Chemical Peels for Melasma: Here's What You Should Know

Melasma is a common skin condition, especially in women, that causes discolored patches to form on the face. As these patches become more noticeable, it might be time to consider a chemical peel.

At Balcones Dermatology & Aesthetics, we offer a range of chemical peels that remove dead skin cells to allow the healthy, new cells below to shine through.

Board-certified dermatologist David A. Bushore, MD, evaluates the condition of your skin to determine which type of chemical peel works best for your needs. Dr. Bushore also provides after-care services to return your skin to its optimal health after a medium or deep peel.

Why melasma occurs

Melasma develops when the melanocytes, the cells that give your skin its color, become overactive. While it’s not known why cells become overactive, some known triggers contribute to the development of darkened skin patches, including:

Sun exposure

Sunlight can cause an overproduction of pigments (melanin) on sun-exposed areas such as the neck, arms, and face.


Changes in hormones like progesterone and estrogen during pregnancy often cause melasma, causing the condition to be known as the ‘mask of pregnancy’.


Certain medications, including hormonal birth control pills and those that increase skin’s sensitivity to the sun, can trigger melasma.

Other factors that contribute to melasma include stress, thyroid disease, and the use of tanning beds.

Understanding your melasma treatment options

Treatment for melasma often starts with lifestyle changes to reduce your exposure to melasma triggers.

Board-certified dermatologist David A. Bushore, MD, can suggest a high-quality sunscreen to wear whenever you’re outdoors. He also determines if you need to make changes to the medications you take, including switching to a nonhormonal birth control.

Upgrading your skincare routine also helps you manage melasma, as some products work by minimizing the appearance of the darkened skin patches.

Dr. Bushore might also suggest a superficial, medium, or deep chemical peel to eliminate the areas of gray or brown skin discoloration that melasma causes.

What to expect during a chemical peel for melasma

All types of chemical peels involve the application of a special chemical agent to the skin. The chemical works by exfoliating layers of damaged or discolored skin to reveal the fresh skin below.

The severity of your skin condition determines the depth of the peel. For instance, a superficial peel only removes the surface layers of skin cells to address redness and an uneven complexion. Those with melasma may require a medium peel that removes the top and middle layers of skin to reduce the appearance of melasma-related skin patches.

Board-certified dermatologist David A. Bushore, MD, applies the chemical to your skin, which may cause a mild stinging or burning sensation. After a peel, your skin is swollen and red. We can give you an ice pack and apply a protective cream to keep your skin from drying out. 

Healing after a medium peel can take 5-7 days. Your skin becomes noticeably smoother and firmer, while discolored patches become less visible.  Dr. Bushore provides additional after-care instructions to protect your skin from the sun and to prevent the return of melasma discoloration.

Call Balcones Dermatology & Aesthetics in Austin, Texas, today to schedule a melasma consultation or book an evaluation online.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Where Did Your Jawline Go? (And How Do You Get It Back?)

Where Did Your Jawline Go? (And How Do You Get It Back?)

Aging changes many aspects of the face, including the angles of your jaw. If you’re unhappy with a receding jawline, you may be a candidate for fillers and other nonsurgical treatments to restore the shape and symmetry of your face.

Fraxel® DUAL Treatment for Fine Lines: What to Expect

When fine lines across your brow and around your mouth become more obvious, treatment with a Fraxel® DUAL laser may be the solution you’re looking for. Learn how Fraxel DUAL minimizes fine lines and what to expect during your treatment.

Why are Hyaluronic Acid Fillers so Popular?

Many people love the versatility and lasting results hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers offer but there’s more to the story. Learn what makes HA fillers so popular among adults who want to erase the visible signs of aging without surgery.


When you want to refresh and tighten your face but aren’t ready for invasive face-lift surgery, THE AUSTIN NATURAL LIFT™ may be the solution you need. Learn how this customized procedure can give you back your youthful appearance.
Signs Your Rash is Actually Psoriasis

Signs Your Rash is Actually Psoriasis

Unexpected skin rashes can be alarming, especially if you’re not sure what’s causing them. Learn how psoriasis affects the skin and what symptoms to look for, so you can get the treatment you need.