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  • Writer's pictureDr. Chuck Lortie MD, FRCPC, FAAD

Melasma Breakthrough!

Updated: Apr 15, 2023


What causes melasma?

Melasma is a skin condition associated with patchy pigmentation predominantly affecting the face. This hyperpigmentation most often affects middle-aged women and is aggravated by sun exposure. Female hormones are also known to play a key role. Women who are pregnant as well as those taking oral contraceptives or hormone supplements are felt to be at higher risk for developing melasma.


Previous treatments have included topical skin-lightening creams, skin peels, intense pulsed light as well as fractional and Q-switched lasers. Unfortunately, for many patients these treatments have provided only partial or temporary improvement.


What is the best treatment for melasma in Edmonton and Sherwood Park?

Recently, a new cutting-edge therapy has been approved for the treatment of melasma. On March 8, 2023 Health Canada approved the PicoWay laser platform for new indications including the melasma, lentigines (freckles), café au lait macules (CALMs) and Nevus of Ota. This approval opens the door providing dermatologists with an important new therapeutic tool to treat these vexing pigmentary concerns.


The PicoWay laser system, by Candela, has set the standard for picolaser platforms, establishing a reputation for treating conditions such as wrinkles, acne scars, benign pigmented lesions and removal of tattoos. This system is so broadly effective as the result of its cutting-edge technology. The PicoWay laser has been engineered to produce an exceptional brief pulse of laser light, as short as 250 trillionths of a second, setting a new industry standard! Picosecond lasers with such a short pulse duration are particularly effective at targeting pigment (melanin) in the skin. These extremely short pulses also minimize heat production as they eliminate the pigment by shattering it rather than vaporizing it. The lack of associated thermal energy helps ensure that treatment with PicoWay laser remains remarkable safe – even in when treating patients with skin of color.


How do I get rid of melasma on my face?

Treatment with the PicoWay laser platform achieved 50% - 74% improvement in melasma pigment clearance. When combined with sun protection, the most potent prescription skin lightening creams and other dermatologic interventions, the results can be even more dramatic and long lasting!


What is the treatment of choice for nevus of Ota?

Laser treatment with PicoWay Zoom 1064 nm achieved nevus of Ota lesion clearance in 75% - 94% of cases (1).


What is the treatment of choice for café au lait macules?

PicoWay Zoom 532 nm laser treatment of café au lait macules achieved good to excellent improvement in 75% - 99% of patients (1).


What is the best treatment for freckles?

PicoWay (730 nm) laser treatments of freckles (lentigines) demonstrated an average clearance rate of 51% to 75%. PicoWay Zoom (532 nm) laser treatments of lentigines showed a mean clearance of 50% - 99 in second study (1).


PicoWay Laser: Multiple new indications and industry leading results!

These new indications for the PicoWay laser platform truly represent the next level of care for these pigmentary conditions. For patients who are troubled by melasma, lentigines, café au lait macules or nevus of Ota – we would be pleased to provide a dermatologic assessment of your skin. Park Dermatology can offer state-of-the-art treatment options and provide you with the latest therapy your skin deserves.


1 - Candela data on file: Document # 8505-10-9651: PicoWay Laser

System Literature Survey for Expanded Nevus of Ota, Café au Lait

Macules, Melasma, and Lentigines Indications.

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