Treatments for Melasma Vs Sun Damage

I have small brown patches on both my upper cheeks and I am not sure if they are melasma or sun damage. I read that treatments for sun damage (IPL, laser treatment) will not help with melasma. My question is, is the reverse also true? If I use a topical cream and my spots are actually sun damage, will I see any results?

Doctor Answers 5

Lightening creams help both melasma and sun damage

Products such as Triluma, Blanche, Lumixyl etc will improve pigmentation from both melasma and sun damge. The new Fraxel Dual is also good for both of these problems.

New Orleans Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Melasma Treatments

Melasma is a common disorder that is often difficult to treat. It isn't unusual for a patient to become frustrated after trying a variety of treatments in an attempt to obtain satisfactory results. Like most other complicated skin conditions, a combination of treatments paired with the proper skin regimen works best! Topical de-pigmenting agents such as hydroquinone or other melanin inhibitors along with a topical tretinoic acid to increase skin cell turnover, hastens the fading of uneven patches. This commitment along with specific medical-grade chemical peels, appropriate laser treatments and diligent protection , can enhance the likelihood of reducing or resolving melasma !

#melasma #chemicalpeels # unevenskincolor

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Melarase creams for pigmentation and skin discoloration and dark spots on the skin

Melasma and skin spots are caused by several factors which you have assessed accurately.  I would begin treatment with topical creams such as Melarase and then continue with once monthly MelaPeel treatments to exfoliate and drive out some of the pigment. 

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

Go Both Ways

These often are one and the same. Without question, the leading cause of extrinsic aging of the skin is sun exposure. One of the results of sun exposure is what we dermatologists call dyschromia. This is a fancy name for the unattractive pigmentation which blotches the skin.

Besides the prudent use of sunscreens, there are two main types of topicals which can be used. One of these would be a Retinoid. Retinoids, besides being an anti-aging formulation can also handle dyschromia on their own. However, adding something with hydroquinone, or a hydroquinone relative like arbutin will give your regimen even more potency. There are a host of other fine ingredients which will decrease pigmentation: licorice, niacinamide, glucosamine, paper mulberry, kojic acid, and azelaic acid.

Triluma, a prescription product combines a Retinoid with hydroquinone (and a mild steroid).

Arnold R. Oppenheim, MD
Virginia Beach Dermatologist
4.5 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Different treatments for Sun Damage vs. Melasma

Hi Violet,

We think hydroquinone bleaching programs are an excellent option for Melasma. We have not found TriLuma or any other 4% prescription to really do the trick for resistant Melasma. With more difficult cases, we use two programs, one that is produced for us by a pharmaceutical company and another called Cosmelan. The % of hydroquinone bleaching agent in these products is much higher than the standard prescription and thus yields better results.

For sun damage, the gold standard is q-switched lasers. Q-switched lasers are the same type used for tattoo removal, birthmarks, freckles and other pigmented lasers. They are hands down the most effective for any type of pigmented (brown) sun damage. 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.