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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > Dermatology & Skin Care > Melasma Treatment

Melasma Treatment Cost


How Much Does Melasma Treatment Cost?

 
average costWith Health Insurance: $10-$50 Copay or 10%-50% Coinsurancehigh costWithout Health Insurance: $50-$200+
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Melasma[1] is a skin disorder in which discolored patches appear on the face. It is more common among people with darker complexions and most often strikes women, particularly those who are pregnant, using oral contraceptives or taking hormone replacement therapy. Though melasma does not cause other symptoms, and may even fade on its own over time, the discolored spots can successfully be lightened or removed to alleviate cosmetic concerns.

Typical costs:

  • Because melasma can be confused with other skin conditions, those experiencing discoloration typically start with an office visit to a dermatologist. For patients with health insurance, out-of-pocket costs for visiting a dermatologist will typically consist of a doctor visit copay of $5 -$30 or more, or coinsurance of 10%-50% or more. For patients without health insurance, an office visit typically costs $50-$200 or more.
  • The first line of treatment for the condition is typically hydroquinone[2] , which can decrease melanin in the skin. Prescription creams and gels contain at least 4% hydroquinone and typically cost $40-$200, depending on whether the patient buys a name brand or its generic equivalent. For example, EpiQuin Micro[3] costs $110. According to the American Academy of Dermatology[4] , to hasten the lightening process, a doctor may also prescribe a tretinoin or a corticosteroid. Drugstore.com charges about $50 for a tube of generic tretinoin cream and almost $150 for the brand-name equivalent.
  • Because melasma treatment is not medically necessary, most insurers will not cover drugs or procedures used to treat it. However, 2% hydroquinone creams are available over the counter. These typically range in cost $5-$40 or more. For example, Garnier's clinical dark spot corrector[5] costs $17.
  • If a topical medicine does not work, physical treatments may succeed in eliminating melasma. These include procedures such as a chemical peel, which typically costs $100- $500, depending on the center and region in which it is located. For example, at Prolase Medspa and laser center[6] in Glendale CA, a chemical peel for melasma typically costs $245.
  • Other procedures include microdermabrasion and dermabrasion which can cost up to $2,000 or more, depending on the number of sessions needed. And in severe cases, laser resurfacing may be used. The procedure can cost $100-$5,000, depending on how much of the skin is treated, the type of laser used, the individual center and its regional location. For example, at Elements Laser Spa[7] in Texas, spot removal starts at $100 per 20-minute session, whereas at Schweiger Dermatology[8] in New York City, a laser treatment can cost $4,000 including consult fees, visit fees, anesthesia and medication.
Related articles: Microdermabrasion, Age Spot Treatment, Skin Peel, Skin Tightening

What should be included:
  • According to the American Academy of Dermatology[9] , a dermatologist may be able to diagnose melasma on sight, simply by looking at a patient's skin, or will examine skin under a device called a Wood's light[10] .
  • In many cases, melasma will fade on its own over several months after a woman has stopped using birth control or hormone replace or has given birth.
Additional costs:
  • Using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30 or more can help prevent melasma and is also advised for patients who use hydroquinone, which can make skin more sensitive to the sun. Sunscreens typically cost $5-$30, like L'Oreal Sublime Sun Face Lotion, SPF 50[11] , which costs $11 at drugstore.com.
Discounts:
  • Discount outlets such as Costco[12] and Walmart[13] often sell prescription and over-the-counter drugs at significant savings. Walmart, for example, has a prescription drug program[14] that includes certain generic drugs at commonly prescribed dosages.
  • Many hospitals offer discounts of 30% or more to uninsured or cash-paying patients. At St. Joseph Hospital[15] in Orange, CA, for example, patients without health insurance may qualify for a 45% discount. They'll also be offered an additional 10% discount if payment is made within 10 days of receiving a bill.
Shopping for melasma treatment:
  • The American Academy of Dermatology has a search tool[16] to help patients search for dermatologists nearby for free and offers tips for managing melasma.
Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
 
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External Resources:
  1.  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001839/
  2.  www.drugs.com/cdi/hydroquinone-cream.html
  3.  www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/epiquin-micro
  4.  www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/m---p/melasma
  5.  www.garnierusa.com/_en/_us/our_products/product.aspx?Tpcode=OUR_PRODUCTS^PRD_SKINCARE^S...
  6.  prolaseclinic.com/spa-services-los-angeles/chemical-peel/
  7.  www.elementslaserspa.com/services/laser-sun-spot-removal/
  8.  www.nyccosmeticdermatology.com/laserwrinkletreatment.htm
  9.  www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/m---p/melasma
  10.  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0003865/
  11.  www.drugstore.com/loreal-sublime-sun-face-lotion-spf-50/qxp381068?catid=159098
  12.  www.costco.com/
  13.  www.walmart.com/cp/pharmacy/5431
  14.  www.walmart.com/cp/1078664
  15.  www.sjo.org/For-Patients/Your-Hospital-Bill/Self-Pay-Discount-Program.aspx
  16.  www.aad.org/
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