Melasma | Vancouver & Surrey BC


Melasma is a common skin condition that presents as patches of dark pigmentation on the skin. Melasma most commonly affects the forehead, upper lip, cheeks, and forearms, but it can affect any part of the body that is regularly exposed to sunlight.

Often referred to as the “mask of pregnancy,” melasma frequently affects pregnant women and then fades after childbirth. For those who experience chronic melasma, the condition usually darkens and lightens with time, becoming most visible in the summer months.

Though melasma is not painful or physically uncomfortable, people who are affected by melasma can feel very self-conscious about the appearance of the condition. That is why Shine MD offers melasma treatments that can reduce the appearance of the pigment.

Book a Melasma consultation at our Vancouver clinic.

What Causes Melasma?

As you may know, the pigment that gives our skin its tanned color is called melanin. Melanin is responsible for our skin tones, eye colors, and hair colors, and it protects us from the harmful UV rays emitted by the sun. Specialized skin cells called melanocytes are responsible for producing and storing melanin. When we experience sun exposure, melanocytes generate more melanin to protect us, darkening our skin.

Melasma occurs when melanocytes overproduce melanin, and pigmented splotches appear on the skin. People of color are more likely to experience melasma, as darker skin has more active melanocytes than lighter skin. Women are also significantly more likely to have melasma than men, and according to the Cleveland Clinic, 90% of melasma cases affect women. Scientists believe this may be because female hormones contribute to the development of melasma.

Pregnant women are the most at risk for experiencing melasma, and women who take hormonal birth control or other medications containing synthetic estrogen are also more at risk. After pregnancy, melasma often fades away, though it may reappear in subsequent pregnancies or later in life.

Melasma is also significantly affected by radiation and ultraviolet light. The heat, light, and UV rays that are emitted by the sun cause melasma to become worse. Melasma can also be worsened by the ultraviolet rays produced by tanning beds, or even by frequent exposure to LED lights emitted by screens.

Melasma Treatment at Shine MD

Melasma may look similar to other skin pigmentation, like sunspots or freckles. It can be mistaken for other skin conditions. The physicians at Shine MD are General Practitioners wit Special Interest in Dermatology who can diagnose melasma and create customizable treatment plans.

Your medical assessment for melasma may be covered by the Medical Services Plan of British Columbia with and MSP referral.

It is important to note that melasma is a challenging condition to treat. Treatments are aimed at reducing pigmentation. While laser treatments such as the Halo and Moxi are often effective at reducing melasma, in some cases, they can lead to increased pigmentation. The use of lasers in the treatment of melasma is performed frequently, with thoughtful consideration of patient goals and expectations.

We offer the following treatments that can help improve the appearance of melasma:

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*Individual results may vary.