Melasma Treatments

Melasma is a common chronic skin condition often triggered by hormones that affects vastly more women than men. Though it has no painful symptoms, melasma can make people feel self-conscious. Its symmetrical brownish or grayish patches on the face are commonly called the “mask of pregnancy,” because half of all pregnant women experience melasma. Women who tan easily or have darker skin tones are more likely to develop melasma. The longer melasma is left untreated the more slowly it responds when treated.

Causes: Triggers include lifelong sun exposure or skin inflammation caused by recent sun exposure, hormonal changes or treatments (such as pregnancy, birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy), irritation from scented skin-care products, and hypothyroidism. Those with a relative with melasma are more likely to be affected. It seldom affects people younger than 20 or older than 40 years.

Symptoms: The brown/gray patches or freckle-like spots generally appear on the forehead, bridge of the nose, cheeks, above the upper lip, on the chin, and in some cases, the neck or forearms.  

Basic Formula for recovery/healing/improvement: A special black light may be used to diagnose melasma. In some instances a biopsy may be required to rule out other skin conditions. Treatment options include topical cream medications to lighten the skin, gentle chemical peels, dermabrasion, microdermabrasion, microneedling, and fractional laser or light-based treatments. To ensure the condition does not worsen with treatment, it is essential that only a board-certified dermatologist evaluate and precisely treat melasma for each person’s unique skin condition. Treatment may take a few months and maintenance therapy may be required, especially for long-term chronic conditions. Protection from the sun with sunscreen or clothing is absolutely essential in the management of melasma.

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*Results may vary per patient. Services vary by location.