April 17, 2017



The joys of new motherhood aside, there's one potential side effect of pregnancy most women would likely rather live without: melasma. Thought to be caused by hormonal changes like those that occur during pregnancy, particularly during the second and third trimesters, or as a result of taking birth control pills or certain other types of medication, melasma may appear as areas of hyperpigmentation, dark skin or discolouration on the face, abdomen or other parts of the body. Read on to find out why melasma happens and learn about possible melasma treatments at our Vancouver, BC skin clinic.

How Melasma Happens

Though the exact cause of melasma isn't known, the dark patches that characterize it could, as mentioned above, be triggered by factors like pregnancy, birth control pills and other meds that make skin more prone to pigmentation after exposure to UV light. A leading trigger for underlying melasma, which you may not even know you have is considered to be uncontrolled exposure to sunlight, particularly in people (mainly women) with a genetic predisposition to the condition.

What Type of Melasma Do You Have?

A consultation with an experienced, professional anti-aging skin specialist will uncover which of the following types of melasma you have, and what the best course of treatment will be:

  • Epidermal melasma: Affects the surface or top layer of the skin, is characterized by well-defined edges or borders and usually responds easily to treatment.
  • Dermal melasma: Affects the second, deeper layer of skin, is characterized by lighter-brown patches with less precise borders and is more difficult to treat.
  • Mixed melasma: A combination of the above two conditions, this variety generally improves with treatment.
  • Chloasma: When melasma occurs during pregnancy, it may be called chloasma or the mask of pregnancy and often appears as dark, blotchy, brown patches of skin on the forehead, upper lip and cheeks.

Preventing Melasma: Your First Line of Defense

Considering the damage that too much exposure to sunlight can do to your skin, your first step towards prevention of melasma is sun avoidance, in other words, cover up with protective clothing, always use a physical sun block and, as much as you can, stay out of the sun for prolonged periods of time. Also wise: getting started on a medical-grade skin-care system, which includes products that introduce age-appropriate combinations of skin protection and strengthen the skin's barrier function.

Melasma Treatment. And Don't Forget About Correction.

Though it can't be cured, modern medical approaches have, in recent years, helped patients with melasma see tremendous improvement in their skin. Melasma treatment success is usually achieved through a comprehensive approach that includes suppression and prevention, correction, and ongoing (lifelong) maintenance and management:

  • Suppression and prevention: Achieved with medical-grade skin-care products that may include retinol and lightening agents, the latter of which will lighten only areas of the skin that are hyperpigmented or discoloured/darkened.
  • Correction: A Halo Hybrid Fractional Laser treatment can destroy columns of the pigmented, damaged skin characterized by melasma, allowing it to heal and renew as healthy, non-pigmented skin. Diagnosis via an in-depth skin analysis with one of our experienced medical aesthetician is essential to determining whether use of this powerful tool, or any other type of laser, will be beneficial.
  • Ongoing maintenance: You can help prevent melasma from reappearing through proper prevention, accomplished with the use of a medical-grade sunscreen and a true, physical sun block
Before and After Halo Hybrid Fractionated Treatment

Before and after Halo Hybrid Fractional Laser for melasma.

Your Tailored Melasma Treatment Plan

We are a team of skin specialists, including medical aestheticians with 10-plus years of experience, working under the direction of a facial plastic surgeon with 20 years of experience. We specialize in designing signature, comprehensive treatment plans for melasma and other skin conditions based on your unique needs.

What Are You Waiting For?

If you're ready to experience beautiful, youthful skin for yourself, contact us. Our team of experts will work closely with you to find the best treatment plan, keeping your budget and downtime needs in mind, to help you achieve radiant skin that shines and glows. We offer the complete spectrum of medical services, both surgical and non-surgical, to help you get the results you desire. We would like to help you get one step closer to loving your skin.

Get the conversation started

Tell us what you’re interested in and we’ll introduce you to your dedicated Patient Care Manager who will be reaching out for a pre-assessment call⁠.