ZocdocAnswersWill laser treatment remove hyperpigmentation from face?

Question

Will laser treatment remove hyperpigmentation from face?

I went on birth control pills for a period of time earlier this year, and then ended up stopping pretty soon after because I couldn't handle the side effects. One thing I was left with was a patch of melasma that just doesn't seem to be going away. Is there a chance I could get rid of it with laser treatment?

Answer

Melasma is a very common side effect of birth control medication. In most patients melasma will go away on its own within a year after going off birth control. If it doesn't start fading soon after stopping the pills, then one should consider treatment if the symptoms are not tolerable. Physicians that can treat melasma include primary care physicians and, in severe cases, dermatologists. Melasma is caused by an overproduction of the pigment melanin in the skin. While it does typically recede on its own, sometimes it needs to be treated. Treatments include hydroquinone cream, topical acne medicines known as tretinoins, or even just plain high intensity sun screens. None of these treatments should be started before talking with your doctor. Laser treatments are available, but due to the possibility of unwanted side effects including loss of pigment in the area, it should be considered after other treatments have failed. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician to get an initial evaluation. You may decide to give it some time, or proceed with the more conservative treatment. If you are already past this stage, then you may decide to consult right away with a dermatologist for more advanced treatments. Good luck.

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