The emergence of microneedling as an effective treatment for melasma is an exciting development. Historically, melasma has been among the most difficult skin conditions to treat. The blotchy, dark patches that typically occur on the face can affect both women and men but are commonly associated with pregnant women. That’s why melasma is often called the “pregnancy mask.” Treating melasma with microneedling at our Guelph dermatology practice is becoming increasingly popular.
What Is Melasma?
Melasma is a chronic skin condition characterized by hyperpigmentation that usually occurs on the cheeks, forehead, chin, upper lip, or nose. It’s caused when an excessive amount of melanin—a pigment that darkens the skin and hair—accumulates in certain areas. Even though dermatologists can treat melasma in various ways, the condition can’t be cured, and patients often experience flare-ups after spending time in the sun, after strenuous workouts, or simply because of changing hormone levels.
What Treatments Are Used for Melasma?
There are several reasons melasma is such a stubborn condition. One factor is that it’s often found in the dermis (the skin’s middle layer) in addition to appearing on the skin’s surface. Whitening creams may minimize the surface melasma but won’t affect the deeper layers of skin.
In addition to oral medications, vitamins (including Vitamin A in retinoids), and whitening creams, gentle chemical peels are among the most common melasma treatments. A trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peel can be adjusted to treat the skin at various depths. By using a conservative approach, we can perform multiple TCA peels to minimize the appearance of melasma.
Heat-based treatments such as lasers can actually cause more harm than good for melasma patients. That’s because the heat generated by the procedure can stimulate the formation of additional pigment in the weeks after treatment.
Treating Melasma With Microneedling
Microneedling has become a very popular skin rejuvenation treatment for patients concerned about early signs of aging or acne scars. A microneedling procedure involves gliding a pen-shaped device tipped with tiny needles across the skin, creating micro-channels at customized depths. These controlled injuries stimulate the body’s repair mechanism, creating new collagen that’s essential for smooth skin.
Additionally, these tiny channels provide an efficient conduit for funneling medications that treat melasma at the skin’s deeper layers. Highly concentrated prescription agents, including tranexamic acid (TXA), glutathione, vitamin C, and niacinamide, penetrate the skin either as the channels are created or immediately after the microneedling treatment. Recent studies of tranexamic acid, a synthetic version of an essential amino acid, have shown that it may actually prevent melasma from developing in some cases.
Why a Dermatologist Is Best for Treating Melasma
Even though you can find medspas or plastic surgery offices that offer melasma treatments, only Royal College-certified dermatologists have the training in treating skin conditions and knowledge of unique skin types that make them the best choice for melasma treatments.
At deRMA Skin Institute, Dr. Dusan Sajic customizes treatments based on the patient’s specific needs and often combines techniques to provide the most comprehensive results. Patients concerned about melasma come to our dermatology practice in Guelph from Kitchener, Cambridge, and throughout Southwestern Ontario.
If you’re looking for a dermatologist in the Guelph area and want to learn more about treating melasma with microneedling, you can contact us using the online form to request a consultation or call our cosmetic dermatology office at 1-888-803-3762 to schedule an appointment.