Laser Technology and Clinical Therapy For Melasma and Pigmentation

Melasma is a common skin condition that causes grey or brown patches to appear on the skin. It is a form of hyper-pigmentation that most often occurs on the cheeks, forehead, upper lip and bridge of the nose. Spots of discoloration or darkened patches on the skin are also referred to as age spots, sun spots, solar lentigines or senile lentigo, and are all forms of hyper-pigmentation. Though pigmentary issues can affect all skin types, it is more prevalent in those with darker skin.

At California Dermatology Care, we are proud to offers patients the latest, most advanced technology and clinical therapies for treating melasma and pigmentary disorders. With various treatment options for all skin types, we are trusted by patients all over Northern California and beyond to achieve effective and lasting results.

What Causes Melasma and Pigmentation?

The skin gets its color from a pigment called melanin, made by cells in the skin known as melanocytes. When these cells become unhealthy or damaged, it can affect melanin production. If the body produces too much melanin, the skin can get darker, causing hyper-pigmentation. Pregnancy, hormonal changes and sun exposure can contribute to this process. Alternatively, post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation often affects those with acne and can occur as a result of tissue damage, wounds or specific skin treatments, such as chemical peels or dermabrasion.

Protecting Your Skin and Preventing Melasma & Hyper-Pigmentation

With expertise in the treatment of pigmentary disorders, Dr. William Ting and his team of clinical specialists recommend several ways to protect the skin from discoloration and pigmentation issues, including:

  • Strict daily sun protection – Using zinc or titanium-based sunblock with SPF 45 and reapplying between 10 am to 4 pm when outdoors will help to defend against pigmentation. Wearing a hat and sunglasses will also help to protect the skin from sun damage.
  • Minimize estrogen consumption – Any use of exogenous estrogen will worsen pigmentation issues. Discontinuing the birth control pill and avoiding diet groups such as alcohol, beans and soy is strongly recommended, as excess consumption may cause the liver to produce too much estrogen.
  • Avoid specific treatments – Dr. Ting advises explicitly against the use of IPL or Fraxel for the treatment of melasma, particularly for those with darker skin tones, as there is a substantial risk of worsening pigmentation issues. While microdermabrasion can be helpful for some patients, it must be done in a medical setting under the supervision of a board-certified dermatologist.
  • Establish a comprehensive skincare routine – Dr. Ting recommends a combination of clinically tested skincare ingredients. This regime should include an antioxidant cleanser, vitamin C products followed by sunscreen application in the morning, then alternating between bleaching cream and a prescription-strength topical retinoid in the evening. In your consultation, Dr. Ting can examine your skin and work with you to establish a suitable skincare routine.
  • Take supplements – Our team of clinic specialists will assess whether oral supplements that contain polypodium leucotomos or oral tranexamic acid are a suitable therapeutic option for you.

How Can Melasma and Pigmentation Be Treated?

There are various methods available today to help reduce the appearance of melasma and hyper-pigmentation more quickly. The most suitable treatment for you will depend on your skin tone and the depth of discoloration. Dr. William Ting and his specialist staff at California Dermatology Care are proud to be the only dermatology clinic in the Bay Area to offer a range of highly developed, state-of-the-art medical therapies for pigmentary issues. Based on your skin type and current condition, our expert team will determine the most suitable procedure and tailor it specifically to your needs.


LumaBright Peel

The LumaBright peel is an excellent treatment option for patients suffering from melasma and pigmentation. This procedure is an enhanced vitamin A Melanage peel that can safely treat stubborn pigmentation for all skin types. At our clinic, this chemical peel has achieved the highest satisfaction among our patients and continues to be the first choice for many of those seeking to treat pigmentary issues. The LumaBright peel is a 30-day process and relies on a partnership between the aesthetician and the patient.

This treatment begins with the peel application, performed by one of our expert staff. The peel resembles a white mask that you then wear home and remove at a specific time as discussed during your procedure. You will be given a 30-day post-care kit and instructions to follow for the next portion of your treatment. The routine is simple, with three skincare products to use in the morning, followed by two at night. A follow-up consultation is scheduled for the third day of treatment to ensure the process is going smoothly according to the predetermined skincare plan. We examine your progress at two weeks, and again at one month, where we typically see a phenomenal transformation not only in the improvement of pigmentation but in the overall texture and tone of the skin. Once the process is complete, we will work with you to design a maintenance plan that will help to manage your condition and preserve the LumaBright results. Patients usually accomplish this with a clinically tested and tailored skincare regime that complements the program.

When undergoing the LumaBright peel, you should expect one week of redness, scaling and mild itching. For this reason, Dr. Ting usually suggests one week of downtime to give the skin sufficient time to recover. Since this treatment does not deliver heat into the skin, it is safe for all skin types and especially beneficial for those with darker skin. It also minimizes the risk of post-treatment hyper-pigmentation. While other superficial chemical peels can help treat melasma, these methods often provide subtle, incremental benefits and often require multiple treatments. At California Dermatology Care, Dr. Ting recommends the LumaBright peel for those seeking a quick, convenient and significant reduction of melasma or post-inflammatory hyper-pigmentation.

Laser Treatments

Clear + Brilliant Permea Laser

The Clear and Brilliant laser uses low energy fractional technology to gently resurface the skin. This minimally invasive and non ablative procedure requires little to no downtime and can help treat melasma and discoloration in patients of all skin types, including those with darker skin. The Clear and Brilliant laser can also improve skin texture, firmness, overall sun damage and signs of aging. Patients also concerned about pore size and fine lines will be able to see an improvement in these areas alongside achieving a clearer skin tone.

Because it not only gently resurfaces the skin but also allows for deeper penetration of adjunctive skin brightening products, at California Dermatology Care, we uniquely combine this procedure with topical antioxidant treatment, nourishing the skin with vitamin CE ferulic acid serum for maximum results. We also apply topical TXA (tranexamic acid), which is a powerful ingredient used particularly in the treatment of melasma to brighten the skin and improve discoloration. As a result of our multi-purpose treatment, many of our patients notice a natural glow and more radiant complexion immediately following the procedure. Expect gentle exfoliation for a few days, which can be easily covered up with makeup.

CUTERA Enlighten Pico-Genesis Laser

The Pico-Genesis laser is a revolutionary, next-generation treatment that works in picoseconds to improve discoloration. In fact, this Nd:Yag device is quickly becoming the new gold standard in the treatment of melasma and pigmentation. Based on highly developed picosecond technology, the Pico-Genesis laser works to shatter the pigment, allowing it to be reabsorbed by the body over time.

At our clinic, we perform this procedure monthly as a series for approximately four to six months, depending on your condition and skin type. There is no topical numbing or downtime required for this treatment, so you can resume regular activity immediately after with only mild products and sun protection. Ideal candidates for the Pico-Genesis laser would be those with mild to moderate pigmentation issues who would like to avoid downtime. As one of the latest and most advanced devices, the Pico-Genesis laser has been praised for its convenience and effectiveness in treating pigmentary issues.

Picosure Laser

The PicoSure laser is FDA-approved for the treatment of melasma and hyperpigmentation. As one of the most powerful lasers, the PicoSure delivers Alexandrite 755nm energy into the skin in picoseconds (trillionths of a second) and subsequently shatters the pigment, which is then reabsorbed by the body over time. While a lot more energy is delivered in shorter time internals, collateral skin damage is extremely minimal.

This procedure should be performed in a series, with treatments spaced out once every two months. Though there is no downtime required, you should expect some redness after treatment and a sandpaper-like texture, but no visible peeling or scaling. After the procedure, our clinical specialists will provide you with gentle skincare products to help soothe the skin. Dr. Ting and his team at California Dermatology Care have performed PicoSure laser for patients of various skin types and ethnicities, including Asian Americans and Hispanic Americans, achieving an excellent record of results.

GenesisPlus Laser

The GenesisPlus laser delivers gentle Nd:Yag 1064nm energy and offers a comfortable, non-ablative treatment with no downtime required. A relatively conservative form of laser therapy, this makes it suitable for all skin types. The procedure feels similar to a hot-stone massage and works to generate collagen in the skin and diffuse pigmentation.

Ideal candidates for the GenesisPlus laser would be those seeking to treat mild pigmentary issues or facial redness. The procedure has also proven beneficial for improving skin texture, smoothing out fine lines, reducing pigment, shrinking pores, and minimizing acne scarring by remodeling scar tissue. At California Dermatology Care, we typically perform this treatment monthly as part of a series.

Spectra Laser

The Spectra laser is a non-invasive, non-ablative laser that treats melasma and hyperpigmentation with no downtime required. The Spectra laser is praised for its safety, versatility and industry-leading reliability in treating both melasma and post-inflammatory pigmentation. The device combines a high-power design and built-in customized parameters to ensure safe treatment and thorough, personalized results.

At California Dermatology Care, the Spectra laser procedure is completed as a series of monthly treatments, often requiring up to 10 sessions to produce the desired clinical outcome. While the skin may appear slightly pink or red after the therapy, there is no downtime, no peeling and no scaling of the skin associated with this procedure. With a tailored treatment plan designed by Dr. Ting and his staff, the technically advanced Spectra system can provide transformative benefits for patients suffering from melasma and hyperpigmentation.

Topical Therapy for Melasma and Pigmentation

As a complement to these treatments, we offer a wide array of topical therapeutic options for melasma and pigmentation, including topical tranexamic acid, retinoid, Kojic acid, vitamin C and hydroquinone (4-10%). As experts in skincare and clinical treatment, our team can examine your primary needs and tailor these ingredients specifically to you.

Schedule Your Consultation at our Premier Bay Area Dermatology Clinic

Dr. William Ting and his expert team of clinical specialists are proud to offer patients a range of technologically advanced, highly effective methods for treating melasma and pigmentation. With many treatments available that are grounded in cutting edge dermatological science, the best way to determine your most suitable option is to schedule a consultation at California Dermatology Care – the center of excellence for treating pigmentary disorders for patients in Northern California and beyond. In your consultation, we will carefully analyze your skin type and condition to determine the best option, before customizing it specifically to your needs. To learn more about our procedures and begin your journey toward brighter and healthier skin, contact us and schedule your consultation by texting us today at 925 328 0255.

*Patient education matters to us. The information on this page has been reviewed by the board-certified dermatologists of California Dermatology Care. If you have any questions about our procedures or treatments, please get in touch with us today.

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