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Melasma (Pregnancy Mask) OR Hyperpigmentation Treatment in Ottawa

What is Melasma ?


Also known as Pregnancy mask, Melasma is a very common skin condition characterized by dark discoloration of sun-exposed areas on the face. Melasma typically appears as irregularly shaped but defined blotches of light to dark brown hyperpigmentation on the face. The patches are usually on the forehead, cheeks, nose, upper lip and chin.

What are the risk factors in developing Melasma ?

  • Sun exposure is probably the leading cause of Melasma
  • Sex is a definite risk factor. Although men can be affected, women represent 90% of Melasma cases
  • Women in their reproductive years (30-50) are the most affected
  • Hormones are another important risk factor. Pregnancy, taking birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy during menopause predisposes one to Melasma
  • Individuals with darker olive skin complexion such as those of Hispanic, Asian and Middle Eastern descent are more prone to developing Melasma
  • Exposure to some abrasive products or irritating treatments can also cause Melasma . An example of this is waxing of the upper lip.
  • Some medications can be the cause in a minority of cases (Dilantin, Hydantoin are 2 examples).

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What are some of the treatment options for Melasma ?

Melasma is one the most frustrating chronic skin conditions for both the physicians and patients because it is very difficult to treat.

Melasma is one the most frustrating chronic skin conditions for both the physicians and patients because it is very difficult to treat.

Some treatment options are:

  • First and foremost, treatment must include daily application of a good high-SPF sunscreen with UVA protection and protective clothing such as a wide brim hat.
  • Sun avoidance when possible, UVA screens for the car, home and work windows.

    The Obagi Nu-Derm Program is an 18 week skin care program specifically aimed at reducing the hyperpigmentation seen in Melasma. It uses medical grade ingredients (Vitamin C, Hydroquinone 4%, Tretinoin in strength varying from 0.025% to 0.1%) to reduce the over active melanocytes, which are the cellular elements in the skin that makes the skin look darker.

    After meeting with Dr. Caroline Tosoni and confirming that you have a medical diagnosis of Melasma, she will then prescribe a customized skin care regimen for you using the OBAGI products. Dr. Tosoni will usually see her patients in follow-ups every 6 weeks while they are in the18 active treatments weeks of the Obagi Nu-Derm Program.

Please refer to the OBAGI's full description in the Skin care products section on the home page to find out about all of the benefits of the Obagi Nu-Derm Program.

  • Vitalize Peels for Melasma

    The Vitalize Peel uses a strong yet gentle chemical formulation using a unique blend of peeling agents such as 0.3% retinoic acid (obtained by physicians only), alpha-hydroxy acid (lactic acid), Beta-hydroxy acid (salicylic acid) and resorcinol. Patients with milder form of Melasma can see an improvement in their skin clarity after a series of 4-6 Vitalize peels.

  • Neostrata Glycolic Acid Peels for Melasma

    Glycolic Acid Peels are milder facial peels. They are made from naturally occurring Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) derived from sugar cane extracts. Neostata Glycolic Acid Peels come in 4 increasing concentrations, 20,35,50,70%. They benefit either milder Melasma cases or are used to maintain an even skin tone after more intense treatments have been completed such as OBAGI NU-DERM Program, Intense Pulse Light treatments or Fraxel treatments. When done for maintenance, glycolic acid peels are typically done every 4-8 weeks.

  • Intense Pulse Light (IPL) / Photorejuvenation for Melasma

    Photorejuvenation or Intense Pulse light Therapy (IPL) is a non invasive treatment by which a broad spectrum of light is safely delivered to effectively treat skin imperfections brown discoloration (Melasma) caused by sun damage or hormonal changes. The Intense Pulse Light is delivered to the deeper parts of the skin (dermis) and leaves the superficial aspects of the skin untouched (epidermis). The light is attracted to the browns pigment in the skin. The heat from the light vaporized it and the end result is the brown being sloughed off on the surface of the skin. Three to five IPL treatments, spaced 3-4 weeks apart, are usually required to significantly reduce the severity of brown skin discoloration.

  • Fraxel Dual 1927 non Ablative Laser Resurfacing for Melasma

    The Fraxel Dual 1927 laser is an innovative non ablative, skin resurfacing fractionated laser. As the original and most widely adopted fractional laser system, the Fraxel Dual 1927 laser is accepted as the gold standard for effective non ablative fractional skin resurfacing. Effective and safe, this laser delivers dramatic and predictable results for all skin types, with minimal disruption to the Patients daily routine. The Fraxel Dual 1927 laser as FDA clearance for treatment of many skin conditions including Melasma and Pregnancy mask. When doing a Fraxel treatments for Melasma, the settings are much milder than when treating fine lines, wrinkles, dilated pores or acne scars. That means that the downtime from these treatments is negligible. The protocol for Melasma is usually to so 3 treatments every 4 to 6 weeks and then wait 6 months before seeing if further treatments are necessary.

If you think you have Melasma and would like to try to minimize the impact it has on your life, contact Dr. Caroline Tosoni for more information or to book an appointment at 613-244-5151. We look forward to meeting with you.

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PLEASE NOTE: Appointment Booking or Cancellation must to be done directly over the phone (613.244.5151).

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Click to view before and after photos of various medical aesthetic treatments performed by Dr. Tosoni.

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