What causes melasma and how to treat it at Cerulean Medical Institute in Kelowna BC

Melasma is a hyperpigmentation skin condition that most commonly affects women, although men can occasionally develop this form of hyperpigmentation. Although melasma is not a painful condition, it is one that can cause embarrassment or loss of confidence. Luckily, there are many treatments available to rejuvenate your skin and restore your self-esteem.

What is Melasma?

Melasma is a skin condition that appears most commonly as blotchy patches of hyperpigmented skin on the cheeks, chin, forehead, nose, and above the lips. Melasma can also appear as small spots that are sometimes mistaken for freckles. For some people, it develops on the jawline, neck, arms, and other areas. It can also take on a blue-grey tone for people who have darker skin types. Although melasma cannot be cured, it can be improved with safe and effective evidenced based treatments at our skin care centre in Kelowna BC.

Causes of Melasma

It is not known what exactly causes this condition, but recent findings have shown that the following factors might be possible triggers:

UV Radiation & Sun Exposure

UV radiation from the sun causes your body to produce melanin – the pigmentation in your skin, eyes, and hair. Leaving your skin exposed to the sun leaves you at risk of developing dark patches of pigmentation (melasma). Tanning beds are just as dangerous, if not more since they produce stronger UV rays than the sun.

Hormonal Changes

Changes in progesterone and estrogen hormonal levels have been linked to melasma. Women who are pregnant, have recently started or stopped hormonal contraceptives (birth control), or are using hormone replacement therapy (HRT) are all at risk for developing melasma.

Thyroid Disease

The thyroid is an endocrine gland in the neck area that has an important role in many body functions. The thyroid produces thyroid hormones that help break down food and regulate your metabolism, heartbeat, and blood pressure. For some patients, treating their thyroid disease also helped clear up their melasma.


Stress produces a different type of hormone called cortisol. Although research is still being done on the correlation between stress and melasma, some findings have suggested that stress triggers melasma because of the increase in cortisol.

Certain Medications

We have already discussed birth control pills as one medication that triggers melasma because of hormonal changes. Anti-epileptic medications and medications that make your skin sensitive to the sun can also be triggering in some people. Some of these medications include retinoids, certain antibiotics, and certain blood pressure medications.

Treatments for Melasma

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels can be customized for a variety of skin concerns, including melasma. The strength of your chemical peel can also be adjusted to accommodate all skin types, including sensitive skin. All our anti-aging chemical peels are made from medical-grade products with clinically proven benefits and results. Chemical peels can remove excess pigmentation whilst at the same time stimulating collagen production and cell turnover. The result is a brighter, healthier layer of new surface skin. You can add a chemical peel to your regular skin routine.  Strongly consider a chemical peel to rejuvenate damaged or blemished skin.

Laser Treatments

At Cerulean Medical Institute, we use state-of-the-art lasers and light therapy for the safest and most effective treatment. Laser energy can be used to remove unwanted pigmentation in the skin without damaging the surrounding skin cells. Pulses of targeted energy and heat generated by these lasers can also stimulate collagen production to create a smoother, healthier outer layer of skin. Depending on the size of the treatment area, you may need 4-6 laser treatment sessions scheduled about 3-4 weeks apart. Recent scientific findings have found that laser treatments are especially effective for people who have already been avoiding sun exposure or are using topical medications for melasma.


Microneedling is a minimally invasive procedure that uses tiny needles to puncture the skin and create micro-channels in the surface. These controlled injuries to the skin’s surface trigger your body’s natural healing process and the production of new collagen and elastin. This new collagen will restructure and restore the surface of your skin with added volume and a more even tone. Essentially, some of those brown patches of melasma are removed and covered by the new layer of healthy collagen and skin cells.

Medical Grade Skincare

It is imperative to apply physical sunscreen frequently when exposed to UV rays, whether outside or sitting by a window. Medical grade skin lighteners and brighteners used daily will help slow down the progression of melasma. Best melasma treatment results are seen in combination treatments performed patients who are compliant and diligent with their skincare.

Schedule a Consultation for Melasma

If you want smoother, brighter skin that you can feel confident about, give our Kelowna office a call on (778) 760-5050 today to schedule a consultation to discuss your treatment options in greater detail. Our skincare experts will be happy to develop a customized treatment plan that fits your cosmetic concerns, needs, and goals.






Dr. Praven Chetty is a multi-award winning aesthetic physician specializing in natural looking, long lasting results. Dr. Praven Chetty combines his vast knowledge of anatomy and ageing with evidenced based cutting-edge techniques for truly customized outcomes.