To evaluate the efficacy of a functional microarray of microneedles (MNs) plus topical tranexamic acid (TA) for melasma in middle-aged women in China.
Thirty female subjects with melasma were enrolled in this study. The left or right side of the face was chosen randomly to be pretreated with a functional microarray of MNs, followed by topical 0.5% TA solution once per week for 12 weeks. The other half-face was the control, treated with a sham device plus topical 0.5% TA solution. At baseline and at weeks 4, 8, and 12 of treatment, clinical (photographic) evaluations and parameters determined by Visia were recorded. At baseline and week 12, patient satisfaction scores and the biophysical parameters measured by Mexameter were also recorded. Side effects were evaluated at baseline and at the end of the 12 weeks.
In total, 28 women (93.3%) completed the study. The brown spots’ scores measured by Visia were significantly lower on the combined therapy side than on the control side at 12 weeks after starting treatment; there was no significant difference between sides at 4 or 8 weeks. After 12 weeks, melanin index (MI) decreased significantly in both 2 groups, and the MI was significantly less on the combined side at week 12. Transepidermal water loss, roughness, skin hydration, skin elasticity, and erythema index showed no significant differences between 2 sides at baseline, 4, 8, and 12 weeks after treatment. Physicians’ evaluations of photographs showed better results at week 12 with combined therapy: >25% improvement was observed in the MNs plus TA side in 25 patients, and in the TA side in only 10 patients. Subjective satisfaction scores on both sides increased significantly. The participants were more satisfied with the results of the combined therapy side than the control side. No obvious adverse reactions were observed throughout the study.
Combined therapy with a functional microarray of MNs and topical TA solution is a promising treatment for melasma.