, cheeks, above the upper lip, on the chin, and in some cases, the neck or forearms. Often, a dermatologist can diagnose melasma just from looking at the skin spots, but with an atypical presentation a biopsy may be necessary to rule out other skin conditions. A Wood’s Light/Lamp may also be used to help determine the depth and extent of the melasma spots.


  • Treatment: There are plenty of ways to heal and show improvement. Melasma treatment options include a range of over-the-counter and prescription topical cream medications to lighten the skin. Hydroquinone is a popular first-line treatment, but tretinoin, corticosteroids, azelaic acid or kojic acid are also common choices for topical medications. Treatment of more advanced cases of melasma include gentle chemical peels, dermabrasion, microdermabrasion, microneedling, and fractional laser or light-based treatments. To ensure the condition does not worsen with treatment, it is essential that only a board-certified dermatologist evaluate and precisely treat melasma for each person’s unique skin condition. Treatment may take a few months and maintenance therapy may be required, especially for long-term chronic conditions. Protection from the sun with sunscreen or clothing is absolutely essential in the management of melasma.

Why Choose Zel for Melasma Treatments

You don’t have to live with these unsightly skin blemishes. Get the expertise and guidance of a board-certified dermatologist who can provide relief with timely medical treatment.

Contact us to schedule an appointment or virtual visit today.

*Results may vary per patient. Services vary by location.