121 East 60th Street, Suite 8AB, New York, NY 10022

Ph. (212) 285-1110

Long Island

901 Stewart Ave, Suite 240, Garden City, NY 11530

Ph. (516) 512-7616

New York City (212) 285-1110

Garden City, NY (516) 512-7616

Melasma Treatment in New York

Melasma, also known as chloasma, is characterized by irregular patches of dark skin on the face. These tan or brown patches usually occur symmetrically on the cheeks, upper lip, nose, or forehead. The symmetry of melasma distinguishes it from other conditions that cause the darkening of the skin.

Melasma is a common condition and is found more often in women. Those with darker skin types (including Indians, Hispanics, Middle-Easterners, and North Africans) are more prone to melasma than those with lighter complexions.

Within a patch of melasma, pigment-producing cells (called melanocytes) are increased in number and each melanocyte produces more pigment (called melanin). Increased melanin in the skin leads to the tan or brown coloration.

The cause of melasma is not fully understood. However, genetics, hormonal changes, and sun exposure are known to play important roles. For example, melasma often occurs with pregnancy, hence the term “mask of pregnancy.” Oral contraceptives can also trigger melasma.

Although there are some diseases that cause similar changes in the skin, melasma itself has no association with internal disease.

Melasma is a pigmentary condition of the face affecting mostly women but also some men. It may be related to birth control use, pregnancy or the sun. Dr. Rokhsar has been able to effectively treat melasma with Fraxel Laser technology. His findings have been published in a major medical journal. He has recently presented his findings on this subject at New York Dermatologic Society as well as several national laser conferences.

Fraxel Laser NYC: Treatment of Melasma

Melasma is the appearance of patchy brown, tan, or blue-gray facial skin discoloration that typically appears on the upper cheeks, upper lip, forehead, and chin. Melasma affects women between the ages of 20 to 50, and although possible, is rarely seen occurring in men. An estimated 6 million women in the United States live with melasma and is most common among pregnant women. People who have olive or dark skin such as those with Hispanic, Asian, or Middle Eastern descent have a higher risk of melasma. Although the exact cause of melasma is unknown, some believe factors including pregnancy, birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, family history of melasma, race, antiseizure medications and certain other medications may play a role in developing this skin condition.

The invention of the Fraxel: Dual laser is a sensational breakthrough in the treatment of melasma. Fraxel:Dual is a subset of the Fraxel family of lasers. Fraxel Dual is equipped with a special wavelength that specifically targets hyperpigmented areas, dark sunspots, and melasma. Until recently, creams and sun avoidance have been the mainstay of melasma treatment. The invention of the Fraxel:Dual laser provides those with melasma a faster, more effective way to erase the mask of melasma they have been hiding beneath. It is important to know that even if you decide to have Fraxel:Dual treatment for your melasma, you must be very careful to avoid excessive sun exposure to the face. The smallest amounts of sun exposure can cause melasma to get worse. Melasma is a very frustrating disorder to treat, but treatment with Fraxel: Dual along with sunblock can provide dramatic skin lightening and even the disappearance of melasma.

Melasma Treatment Before and After

Alex Laser Treatment of Melasma beforeAlex Laser Treatment of Melasma after

* Results may vary

Why choose Dr. Rokhsar for your Melasma Treatment?

As a highly-trained laser specialist and dermatologic surgeon, NYC’s Dr. Rokhsar is one of the leading melasma treatment experts in the area. Using Fraxel melasma treatment in the comfort of his Long Island office, he can help you regain your smooth, youthful skin. Contact Dr. Rokhsar today to schedule your consultation.

Melasma Treatment FAQ

How to prevent melasma?

Melasma is a common skin condition that causes brown or gray patches to appear on the face, often as a result of sun exposure or hormonal changes in genetically predisposed individuals.. Here are some tips on how to prevent melasma:

  • Wear sunscreen daily: Strict sun protection is the most important aspect of any melasma treatment plan, as it can help to prevent melasma from getting worse. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, and reapply every two hours when exposed to direct sunlight.
  • Stay out of the sun: Avoid direct sun exposure during peak hours, which are usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.. If you must go outside during these hours, wear a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and protective clothing.
  • Use topical treatments: Some topical treatments can help prevent melasma. Look for creams or serums containing vitamin C, tranexamic acid, azelaic acid, arbutin, or kojic acid. Retinoids, which are derived from vitamin A, can also be effective in preventing and treating melasma.
  • Follow a skin-healthy diet: While no foods or drinks are known to directly cause or cure melasma, maintaining a skin-healthy diet can help keep your skin healthy in general. Eat foods that are rich in vitamin D, such as almond milk, eggs, meat, milk, mushrooms, oily fish, orange juice, and yogurt.
  • Avoid hormonal medications: Certain hormonal medications, such as birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy, can make melasma worse. Talk to your doctor about alternative options if you are concerned about developing or worsening melasma.
  • Consult with a board certified dermatologist: If you are concerned about developing or treating melasma, talk to a board certified dermatologist. They can provide personalized recommendations and suggest treatments such as medication or cosmetic procedures such as lasers or peels.

Overall, preventing melasma involves protecting your skin from the sun, using topical treatments, following a skin-healthy diet, and avoiding hormonal medications. Consult with a board certified dermatologist for personalized recommendations and treatment options.

What does melasma look like?

Melasma is a common skin condition that causes dark, discolored patches on the skin, typically on the face. The patches may be light brown, dark brown, or blue-gray in color and can appear as flat patches or freckle-like spots. Melasma primarily develops on the face, usually on one or more of the following areas: cheeks, chin, forehead, nose, and above the upper lip. Occasionally, people develop melasma on their jawline, neck, arms, or elsewhere. Wherever melasma appears, it causes blotchy patches and spots that can look like freckles. Unlike dark marks and spots or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which both look like small spots in concentrated areas of the face, melasma is often widespread, appearing as brown or splotchy patches with uneven borders. Melasma can also look like another skin condition, so a dermatologist may perform a skin biopsy to rule this out. If you have melasma, you may also experience a melasma mustache, which refers to grayish-brown patches that appear on the upper lip. This gets worse through saving, threading or waxing. Laser hair removal is a great option to decrease this aggravating cofactor.

What causes melasma?

The exact cause of melasma is not clear, but there are several factors that are known to trigger or worsen the condition:

  • Hormonal changes: Melasma is more common in women and is often associated with hormonal changes (increased estrogen and progesterone). Pregnancy, birth control pills, and hormone replacement therapy are all known to increase the risk of melasma.
  • Sun exposure: Sun exposure is a major trigger for melasma. Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can stimulate the production of melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color, leading to the formation of dark patches.
  • Medications: Certain medications, such as antiseizure drugs and birth control pills, have been linked to melasma.
  • Skin care products: Some skin care products, such as those that contain fragrances, or irritants, can irritate the skin and trigger melasma.
  • Genetic predisposition: There is a genetic component to melasma, as it tends to run in families.
  • Thyroid disease: There is some evidence to suggest that thyroid disease may be a risk factor for melasma.

While melasma may go away on its own, it can also last for years or even a lifetime. Although the condition is not harmful to the body, it can be distressing for those who have it. Treatment options for melasma include topical creams, chemical peels, and laser treatments. It is important to consult with a board certified dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.

How to treat facial melasma?

While there is no known cure for melasma, there are several treatment options available to help manage the condition.

The most commonly used treatments for melasma are skin lightening medications that are applied topically. These medications include hydroquinone. Hydroquinone is a common treatment for melasma. Tretinoin and a mild corticosteroid are also commonly used in combination to even out skin tone. A bleaching regimen is commonly prescribed and if followed step by step, it has been shown to be very effective in decreasing melasma. It is most effective when using a Vitamin C ferulic serum in the morning followed by a biopeptide cream and covered with a sunscreen to ensure maximum protection. Dr. Rokhsar has a proprietary skin regimen that improves melasma dramatically in an overwhelming majority of patients with melasma.

At night a series of steps starting with hydroquinone fading pads followed by a retin-a cream then a prescription of hydrocortisone valerate cream is applied. A major improvement is noted after 2 months. You should follow up monthly with Dr. Rokhsar to assess your improvement.

Melasma can also be managed by protecting the skin from the sun. This includes using a high SPF sunscreen, wearing a hat or using an umbrella when outside, and avoiding peak sun hours. A skin-healthy diet rich in Vitamin D can also help keep the skin healthy in general.

Dr. Rokhsar also treats melasma with a variety of lasers including the Fraxel laser, pigments lasers and the Vbeam laser. Dr. Rokhsar published the first scientific study on the treatment of melasma with the Fraxel laser. Other treatments offered are chemical peels and hydrafacials which are complementary to Dr. Rokhsar’s Overall approach. Tranexamic acid both in topical and oral form is prescribed by Dr. Rokhsar. This FDA approved drug is a game changer in the treatment of tough to treat dermal deep melasma, especially when combined with other modalities like hydrafacial and lasers.

Although melasma can be frustrating to manage, it can be successfully treated with a combination of topical medications and sun protection, lasers, peels, hydrafacials, and oral prescription pills. Melasma is a skin condition that is quite difficult to treat, and while many of the same treatments apply for melasma as they would for hyperpigmentation, consistent sun protection and the use of appropriate treatments under the guidance of a board certified dermatologist are crucial for optimal outcomes.

What is the best treatment for melasma?

Other treatments for melasma include chemical peels and laser therapy. Chemical peels involve the application of a chemical solution to the skin, which causes the top layer of skin to peel off, revealing fresh, unblemished skin underneath. Laser therapy is a promising melasma treatment, particularly for those with treatment-resistant melasma that does not improve with more conventional options. Laser treatment of melasma is a tricky process and should be only performed by an experienced board certified dermatologist with vast experience in lasers. Dr. Rokhsar is double board certified in dermatology and surgery and is a fellowship trained laser surgeon. Lasers used in the office for melasma include laser resurfacing with the Fraxel laser, pigment lasers and vascular lasers.

New York Office Locations

Upper East Side Manhattan Office
121 East 60th Street, Suite 8AB New York, NY 10022
(212) 285-1110

Long Island Office
901 Stewart Ave, Suite 240, Garden City, NY 11530
(516) 512-7616

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About author - Dr. Cameron Rokhsar

Dr. Cameron Rokhsar

Dr. Cameron Rokhsar, MD, FAAD, FAACS, is the founder and medical director of the New York Cosmetic, Skin, & Laser Surgery Center. Dr. Rokhsar is a graduate of Harvard College and NYU School of Medicine. Dr. Rokhsar is double board certified in dermatology and micrographic dermatologic surgery, being one of the few select dermatologists in the country who is also fellowship trained in laser surgery. A researcher and innovator, Dr. Rokhsar is the creator of the non-surgical nose job and has been instrumental in the research and development of laser systems such as the Fraxel, CO2, Mirady, Vbeam, Themitight, and Ulthera devices. An Associate Professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC, Dr. Rokhsar actively teaches the cosmetic dermatology clinic to the resident at Mount Sinai. An expert injector of fillers, and a trainer for many companies, patients fly in from around the world to see Dr. Rokhsar in his Garden City and Manhattan offices in New York.

Learn more about Dr. Rokhsar | Dr. Rokhsar's Google Scholar