Skip to main content


The cause(s) of melasma is complex. All types of hyperpigmentation are caused by an overproduction of melanin by the pigment cells in your skin, or the melanocytes. This is true of melasma, brown spots, freckles, and moles. There is a genetic predisposition for melasma, with at least 33 percent of patients reporting that they have family members affected by melasma. It is a chronic condition for most people, though there are some melasma triggers that might cause it to only happen during certain life events—such as pregnancy. Melasma can be at the epidermal level, dermal level, or may be mixed, which is the most common presentation.

Woman with clear skin after eczema treatment in Palo Alto.


Some of the most common melasma triggers include:

Pregnancy: hormones are a factor in melasma, which is why those who are pregnant are particularly prone to this condition. Fortunately, the hyperpigmentation of melasma typically fades a few months after childbirth. However, you can speed up this process both during and after pregnancy with the help of a professional.

Hormone treatments: once again, hormones play a role in the development of melasma. Hormone treatments such as taking oral contraceptives, estrogen or progesterone treatments, hormone replacement therapy, and intrauterine devices (IUDs) containing hormones are an exacerbating factor in about 25 percent of women with melasma.

Hypothyroidism: low levels of the circulating thyroid hormone have been known to cause melasma.

Sun exposure and sun damage:

This is one of the most common causes of melasma and the most avoidable. Protecting yourself (and your skin) from the sun is important for everyone, not just those prone to melasma. This means avoiding skin exposure to UV rays by wearing long sleeves and wide-brimmed hats as well as adopting a quality sunscreen or sunblock regimen. Even wearing sunglasses has been shown to be beneficial in preventing the worsening of melasma!

Some medications:

There are some pharmaceutical drugs, such as some used to treat cancer, that tend to cause or exacerbate melasma. Additionally, some topical items have been linked to melasma such as scented cosmetics, deodorants, soaps, and other toiletries. These items can cause a phototoxic reaction triggering long-term, chronic melasma.


The ideal melasma treatment for you will depend on numerous factors, and your provider will go over your options during an individualized consultation. Some of the most commonly used treatments for melasma include the VI Peel, microneedling, Clear + Brilliant, chemical peels, and topical prescription and non-prescription products.

Melasma FAQs

Should I get Clear + Brilliant or a VI Peel for melasma?

Clear + Brilliant is a type of laser treatment that works by creating many tiny treatment “zones” in the top layer of the skin. It has to handpieces-1440nm and Permea 1927nm. It is the Permea handpiece, which can also be effective in milder cases of melasma and used for laser-assisted drug delivery of antioxidant or tranexamic serum by SkinCeuticals to improve your melasma. Remember-melasma can be controlled, not cured! Your provider will put together customized treatment plan most suitable for your skin type and degree of severity of your melasma to achieve the best results.

Will microneedling really help with melasma?

Yes, although microneedling is a very mild and minimally invasive treatment. It is often best paired with another treatment, such as a VI Peel, for maximum results. Microneedling works by triggering the healing and collagen production process in the skin by creating controlled, closed, painless micro-injuries at the target site.

How will a VI Peel help with my melasma?

A VI Peel is medium-depth peel, so it peels away more than just the superficial level of skin. It is a popular choice for many types of hyperpigmentation, including melasma, because it can remove deeper pigmented areas that some lighter peels don’t reach, and it is safe for all skin types.

Melasma Before & After

Individual results may vary, please schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss your aesthetic goals and we’ll put together a custom treatment plan that’s right for your skin.

Real Patient Before / After Photos*


Why Choose Palo Alto Laser &
Skin Care For Melasma?

Palo Alto Laser & Skin Care offers exceptional Melasma treatment in Palo Alto using state-of-the-art technologies. Our team ensures personalized care, guiding you through a tailored treatment plan. With a commitment to your comfort and satisfaction, we invite you to schedule a consultation. Experience the difference as we help you achieve a clear, rejuvenated complexion.

Schedule a

Contact Us 650-565-8683