41 Years Old, Melasma for 6 Years, Melanage Mini Peel - Philadelphia, PA

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*Treatment results may vary

I have had persistent melasma since 2010 that...

I have had persistent melasma since 2010 that started on my upper lip and spread to left and right cheeks, then between and above my eyebrows. Unlike other cases, I was not pregnant nor had I been taking birth control pills. I started using topical creams (just hq 4%) in 2010 which helped slightly and then tried two laser treatments (can't remember what kind) in 2012. The laser treatments did not help but I am not sure if it caused melasma to spread. I am one of those people who is vigilant about sun protection and never leave the house without recently applied 50 spf on, but it spread anyway. A derm had suggested the Melanage peel to me a couple years ago but after reading about it I was too nervous to try because at this point I'm afraid of doing anything to my face that could make anything worse. When I learned of the mini-peel I felt that was more in my comfort zone. The mini peel was applied at my derm's office after my face was cleaned with acetone. I drove home with it on and washed it off after exactly 2 hours. This is really the starting point to the peel--I felt like the success of the rest of it was up to me. The container of melanage creme compounded for me will last maybe 3 months (keep it in the refrigerator!) and I was asked to make an appointment for one month after the peel for follow-up. Along with the creme I was given a foaming wash, the soothing balm (1% hydrocortizone), moisturizer, and a tinted 30 spf emollient. The first week is not fun. The peeling that happens is more like flaking especially on the driest parts of your face. After that week you can go back to your normal daytime skin care regimen. This is the point at which I discovered how horrible I look like without moisturizer for 7 days too!! Yuck. At night, I have continued with the foaming wash and the creme. My face has continued to peel/flake but that's what really helps the melanage creme to work so I put up with it as long as it doesn't feel too itchy or hot. I avoid my jawline now which was the worst part. So after two weeks, I can say that the melasma is disappearing!! It is completely amazing to me because my expectations were not high. It is going away where my skin is already dry, like around my mouth and on my cheeks, but it is staying for now between my eyebrows. I'm hoping eventually that will go away too. The tinted spf I was given is not fabulous and I was ready after the first week to go back to my 60spf physical block sunblock. I recommend this to any melasma sufferer... and one more thing, I've tried to figure out why I got melasma in the first place and think it is possible that I had a mild zinc deficiency from 20+ years of having a plant-based diet. Now I make sure to eat one or two boiled eggs a day and a zinc supplement 2x a week. I also now take vitamin D supplements because I heard that might be a problem. So... if you have melasma, I wish you the best of luck. It was so hard for me, I couldn't look people in the eye with my "mustache" and "dirty face." This peel has really changed things for the better.

8 months follow-up-- Melanage peel

Some observations about my results:

The peel did a lot to diminish the brown patches and I'm glad I did it. The month following the peel my skin looked pinkish but also fresh and "bright". As months have gone on, basically what I have is a very pale complexion (honestly a pallor) with faint dark melasma patches, and darker skin under my eyes and on upper lids. I think this is because the hydroquinone peel works to stop melanin production everywhere, not solely on the melasma. So it's given me a racoon-ish look... not super attractive but better than before. I should note that I use 60 spf sunblock obsessively so that's part of it.

The person who did the peel said it could be repeated in a year. I think instead I'll ask for a new prescrip for 4% hydroquinone and tretinoin and go at the spots locally as I did before the peel. And use a kojic acid mix they compound. I would prefer not to blitz my face with a peel again.

Also good is that I think little, if any, melasma has come back. I take zinc and also vitamin D. Everyone is different but that appears to work for me.

Ringpfeil Dermatology-- they are great!

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
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