Northwest Face & Body

Procedure Time

30 mins - 1 hr

Recovery Time


Melasma Treatment Bellevue & Kirkland

Melasma treatment is known to be difficult to treat. No true at-home or over-the-counter treatment exists and there is no known cure. While melasma may look like hyperpigmentation, which can be treated, melasma does not respond to traditional treatments for hyperpigmentation. Therefore, treating melasma can be a frustrating endeavor. The master estheticians at Northwest Face & Body provide the premier melasma treatment Bellevue and Kirkland offer.

Why Is Melasma So Hard To Treat?

Melasma has no cure. Melasma treatments can reduce its appearance, but it may return or get worse over time. Therefore, even with the best possible treatment, the results may not last forever.

The reason for this is that melasma is largely caused by hormones. In some cases, these hormonal imbalances are completely treatable and in other cases, it may take time to even out. Melasma is often called “the mask of pregnancy” because it is common during pregnancy. After having the baby, many see their melasma clear up over time.

Though, subsequent hormonal changes or sometimes environmental factors can cause melasma to recur or worsen. These are often unavoidable, so people with melasma should also use preventative methods when they are not experiencing melasma.


Other than hormones, the highest contributing factor is sun exposure. Melasma is most common in people with olive skin tones and darker skin tones. Unprotected, prolonged, or frequent sun exposure can darken melasma, cause more patches to appear, or otherwise worsen its appearance.

Some of the known causes of melasma include:

  • Birth control pills (starting or stopping them)
  • Estrogen therapy
  • Pregnancy
  • Genetics or known family history
  • Certain medications
  • Tanning bed use
  • Some skincare products (more like to worsen than fully cause melasma)
  • Radiation (UV light, infrared light, and visible light all contribute)
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Menopause


Melasma carries relatively few symptoms. Diagnosis of melasma is often made based on the absence of symptoms in conjunction with the known appearance of melasma. In general, symptoms of melasma include:

  • Brown patches of skin that occur on both sides of the face
  • Usually afflicts the face, but can affect the arms and neck
  • Can also appear grayish, but is always darker than your natural skin tone
  • Pigmented skin is usually flat
  • Develops slowly

Notably, melasma should not cause pain, itchiness, or spread like a rash or similar skin condition. While it can occur with other skin conditions like acne, it does not cause raised papules, blisters, or skin lesions.

Free Melasma Consultation With A Master Esthetician

The master estheticians at Northwest Face & Body offer free melasma consultations. They can assess your melasma and recommend the best treatment based on its severity, past treatments, medical history, and lifestyle. This may include topical treatments and professionally administered skin procedures. Our master estheticians may even point you toward other providers if they believe it is the best option for treating your melasma.

During a free melasma consultation, your master esthetician will ask you various questions about your medical history and lifestyle such as:

  • Have you recently been pregnant?
  • What treatments have you previously used for melasma?
  • Do you have a known family history of melasma?
  • Do you typically wear SPF/sunscreen?
  • Have you been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder?
  • Do you take certain medications that make you more sensitive to the sun?

It is important to do your best to answer these questions and others if they are asked. This will help your master esthetician put together a customized Bellevue melasma treatment plan.

Melasma Treatment Options Bellevue

The first line of treatment for melasma is usually a prescription brightening cream. This may contain hydroquinone or a combination of hydroquinone and tretinoin. Regular use of brightening cream can help reduce and deactivate the excess pigment causing melasma. It is frequently combined with other melasma treatment options.

In the past, intense pulsed light, or IPL, was the favored melasma treatment. However, in recent years, it has been shown to be less effective and even make melasma worse in some patients. There are still some cases where IPL treatment may help your melasma, but it is less commonly recommended.

Instead, treatments such as microneedling and chemical peels are often used to treat melasma. Northwest Face & Body offers the Glow Up Package which is a rotation of microneedling sessions and chemical peels. This is a great option for those with melasma. In general, all melasma treatments focus on increasing cell turnover and reducing over pigmented skin cells.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Lighten Melasma Naturally?

So-called “natural” melasma treatments use unrefined forms of acids that our master estheticians can prescribe or treat the skin with during a chemical peel. A few examples include lactic acid, azelaic acid, and kojic acid. Acids found in food usually have no significant effect unless used in a medical context or under expert guidance.

The most natural form of melasma treatment is time. Melasma caused by a temporary condition, like pregnancy, may go away without treatment or need less treatment to improve.

Does Retinol Help Melasma?

Retinol can help treat melasma. As an effective anti-aging agent, retinol helps strip away damaged, dead, or extra skin, including the over-melanated portions of skin contributing to melasma. Your esthetician may suggest using retinol in your skincare routine to help with melasma treatment in Bellevue.

Is Melasma Cancerous?

No, melasma is not cancerous nor a sign of skin cancer. Though some skin cancerous do look similar to melasma. Before seeking treatment from a master esthetician, ensure to have your skin evaluated by a medical professional.

What Is The Difference Between Melasma & Hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation refers to any darkening of the skin. Thus, melasma is a type of hyperpigmentation. However, it has different causes than most hyperpigmentation. It also occurs on both sides of the face and tends to take on a brown or gray appearance. Traditional hyperpigmentation can appear red, brown, gray, etc., and can appear anywhere on the face or body.

Additionally, hyperpigmentation can affect anyone. Melasma tends to disproportionately affect certain groups of people. This includes those with medium skin tones and people assigned female at birth.

How Much Does Melasma Treatment Cost?

The exact cost of melasma treatment is difficult to estimate without understanding your individual needs. However, you can find starting prices for common melasma treatments on our price list and add up the cost of multiple treatments using Price Simulator.

Northwest Face & Body does not work with insurance when it comes to melasma treatment. Though, we do work with outside financing companies such as Care Credit.

Leading Melasma Treatment Bellevue At Northwest Face & Body

The master estheticians at Northwest Face & Body work alongside plastic surgeons to provide high quality melasma care. Master estheticians attend additional training and have basic medical knowledge as it pertains to the skin. This allows them to administer certain treatments such as stronger chemical peels and laser treatments. Our master estheticians offer the best melasma treatment Bellevue and Kirkland provide.

Northwest Face & Body has served the Eastside and Seattle areas for over two decades. Providing luxury plastic surgery, injectables, and professional skincare, Northwest Face & Body serves all of your cosmetic and medical aesthetic needs. Located in south Kirkland and on the shores of Lake Washington, it is easily accessible from Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, and Seattle.

To learn more and schedule a consultation, call us at 425-576-1700. You can also reach out online via chat, contact form, or Price Simulator.