Melasma Treatment: Glycolic Acid

Melasma treatment has become a major concern for most people today. Melasma is a skin condition that's more prevalent among women though one in 20 of the affected patients are male. It is more of a common among people aged 30 to 40 years old, especially those whose skin tans well. In most cases, the effects of this skin condition are more pronounced on the forehead, cheeks or in some cases on the upper lip. They appear like freckle spots that sometimes extend to the sides of the neck, shoulders and upper arms.

Treatment with Glycolic Acid Chemical Peels

Chemical peels are commonly used for melasma treatment. Glycolic acid is one of the agents used in this process in combination with other compounds like hydroquinone. It is usually applied as a cream composed of 10 percent glycolic acid and 4 percent hydroquinone. In a study to determine its effectiveness, eight women patients applied the cream for seven months on one side of the face. They also applied a sun protector on one side of the face and a sequence of four peelings of 70 percent glycolic acid cream.

The treatment was assessed by three dermatologists and showed great improvement on the patients who had used the cream with 10 percent glycolic acid and 4 percent hydroquinone together with an amount of sun protection. The use of 70 percent glycolic acid showed no significant improvement on the affected skin. This showed that a combination of 10 percent glycolic acid and 4 percent hydroquinone is quite effective in treating melasma.

Take Caution

It is important to remember that in using peels in melasma treatment, a stronger skin lightening agent might provide the desired results but the effect varies in different people and can result in other skin damages.  

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