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Melasma Treatment

Melasma is notoriously a difficult condition to treat, as it is never truly “cured.” We approach treatment of melasma with a combination of multiple different modalities, including: appropriate skin care and protection, chemical peels, microneedling, intense pulsed light (IPL) and fractional laser. A series of treatments is usually necessary.

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Melasma is a common skin problem that occurs primarily in women. It manifests as prominent brown or gray-brown patches on the cheeks, nose, forehead, chin and just above the lower lip. Although it isn’t dangerous or life-threatening, it’s a major cosmetic concern and can cause embarrassment and distress. Sometimes called the “mask of pregnancy,” it’s common in pregnant women and those who are on hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills. The cause of melasma is a complex combination of hormonal changes within the body and excess sun exposure.


Sometimes melasma fades away on its own; this commonly occurs after childbirth or cessation of hormone therapy. However, it can also be tenacious and difficult to treat. The condition may affect a relatively large area on the face, and conservative treatments may take several months to produce significant results. Although it can be stubborn, it’s possible to significantly reduce the discoloration caused by melasma. Dr. J. J. Wendel Plastic Surgery offers the effective melasma treatment Nashville patients need to look and feel their best.


Hydroquinone is considered a first-line treatment for melasma. It is applied directly to the affected area to help lighten the skin. The medication is available in several forms including lotion, cream gel and liquid. Over-the-counter products containing hydroquinone are available, but prescription-strength solutions used under professional supervision are more effective.


When melasma doesn’t respond to hydroquinone, additional topical medications such as tretinoin or corticosteroids may be added to the regimen to enhance results. Other effective treatments include Wendel Skin Care Koji Pads with kojic acid, azelaic acid, glycolic chemical peelsmicrodermabrasion and laser therapy. Dr. Wendel and his experienced staff will tailor your melasma treatment to your skin type and personal needs.

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