About Melasma

Melasma is considered a common hyperpigmentation disorder that causes brown patches to appear on the face or body of women and men. It is believed to occur due to excessive sun exposure, hormone therapies, during pregnancy, or a possible side effect of birth control pills.

The most common areas for melasma to appears:

  • Nose
  • Cheeks
  • Forearms
  • Forehead
  • Neck
  • Shoulders
  • Upper Lip Area

Melasma Skin Condition

Melasma can appear on the face and body and typically results from excessive exposure to sunlight and hormones. Both men and women can suffer from melasma, with it considered to be far more common to occur on women, and those with darker complexions.

Pregnant women are at higher risk of melasma and should take extra measures to protect their skin from the sun during pregnancy. To date, it still is not fully understood why melasma occurs, but we do know sunlight and hormones are key factors in its appearance. Some scientists theorize melasma could be due to a malfunction of the melanocytes of skin, which causes the body to produce excess skin color. People with relatives suffering from melasma may be at higher risk of occurrence too.

Melasma Symptoms

Melasma does not cause any physical symptoms but presents as a change in the appearance of the skin. Discolored patches of skin are the key symptom of melasma and occur most often on the face around the upper lip and the forehead, cheeks, and nose. In rarer cases, melasma can also occur on the arms and neck.

How is Melasma Diagnosis

Medical professionals find most cases of melasma easy to diagnose by visual examination of the skin. Since melasma can resemble other skin conditions, thus making it essential to seek the advice of a dermatologist or cosmetic medical professional–who may order a simple skin sample biopsy to confirm a diagnosis.

Melasma Treatment

Melasma is considered an undesirable skin condition and often requires treatment to minimize the appearance on the face and body. It is not uncommon for melasma to last for years or life-long, so for many people, treatment can be necessary. Not all treatments work for everyone, and for some people, melasma can come back after successful treatment. To help ensure the best results, work with a cosmetic medical professional to determine a proper course of treatment.

Some Topicals Used to Treat Melasma

Many of these topical medications may be used in some combination to treat melasma, depending on the severity and how well your skin responds to treatment. Many are available in creams, lotions, or gel options. All should be used with careful supervision by your medical provider.

  • Corticosteroids
  • Tretinoin
  • Hydroquinone
  • Azelaic Acid
  • Kojic Acid

Advanced Treatment Options for Melasma

The good news is there is a variety of treatment options available to help prevent and minimize the appearance of melasma. Treatment results can vary due to several factors. It is best to meet with an AALC cosmetic medicine professional to determine the best course of treatment for your unique needs.

  • Topical medication
  • Chemical Peel
  • Laser Treatment
  • Light Therapy
  • Dermabrasion
  • Microdermabrasion

Avoid Common Melasma Triggers

The best ways to prevent or avoid melasma is to do the following

  • Wear sunscreen and reapply often
  • Limit exposure to the sun to the face and body
  • Avoid sunbathing and limit excessive sun exposure
  • Wear a hat and protective clothing

While scientists are not absolute, they speculate that hormone treatments and birth control pills may also increase the risk of melasma, too. To learn more, speak with the skincare professionals at Aesthetic Artistry Laser Centers in Bethesda, Rockville, and Annapolis, Maryland.

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