Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of acupuncture treatments in treating facial melasma, contrasting treatments involving facial acupuncture with facial/body acupuncture.
Method: Women suffering with melasma were randomly assigned into: 1) facial acupuncture (n = 20); or 2) facial/body acupuncture (n = 21). Each group was given 2 sessions per week for 8 weeks. Melasma area and darkness of its pigmentation were assessed using digital images.
Results: 95.2% and 90% of participants in facial/body and facial acupuncture, respectively, had decreased melasma areas, with a mean reduction area being 2.6 cm(2) (95%CI 1.6-3.6 cm(2)) and 2.4 cm(2) (95%CI 1.6-3.3 cm(2)), respectively. 66.7% (facial/body acupuncture) and 80.0% (facial acupuncture) of participants had lighter melasma pigmentation compared to their baselines (p-value = 0.482).
Conclusions: Facial acupuncture, with or without body acupuncture, was shown to be effective in decreasing the size of melasma areas. This study is registered with the Thai Clinical Trial Registry (TCTR20140903004).
Keywords: Acupuncture therapy; Melasma; Randomized clinical trial.
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