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Many factors affect the appearance of your skin; Aging, sun exposure, skin conditions, and scarring can all contribute to changes in the color and texture of your skin, and one skin condition that affects about five million Americans is melasma. 

Melasma causes gray or brown spots or patches to form on the skin, particularly on the nose, chin, cheeks, lips, and forehead. These patches can also appear on the elbow and forearms, although this is not as common. 

What Causes Melasma?

There are several common causes of melasma:

  • Cumulative sun exposure over years without adequate sun protection 
  • Genetics
  • A change in hormones, often through taking birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy
  • Pregnancy

Although this is a condition that most commonly affects women, men can also develop melasma.

These spots can be incredibly frustrating to deal with, as discoloration on the face can negatively impact your confidence, and over-the-counter treatments may not be enough to clear the condition. Some skincare products and lotions can potentially  irritate the condition and make it worse.

How is Melasma Treated?

We recommend taking steps to protect yourself from  potential ultraviolet damage thereby preventing melasma from forming in the firstplace with mineral (physical) sunscreens, wide -brimmed hats, and protective clothing.

As frustrating as melasma can be, three in-office treatments can clear melasma once it appears on the skin:


This treatment involves a gentle stream of crystals that exfoliate the outermost layer of your skin and removes dead skin cells and the impacted areas of the skin’s surface. Typically, microdermabrasion is used in conjunction with other skin care procedures including chemical peels and dermaplaning. 

Chemical Peels

This relatively short treatment involves the application of a mild acid to the surface of your skin that will gently exfoliate the top layer of skin. This then smooths the texture of the skin without pain. The acid is very mild, and while you may experience discomfort, the discomfort will lessen as your skin adjusts to the treatment. 


 This nonablative fractional laser is  designed to  specifically treat pigmentation issues and discoloration on the skin, making it the perfect laser treatment for melasma. This nonablative laser is safe for almost every skin type, and because this treatment takes almost no time at all, it’s become known as a “Lunchtime Laser”- completed over a single lunch break.

 The laser treatment works by creating micro-channels with minimal disruption to the first layer of the skin to deliver the chemical compound directly into the targeted area of skin. The laser then seals these microchannels and the compound is absorbed into the skin, clearing away the discoloration.

 Your board-certified dermatologist will work closely with you to determine the best treatment for you to meet your specific needs. Life can be stressful enough without worrying about the appearance of spots on your face. Don’t let your skin get you down! 

To find out which melasma treatment is right for you, request an appointment today!

You can also see Dr. Walia’s laser treatments in action on her Instagram page here!