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Is Laser Treatment for Melasma and Pigmented Spots Safe?

Melasma, or pigmented spots on the skin, affects about 5 million Americans. It’s a fairly common condition that researchers believe is actually very underdiagnosed. While it’s not life-threatening, it can affect your appearance and self-esteem because it’s so commonly found on the face.

To understand treatment options and why melasma laser treatment might be a great solution, let’s explore the condition’s causes and common treatments.

What to Know About Melasma

What Is Melasma?

Melasma occurs when certain parts of the skin develop more melanin, a pigment that gives skin cells their color. The skin produces melanin to protect itself, so if it thinks it’s threatened, it might make more in certain spots. It can be caused by:

  • Anti-seizure medication
  • Birth control
  • Increased estrogen levels
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Pregnancy
  • Genetics
  • Makeup and other skincare products
  • UV light from tanning beds and sun exposure

It most commonly develops on the face, neck, and upper torso. Unlike moles, pigmented skin spots are flat. Spots are typically brown or blue-gray and may be large patches or look like large concentrations of freckles.

What Are the Types of Melasma?

There are three types of melasma. The first is epidermal melasma. This is the easiest to treat because it only exists in the skin’s outermost layer.

When pigmented spots reach down to the second layer of skin, it’s called dermal melasma. While it’s harder to treat because it goes deeper, laser treatment may help.

The most common type is mixed melasma. This is when some pigmented spots exist only on the skin’s outermost layer, but others go deeper.

Who Is Most Likely to Get Pigmented Spots and Melasma?

Because pigmented spots often develop on the faces of pregnant women, melasma is often called the “mask of pregnancy.” However, 50% to 70% of people develop melasma at some point in their lives. While anyone can develop pigmented skin spots, it’s most common among people with medium to darker skin.

Is Melasma Laser Treatment Safe?

Treatments for melasma range from exfoliation and over-the-counter topical medications to dermatologist-administered dermaplaning, a more rigorous form of exfoliation. Because pigmented spots often go deeper into the skin, these solutions aren’t for everyone.

Melasma laser treatment can be used in cases when pigmented spots reach the skin’s lower layer. As the skin absorbs the light from the laser, it effectively vaporizes high concentrations of melanin.

While some pigmented spots may require multiple treatments, laser treatments for pigmented skin don’t often have more side effects than redness or dry skin. It’s a non-invasive procedure that uses nothing more than concentrated light energy — no medication or radiation is involved. When other treatments have failed, laser treatment is often a safe alternative.

Melasma Laser Treatment in Illinois

For melasma laser treatment in Illinois, visit one of the Dermatology and Mohs Surgery Institute’s many statewide offices. Because our team’s expertise ranges from surgical and medical procedures to cosmetic skincare solutions, we pride ourselves on a holistic approach to skin health. If you’ve tried other solutions to treat pigmented skin and none of them work, contact us about a laser treatment consultation.

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