Melasma is a common hyperpigmentation disorder characterized by brown or gray-brown patches on the face, typically affecting women of reproductive age (1). While the exact cause of melasma is not fully understood, it is thought to be linked to hormonal changes, sun exposure, and genetics. Despite the availability of various treatment options, melasma remains a challenging condition to manage, with a high rate of recurrence. This article explores the use of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) as a promising treatment for melasma.
Platelet-Rich Plasma: An Overview
PRP is a concentration of platelets and growth factors derived from the patient's own blood. It is obtained through a process of centrifugation, which separates the platelet-rich plasma from the rest of the blood components (2). PRP has been used in a variety of medical fields, including orthopedics, dentistry, and dermatology, to promote tissue regeneration and wound healing (3).
PRP for Melasma Treatment
Recent studies have shown that PRP may be an effective treatment for melasma. In a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, researchers investigated the use of PRP in combination with low-fluence Q-switched Nd:YAG laser therapy for the treatment of melasma (4). The study included 40 patients with melasma who were treated with either PRP plus laser therapy or laser therapy alone. After six sessions, the PRP plus laser group showed a significant improvement in melasma severity compared to the laser-only group.
Another study published in the Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery evaluated the use of PRP injections in the treatment of refractory melasma (5). The study included 10 patients with recalcitrant melasma who received monthly PRP injections for six months. The results showed a significant reduction in melasma severity, with no reported adverse effects.
The exact mechanism by which PRP improves melasma is not fully understood. However, it is thought to be related to the growth factors and cytokines found in PRP, which promote tissue regeneration and stimulate collagen production (6). Additionally, PRP may improve melasma by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, both of which are thought to play a role in the development of the condition (7).
Advantages of PRP for Melasma Treatment
PRP has several advantages over traditional melasma treatments. First, it is a minimally invasive procedure that can be performed in a clinical setting, without the need for general anesthesia or extensive downtime. Second, because PRP is derived from the patient's own blood, there is no risk of allergic reactions or rejection. Finally, PRP has been shown to have a low rate of adverse effects, making it a safe and well-tolerated treatment option (8).
Melasma is a challenging condition to manage, with high rates of recurrence and limited treatment options. However, PRP shows promise as an effective and safe treatment option for melasma. By promoting tissue regeneration, stimulating collagen production, and reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, PRP may offer a long-lasting solution for patients with melasma. Further research is needed to fully understand the mechanism of action of PRP and to optimize treatment protocols for maximum efficacy.
Ortonne JP, Arellano I, Berneburg M, Cestari T, Chan H, Grimes P, et al. A global survey of the role of ultraviolet radiation and hormonal influences in the development of melasma. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. 2009;23(11):1254–62.
Burnouf T, Strunk D, Koh MBC,Chen TM, Woon K, Chong LY, et al. Human platelet lysate: Replacing fetal bovine serum as a gold standard for human cell propagation? Biomaterials. 2016;76:371-387.
Everts PA, Mahoney CB, Hoffmann JJ, et al. Platelet-rich plasma therapy for regenerative medicine: A review of the current literature and applications. Platelets. 2018;29(6):590-604.
Al-Dhalimi MA, Mohammed HS. Treatment of melasma by low-fluence Q-switched Nd: YAG laser versus combined low-fluence Q-switched Nd: YAG laser and platelet-rich plasma. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2016;15(4):503-508.
Ramaut L, Hoeksema H, Pirayesh A, et al. Successful treatment of refractory melasma using topical and injected growth factors: A pilot study. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 2013;6(2):97-102.
Anitua E, Sanchez M, Zalduendo MM, et al. Fibroblastic response to treatment with different preparations rich in growth factors. Cell Prolif. 2009;42(2):162-170.
Abdel-Motaleb AA, Kamal AM, Ahmed MA, et al. Platelet-rich plasma versus 10% kojic acid cream in the treatment of melasma among Egyptian females. Dermatol Ther. 2019;32(6):e13149.
Tenna S, Cogliandro A, Barone M, et al. Platelet-rich plasma in androgenic alopecia: Myth or an effective tool. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 2017;10(2):86-88.