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Melasma is a condition that causes the darkening of the skin on the forehead, cheeks, and nose. Pregnant women are especially susceptible due to their elevated hormone levels, which has given the condition the alternate name of “the mask of pregnancy.”

What is melasma?

Hyperpigmentation is an umbrella term for conditions where one skin patch becomes noticeably darker than the surrounding skin, most commonly caused by unprotected sun exposure. Most hyperpigmentations are harmless and treatable with cosmetic treatments and specific skincare ingredients.

One specific hyperpigmentation type is melasma, which affects over 5 million Americans. Melasma is different from other hyperpigmentation because hormonal changes within the body partially cause it. This is why melasma is known as “the mask of pregnancy,” as pregnant women are much more likely to have this condition.

Melasma is also referred to as a “mask” because it generally targets the face, resulting in dark patches of skin on the:

  • Chin
  • Cheeks
  • Nose
  • Upper lip

Different types of hyperpigmentation can be caused by various factors, such as:

  • Acne scarring
  • Medications
  • Inflammation from other conditions
  • Genetics
  • Sun exposure

Aesthetic melasma treatment

IPL, or intense pulsed light, has long been a popular melasma treatment. IPL treatment uses a broad light spectrum to generate heat, targeting and removing pigment. However, the heat diffuses to all the surrounding tissues, causing further issues such as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which causes more dark patches to appear. While intense-pulsed light can improve melasma in the short term, relapse is often observed within three months.

Additionally, several studies report that although IPL can effectively treat melasma, it is more effective when combined with other treatment types, such as topical creams.

IPL may still work for some patients, but less invasive procedures are usually preferred. At Allure Esthetic, our favorite melasma treatments include:

Chemical peels

A chemical peel dissolves the upper layers of skin to reveal a radiant new complexion and resolve concerns such as hyperpigmentation and melasma. From evening skin tone to stimulating natural collagen production, a chemical peel produces positively glowing results.

The chemical solution applied to the melasma causes the top layer of skin to shed, removing the unwanted melanin causing the dark patches. When the cells die off and are removed, your body initiates its healing response, bringing fresher skin cells to the surface.

There are three degrees of chemical peel: superficial, medium, and deep, depending on how many layers of skin the peel penetrates. Superficial peels have modest results with little downtime, while medium and deep peels are more dramatic but have significant recovery time compared to superficial peels.

Results from chemical peel treatments for melasma vary. Still, according to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, chemical peels have been helpful for melasma as a sole treatment or paired with others.

The following peeling solutions are recommended to treat melasma:

  • Trichloroacetic acid
  • Glycolic acid
  • Salicylic acid
  • Jessner’s solution, which contains salicylic, lactic, and citric acids
  • Tretinoin


In a microneedling procedure, a medical device covered with tiny needles makes thousands of invisible punctures on the skin's surface. These micro-injuries stimulate the body’s wound-healing response, increasing cell turnover and production of collagen and elastin. The result is skin that is resilient, soft, and youthful.

Microneedling is a highly effective melasma treatment for all skin tones. The punctures can be filled with skin-lightening compounds at the deeper layer, breaking up unwanted pigmentation and causing the surrounding skin to produce new skin that hasn’t yet been exposed to hormones and the sun. One of the benefits of microneedling for melasma is that it is generally safe and effective for all skin tones, including darker tones, which are particularly prone to developing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation following other treatments.

A new study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology states that “topical therapy with microneedling improved melasma severity with a large effect … beyond eight weeks [and] best results are seen at 12 weeks.”

Some of the ingredients that boost the effects of microneedling for melasma include:

  • Kojic acid
  • Vitamin C
  • Niacinamide
  • Retinoids
  • Platelet-rich plasma
  • Prescription brightening cream available at Allure Esthetic MedSpa

The Glow-Up package

At Allure Esthetic Plastic Surgery, our master estheticians have curated the Glow-Up Package, consisting of rotated chemical peels and microneedling sessions, offering the best facials Seattle offers.

The Glow-Up Package is a personalized facial treatment protocol that consists of three chemical peels and three microneedling sessions, rotated for a few months. The chemical peel and microneedling procedure is highly customizable, so your Allure Master Esthetician can target melasma while also caring for your skin type’s needs.

As we’ve seen, chemical peels and microneedling are effective melasma treatments. Combined, they provide powerful skin benefits by going below the surface to provide powerful rejuvenation and unwanted pigment removal.

The Glow-Up Package has many melasma benefits, including:

  • Improved skin tone
  • Smoother skin texture
  • Treated pigmentation concerns
  • Minimization of pores
  • Removal of dead skin

Because the Glow-Up Package is performed over many weeks, this prolongs and improves results. Packaging the six facials is also beneficial because it is more cost-effective than purchasing each session individually. As one of the best facial specials in Seattle, the Glow-Up Package provides medical-grade facials at a special price.

Why choose Allure Esthetic MedSpa for melasma treatment in Seattle?

At Allure, we believe in treating our clients like the individuals they are. We understand that by enhancing your looks, you hope to transform your life, boost your self-esteem and align your outward appearance with your inner identity – and we are fully committed to helping you achieve these goals. This includes listening to your concerns to construct customized treatment plans and emphasizing patient education to make the best decision for yourself.

Our staff is highly trained in the latest melasma treatments and is ready to help you embrace your natural beauty. Contact us today to schedule a consultation!

Allure Esthetic Plastic Surgery

(206) 209-0988

Contact our Seattle location in Washington

Seattle Plastic Surgeon Location

600 Broadway Suite 320 Seattle, WA 98122

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