What Chemical Peel Would Be More Safe and Effective for my Melasma? (photo)

I am 39 years old with olive skin and have Melasma on my cheeks, would a jessner peel be for me? I tend to have sensitive skin and I don't want to make problems worse for my face. I have had a jessner peel before which was very aggressive but I had some results along with some hyperpigmintation afterwards which took about 6 months to get rid of. My melasma is still visible,so I am wondering if I did another treatment would it be safe and will I see even better results?

Doctor Answers 4

Treatment of melasma with chemical peels and more

Melasma is a chronic condition and a combination approach is usually required.  Chemical peels can be helpful but one gets better results if these are incorporated with other modalities such as sunscreen and sun protection, prescription bleaching creams, and brightening agents.  Laser peels and microdermabrasion are also alternatives to peels.  It's best to have this problem managed by a board certified dermatologist who can provide both the procedures and the medical options. 

New York Dermatologist
3.3 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Treating Melasma Requires A Long-Term Approach

As melasma is a non-curable, chronic skin condition, treatments to control and clear it require both maintenance and more individual, aggressive treatments. All patients with melasma should avoid the sun and be on a topical regimen of bleaching creams and exfoliants (the most effective of which are prescription strength and should be monitored by a board-certified dermatologist). There are many different types of office-based treatments which can be done with the appropriate frequency (as determined by you and your doctor) depending on the skin's needs and aggressiveness of treatment. These include micro-dermabrasion, chemical peeling, and laser treatments. I am a huge fan of chemical peeling for melasma. But as is the case with anything else, the effectiveness of chemical peeling really depends on the skill, knowledge and technique of the physician doing the chemical peeling. 



Channing R. Barnett, MD
New York Dermatologist
4.1 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Melasma and peels

Melasma is better treated as a life long hobby as it improves with incremental treatments and skin care rather than single isolated aggressive treatments.  The most important factor is to control the underlying pigmentary process before you even consider a peel or laser treatment.   We get all of our patients using Retinoids at bedtime, exfoliating cleansers, topical daytime antioxidants and skin ligheners and sunscreens with only Zinc based therapy as Zinc blocks and protects you from the widest spectrum of light.  Once they have settled into  a skin care program, we then 'mix it up' with alternating treatments including DermaSweep with infusions, Sal Acid Peels, BBL treatments, Radiance Peels, The Perfect Peel.  Big aggressive hits done once without ongoing skin care just don't work.

Steven Swengel, MD
Los Gatos Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Chemical Peel for Melasma?

Hi JLN.  Generally we do not recommend chemical peels for Melasma.  The reason is that Melasma is a chronic condition and any relief from a chemical peel is temporary.

Also, because it is performed in the office, it is generally more expensive than the alternative, hydroquinone.  

We prefer an 8% hydroquinone solution, applied with cotton pads.  Because of the 8% level, we also require our patients to go off the medicated pads every three months for at least 30 days.

Melasma will almost always come back, so putting our patients on a long term program has led to higher satisfaction for them.  

Harold J. Kaplan, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.3 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.