Melasma occurs when the pigment producing cells of the skin, called melanocytes, begin to produce too much pigment. This leads to the development of large tan to brown patches on the skin. It may appear on the cheeks, cheek bones, chin, nose, forehead, above the eyebrows, and/or the upper lip.
Occasionally in patients with significant UV exposure, melasma will appear on the forearms and neck. Melasma occurs in all skin tones, but is more common in patients with darker skin tones. Melasma can be more common in some families due to genetics.
Excess sun exposure and increased amounts of female hormones can worsen melasma. Heat, severe skin dryness, some cosmetics, and inflammation are other precipitating factors.
Melasma lasts decades, so patients will need a treatment plan that is life long. Treatment often begins with a skincare regimen composed of a daily sunscreen, moisturizers and skin care brightners. Some of the more common skin brightners include hydroquinone, vitamin C, azelaic acid, tretinoin and kojic acid.
Melasma Treatment Options
For patients who don’t see improvement of their melasma with a skin care regimen alone, procedures may be added.
Cosmetic treatments that may help with melasma may include:
IPL photofacial treatments, which uses light pulses to penetrate inside the skin. This constricts your blood vessels and balances your natural skin tone. Photofacial laser treatments also get rid of dark and dull spots on the body and improve collagen levels and elastic fibers.
This advanced technology helps a lot in fighting skin discoloration. In this technique, microneedles penetrates the the skin to help eliminate the color. At the same time, anti-oxidants and skin brighteners are infused to make the discoloration vanish.
In a microdermabrasion treatment, a suction device is used to remove not only the dead cells of skin but also exfoliates the discolored skin entirely. When the outer layer of skin is removed the new layer, which has its natural pigment, comes out. This treatment requires a few sessions to help you completely get rid of pigmented skin.
More Skin Conditions
Below is a list of other common skin conditions and concerns.