We offer Vancouver melasma treatments (in Surrey), using a variety of methods. Our clientele comes to us from all over the Lower Mainland for our advanced approach to this skin problem. That includes Delta, Langley, White Rock, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond and beyond.
Our solutions for melasma and discolouration include:
- Laser and other skin resurfacing methods, such as with the Fraxel® DUAL laser, a fractional CO2 laser, or plasma-based tools.
- Mild laser peels and photofacials.
- Light exfoliation facials such as mild chemical peels, HydraFacial™ or microdermabrasion sessions (for maintenance).
- Prescriptions and cosmeceutical skin care (including quality, broad-spectrum sunscreens).
- Non-comedogenic, mineral makeup.
We also use our VISIA® skin analysis machine, to be able to pre-treat sun spots, or melasma, where pigments are forming beneath the visible dermal layer.
Melasma (a.k.a. chloasma) is a skin condition in which patches of brown or tan discolouration appear on the forehead, cheeks, lips, nose or forearms as a result of the body’s sudden overproduction of pigment. Sometimes called the “mask of pregnancy,” melasma can affect anyone, but is most often triggered in adult women—especially during the hormonal fluctuations associated with pregnancy, oral contraceptive use or hormone replacement therapy.
Sometimes, sun damage and other blotchy skin conditions can look like melasma. Most of the time, these hyperpigmentation problems can be treated the same way. Still, it’s best to receive a diagnosis first, to rule out any dangerous skin abnormalities.
To get started treating your melasma, we encourage you to book a consultation at our clinic.
How do your melasma treatments work, and why are they better?
We will often use a combination approach when it comes to treating melasma. We have found this is usually the best way to tackle a problem that rarely goes away with one-dimensional efforts. Having so many technologies at our disposal, we’re able to customize treatments to your specific case. Plus, our selection of tools also allows us to work at different depths in the skin, to truly target melasma where it is forming.
After our deeper melasma skin treatments, you may need repeated sessions, and ongoing maintenance, to keep your hyperpigmentation under control. We also offer these options at our clinic.
Our on-staff doctor will also be able to prescribe medications or other active skin ingredients, if they are suitable for your case.
By being able to treat you from start-to-finish, using all the tools at our disposal, we can better monitor your condition, for accurate, honed solutions. If we need to switch gears, or use a stronger or lighter treatment, we’ll be able to do that, without having to send you away to another provider.
With that in mind, our melasma treatments options include:
Being our strongest tools, our skin resurfacing lasers allow us to remove very thin layers of skin at a time – but more than can be done with mere exfoliation. In essence, this method creates very tiny, controlled injuries on your skin. Your body then naturally starts healing itself, by producing new skin cells. This can help to replace the pigement-affected areas where you are seeing melasma.
Deep skin resurfacing at our clinic can be performed with:
Laser photofacials for skin rejuvenation and pigment correction
Laser photofacials, also referred to as laser peels, can be used similarly to skin resurfacing techniques. The main difference is that they don’t work as deeply in the skin. Or, they target specific pigments, and not all skin cells. These options offer milder treatments for conditions like melasma.
Our laser peels can be performed with:
- Erbium YAG (Er:YAG) on a very light setting, to perform a mild skin peel (milder than chemical peels)
- PicoSure™, enlighten® or GentleMax Pro™ – to treat red or brown pigments in the skin.
Read more about laser peels, here.
Exfoliating facial procedures for skin maintenance
When you have a persistent skin condition like melasma, skin health via routine maintenance is ever more important. While facial exfoliators alone will not cure melasma, doing so routinely can help your skin regenerate itself more frequently. By getting rid of dead skin cells in the epidermis (top layer of skin), your body has no choice but to quickly turn out new, fresh skin. This can help get rid of the melasma-affected cells that are showing, while we work to treat melasma at a deeper level, too.
For skin maintenance, we recommend monthly procedures such as:
You can ‘mix-and-match’ the above treatments, though we recommend doing so with the advice of our skin specialists. Knowing your skin type, and the severity of your skin condition, can help us recommend a routine that’s right for you.
Prescriptions and cosmeceutical skin care for hyperpigmentation
Our on-staff doctor is a practicing physician who can also prescribe skin care ointments or creams to treat hyperpigmentation, including melasma. Common remedies for melasma include:
- Enzyme inhibitors that block melanocyte activity.
- Depigmenting agents (skin lightening products). This can include potent ingredients like fluocinolone, tretinoin or hydroquinone, which need to be carefully monitored for irritation or side-effects. They can’t be used long-term.
- Topical steroids (cortisone). This is also a short-term solution.
However, sometimes, a prescription-grade product is not necessary. There are over-the-counter options that use lesser doses of the aforementioned ingredients, or milder alternatives. Though, they’re usually only sold in doctor’s offices, and not in drug stores. These are called cosmeceuticals.
We sell these high-quality, non-prescription creams for hyperpigmentation at our skin clinic.
Sun protection to prevent melasma and its recurrence
We could have put this solution above, in the section about skincare. However, this preventative ‘treatment’ is so important to melasma, we felt it needed more attention.
If you have melasma, you should expect that sun exposure will flare up your hyperpigmentation. Plus, if you use any skin lightening products, or undergo any melasma treatments, your sensitivity to the sun will only worsen.
While all individuals should be re-applying sunscreen every two hours, melasma sufferers should heed this advice all the more.
In truth, no doctor or technology can help your melasma if you are not taking active measures to protect yourself from UV rays – whether from the sun, tanning beds, or otherwise.
You should always:
- Avoid being outdoors between 10 a.m and 4 p.m.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat and clothing that covers you up.
- Apply a broad-spectrum, high SPF sunscreen every day, even if it’s cloudy outside, or you are near windows. Then, reapply sunscreen every 2 hours.
We carry high-grade sunscreen products at our skin clinic, available for purchase. These include high SPF, mineral make-up options, and combination skincare with sunscreen.
What causes melasma?
Researchers are not sure exactly why melasma occurs. We do know that it happens primarily in adult women, and from overactive melanocytes in the skin. We also believe there are two main factors in melasma sufferers that trigger excess pigment production. This then leads to blotchy skin. They are:
- Hormone related factors – from pregnancy (progesterone surges), birth control pills, genetic conditions or other medications and therapies. Sometimes, melasma is called the “mask of pregnancy,” because of this.
- Sun exposure – as the primary source of pigment deformities in the skin, the sun’s powerful UVA and UVB rays can affect anyone, even on cloudy days, and through windows. It gets worse when you have melasma.
That said, some people can be simply more prone to forming hyperpigmentation problems, due to their biology.
We explain how pigment from melanocytes are formed in the body, here.
We explain how free radical damage (such as from the sun) affects skin aging and pigmentation, here.
Finally, you may want to learn about sun damage, in general, here.
We encourage you to have a read at the above sources, to better understand the underlying concepts behind melasma and skin pigment production.
What is the cost of treating melasma at your skin clinic?
The cost of melasma treatments can vary depending on your chosen treatment path, as well as the severity of your condition. The best way to find out an expected cost for solving melasma, is to come to our clinic for a skin consultation.
During your consultation, we’ll use the VISIA® system to take UV photographs of your skin’s lower layers. This will allow us to see how far your melasma has reached, and where new sun damage is likely to occur. We’ll also do a physical examination, and get to know more about your health history. Based on the information we gather, we’ll be able to make customized treatment recommendations, and explain each of them to you in more detail.
In case you’re wondering, knowing ballpark figures before your consultation is very hard to give, especially for something like melasma. Technically, the cost could start somewhere under $100 for a topical cream or microdermabrasion session. However, laser resurfacing treatments can go up to thousands per session. Plus, you’ll likely need a variety of treatments to truly help your pigmentation problems. It all depends on the specifics surrounding your case.
Our treatment pages (linked to above) do provide general pricing information. We encourage you to click through to those links, to learn more about them.
Please note: melasma is considered a cosmetic condition, and is not covered by MSP in B.C. for treatment. Your doctor may be able to prescribe topical pharmaceuticals for you, however. We are not aware of any private insurance carriers who cover melasma treatments, but we encourage you to ask, just in case.
If you live in Vancouver, Surrey, White Rock, Delta, Langley, New Westminster, Burnaby, Richmond or other nearby areas, we can help with your melasma!
Prices on this website are to be used as a guide, and not a definite cost for your treatment. Prices can change at any time.
Procedure results are not guaranteed, and can vary from patient to patient.