What is melasma?
Melasma is a common skin condition that causes discolored brown areas, to appear on the skin. In most instances, the brown patches appear on the bridge of the nose, cheeks, and forehead, but may also appear on other parts of the face and body with high exposure to the sun. It typically occurs in skin tones ranging from light brown to darker skin tones.
What are some risk factors for melasma?
Doctors aren’t entirely certain what causes melasma, but it may be a malfunction of cells called melanocytes. Melanocytes are the cells that create color in the skin, and melasma may be something causing them to create too much pigment. Since individuals with darker skin tones have more melanocytes, this also would explain why they are more likely to develop melasma.
Sun exposure also appears to be a factor, as is being of the female sex, being pregnant, and having relatives that also have melasma.
Treatment and prevention
If you’re seeking to prevent melasma, your dermatologist will likely suggest a high SPF sunscreen.
Treatment for situational melasma, such as melasma triggered by pregnancy hormones, may not be necessary. It will usually fade after the pregnancy has ended and hormones return to normal.
If your melasma isn’t caused by hormone changes but by something more permanent and makes you uncomfortable, you might seek treatment. In that case, there are a few different ways to address melasma with your dermatologist. Your dermatologist may prescribe certain lightening creams or topical treatments to lighten the darkened areas, or you might be recommended for procedures like microdermabrasion, chemical peels, or laser treatment.
After treatment, it’s important to maintain prevention, which largely means staying out of the sun and avoiding too much UV exposure. High SPF sunscreen, protective clothing like hats and long sleeves, and staying in the shade while outside are all effective ways to prevent another melasma outbreak.
If you’re concerned about your melasma and would like to seek treatment, the best course of action is to get in contact with a skilled dermatologist. Here at Advanced Dermatology, we would love to sit down with you and develop a treatment plan. To get in contact with us, call us at 855-793-2868 for a chat with our cosmetic concierge, and get started on the healthiest version of your skin today!
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