Melasma is a very common skin problem that causes brown to gray-brown patches on the face with sun exposure. It is most common in women and can affect the skin of the cheeks, nose, forehead, chin, and upper lip- typically in a distinctive pattern. It also can appear on other parts of the body that get lots of sun, such as the forearms and neck.


The cause of melasma remains unknown but clearly hormonal factors and exposure to sunlight are critical to the development of melasma.

Melasma is a disorder of the pigment bearing cells in our skin called melanocytes. Melasma affected skin has increased melanocytes. Melanocytes in skin affected by melasma also show evidence of being more active than melanocytes in normal or unaffected skin.

It is still not known why certain areas of the face are predisposed to developing melasma while others are not involved. Hormone receptors, blood vessels, stem cell factors, and cutaneous nerves may play a role.


Treatment of melasma is very challenging and even with excellent results from a treatment, the pigment of melasma can and very often does return.

Sun block and Sun Protection- The most basic and most essential part of any treatment regimen for melasma is daily- every single day, even cloudy days- use of a broad spectrum sun screen that contains a physical blocking agent -zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide.

Topical Products-Because melasma is a disorder of pigmentation, topical products that suppress the production of pigment (melanocytes) are helpful in the treatment of melasma.

  • Hydroquinone
  • Retinoids
  • Arbutin
  • Kojic acid
  • Indian Kudzu
  • Vitamin C

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels may improve or reduce the appearance of pigment in the skin from melasma, sun damage, acne, rashes, or other blemishes.

Call Sound Plastic Surgery TODAY and speak with our Master Aesthetician to see what treatments would be best for you!