As common as the patchy brown pigment of melasma is – a conservative estimate puts the number of women affected worldwide at at least a billion – it’s also one of the most difficult skin conditions to treat and, in turn, one of the most frustrating to live with.
Melasma is fueled by UV light, just like sunspots. And it’s influenced by hormones, as with acne and the scarring it leaves behind. But unlike them, melasma is far harder to tamp down. In fact, the devices frequently used to eliminate the discoloration associated with sunspots and acne tend to make melasma worse. That’s because their heat can trigger the formation of even more pigment in the weeks following treatment.