Background: Melasma is a common disorder of facial hyperpigmentation that is often resistant to treatment.
Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peeling in comparison with double frequency Q-switched neodymium-doped:yttrium aluminum garnet (QS-Nd:YAG) laser in the treatment of melasma.
Patients and methods: Sixty-five adult Egyptian female patients with melasma were enrolled in this study. Wood light was used for determination of the histological type of melasma. The patients were divided into 4 groups according to treatment modalities: peeling with different concentrations of TCA and double frequency QS-Nd:YAG laser. Trichloroacetic acid peeling was performed every 2 weeks up to 8 sessions, whereas laser treatment was performed every month up to 6 sessions. Melasma area and severity index (MASI) score was used before and after treatment for evaluation.
Results: Improvement percentage of MASI score was significantly higher among patients treated with TCA 25% (p < .001). Epidermal type of melasma was significantly improved compared with the dermal type (p = .0029). Q-switched neodymium-doped:yttrium aluminum garnet laser showed the highest incidence of postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (53.3%).
Conclusion: Trichloroacetic acid peeling is effective in the treatment of melasma, TCA 25% was the most effective concentration. Q-switched neodymium-doped:yttrium aluminum garnet laser is not recommended in the treatment of melasma because it was associated with the highest incidence of complications.