Can Microdermabrasion Remove Melasma?

I have had 6 Microdermabrasion treatments and do not see a significant improvement. I'm concerned. I may be paying for a service that will not treat Melasma and want to know what treatment will address this?

Doctor Answers 8

I would not recommend Microdermabrasion to remove Melasma

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 I would not recommend microdermabrasion as an effective treatment for melasma. Melasma is a deep, resistant form of hyperpigmentation. Microdermabrasion exfoliates exfoliates the skin at a superficial level, so it would be unable to reach the damaged skin cells. To correct melasma, it is necessary to reach the dermis of the skin, where the melasma is contained.

The best approach for treating melasma is a combination of a prescription topical regimen and chemical peels. The topical regimen should include a hydroquinone product with a minimum of 4% strength, and a tretinoin product at a strength appropriate for your skin type and condition. Hydroquinone helps to suppress the overactive pigment-producing cells, and tretinoin exfoliates the skin and repairs cellular damage while helping to drive the hydroquinone deeper into the skin. There are several good skin care lines that offer products which include these ingredients in various forms, so there are options available to suit your particular needs and preferences. As for chemical peels, there are different types of acids that will help this condition. In this instance, the depth of the peel is more important than the particular peeling agent used.

As with any procedure, it is very important to work with a practitioner who is very skilled in administering the particular peel that they are providing. This becomes even more important with a more aggressive procedure. There are a few very good peels on the market right now that have been designed specifically to treat melasma, and have also been formulated to improve patient safety.

Microdermabrasion combined with Melarase AM and Melarase PM to improve pigmentation

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Microdermabrasion is an superficial treatment and cannot change or alter the functioning of a hyperstimulated melanocyte.  I would recommend melanocyte cellular control with the Melarase AM and Melarase PM products. Our practice specializes in melasma treatment in Los Angeles. 

Raffy Karamanoukian MD FACS

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Does microdermabrasion treat melasma?

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Microdermabrasion will not remove the melasma. Microdermabrasion is a superficial treatment used to remove the very superficila skin layers. While melasma is a condition which affects the deeper layers of the skin. There are much better options to treat melasma.

Microdermabrasion not likely to help melasma

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Melasma is a difficult skin condition to treat and often requires many treatments. Bleaching creams, good skin care, sunscreen, IPL treatments, Retin-A are some of the first treatments. It can be very challenging to treat but I have found very good results with most patients by starting with this regimen.

Good Luck!

Robert F. Gray, MD, FACS

Robert F. Gray, MD, FACS
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon

Microdermabrasion won't work for melasma

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Microdermabrasion is a technique which involves cleaning the outer layers of skin from the epidermis. The pigmentation with melasma is much deeper. Your observations are correct: Microdermabrasion won't help much if at all. Melasma is a challenging problem to treat with any topical, IPL, or laser based therapy.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 104 reviews

Microdermabrasion is not a treatment for melasma.

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Microdermabrasion is helpful for refreshing and exfoliating your skin. We often combine this with a light glycolic peel to enhance your results.

I have tried IPL PhotoFacial treatments for melasma with unsatisfying results.

You should consult a board-certified dermatologist familliar with melasma treatments to discuss your options.

I hope this is helpful for you.

Eric M. Joseph, MD
West Orange Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 435 reviews

Microdermabrasion for melasma

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Microdermabrasion can improve the penetration of topical lightening agents. It is not the best treatment for melasma, in my opinion. Fraxel Duel is a real breakthrough to improve melasma, but remember, sun avoidance and regular use of bleaching agents will be necessary to maintain the benefit.

Mary P. Lupo, MD
New Orleans Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Microdermabrasion doesnt work for melasma, Lasers do!

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Microdermabrasions do not work for melasma. There are many, more appropriate options, including chemical peels, and of course, the newest and quite effective picosecond pigment removal lasers, like the Picoway.

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.