African American Female Melasma Treatment

I am a 49 year old light skinned African American female. I was on the Obagi system and noticed melasmi was getting lighter for about 3 months, then it just stopped working. Doctor then suggested Vi Peel which made my melasma darker which now after about 3-4 weeks melasma has gone back to its pre VI peel state. Now the doctor is suggesting a glycolic peel in increments of a low percentage and working my way up to stronger dosage. Does anything work for African Americans suffering from melasma!!! Or is it just a hit or miss???

Doctor Answers 2

Treating melasma and dark spots on African American or Olive skin with Melarase

My experience with African American skin and pigmentation has been positive to date.  The color and complexion of your skin is less a variable when you consider the propensity to pigmentation as the major factor.  I would begin a topical skin brightening regimen, such as Melarase AM and Melarase PM, which work well for dark complexions as well as lighter ones. Surgery90210


Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Melasma Treatment for African American Skin?

Hi 4310.  The issue is not so much your skin, but rather that Melasma is a very difficult condition to treat and manage.  While we think Obagi is a good program, it is a lower % of Hydroquinone than we typically use for problem Melasma cases.  Most of Obagi's products are 4% and we use two programs that can go as high as 8%.  We have patients stay on these programs for 3 months and then take 1 month off the Hydroquinone products.  We have about an 80% response rate for the program.  

While chemical peels are effective for exfoliation, the peel itself with do nothing for the melasma.  The peels are typically used n combination with the hydroquinone bleaching products to aid in absorption into the skin.  We use Retin A or glycolic acid products to aid in absorption of the HQ.  Hope this helps and good luck.

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.