Hyperpigmentation vs. Melasma

You may have heard words like hyperpigmentation and melasma, but what do they mean, and how do you treat them? Let’s take a look at the difference.


Hyperpigmentation is a fancy word for brown spots caused by the sun. Lucky for us, we can treat it with skincare and laser treatments. Lasers like CO2, Vivace, IPL, Frax 1940, and Clear and Brilliant can lighten sun-damaged skin. You have many options when it comes to lasers, so getting a consultation with a provider ensures you get a treatment plan for your skin type and concerns.


A form of hyperpigmentation, melasma isn’t caused by the sun but by hormonal changes in your body. Many women notice these skin changes during or after pregnancy, but can often occur as we age. Darker patches of skin on a person’s cheeks, chin, upper lip, and forehead are where you will notice melasma. Like other forms of hyperpigmentation, we can treat melasma with skincare and laser treatments. We usually recommend the Clear and Brilliant laser using the Permea handpiece. Melasma can be tough to treat with lasers and is a chronic issue, so maintenance is critical.


Whether it’s hyperpigmentation or melasma, it’s important always to use sunblock to protect your skin. Products that contain Vitamin C & E, Hydroquinone (RX), and Retinol can help lighen up the skin on the face and chest, making them less noticeable. The Cosmean MD Peel (RX) is a great at home peel that lightens current pigment and inhibits future brown spots from forming. Plan on 5-7 days of redness and peeling post treatment.