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Treating Melasma (Aging Skin)
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Treating Melasma

Kevin C. Smith MD FACP FRCPC

Melasma is a common skin condition that affects women between the ages of 20 and 40, and its effects are more pronounced on people that naturally have a darker skin tone. In melasma, the sun exposed skin, most commonly the face, becomes significantly darker, leaving patches of skin that are much darker than the other areas. The darkening of the skin is usually patterned, affecting the cheeks, upper lip, nose, and chin area. On rare occasions, the forearms can also be affected. While the condition is not life-threatening, it can affect appearance, and have an impact on a person’s social and emotional life.

Melasma is a relatively common skin condition, and there will naturally be many “panacea claims” marketed. Unfortunately, there is no diet, vitamin, or lotion that will treat melasma or other forms of facial pigmentation, and time and money should not be wasted on these products. A much more effective solution for both your wallet and for your skin is to regularly apply sunscreens with a high SPF such as Anthelios® SPF60 in the morning and Lustra® at night. For severe cases, a prescription with 1 part ® 0.05% cream and 4 parts Anthelios® SPF60 sunscreen can accelerate healing. However, treatment can take some time, and sun protection will need to be regularly and consistently applied in order to have a long-term effect.

In some cases, Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatments can improve melasma and other facial pigmentation problems. The Cutera 600 IPL is optimized for reducing facial pigments. In all cases, sun avoidance and consistent use of sunscreens is the most important step to preventing and treating melasma. Click on our sunscreen tab, or for general skin care, visit


aging skin,   melasma,