Melasma is a resistant form of hyperpigmentation that creates dark gray or brown patches on the skin. Often called the “mask of pregnancy,” melasma appears most commonly on the forehead, cheeks, nose, and chin. These patches can also occur on other parts of the body such as the neck or forearms, however, that is less common.
Melasma occurs most often in women, however, in rare cases, it can also affect men and it can negatively impact their quality of life just as much as women.
Melasma happens when melanocytes, pigment-producing skin cells, are triggered and become hyperactive. The pigment then becomes darker in certain areas of the skin.
Hormone fluctuations caused by pregnancy, hormone replacement therapy, and birth control are the most common cause of melasma.
Too much exposure to the sun can also cause melasma because UV rays have an effect on melanocytes. Genetics, stress, and malnutrition are other known causes of melasma.
Melasma is not serious if left untreated and there are no known health risks associated with the condition. Melasma can, however, affect your appearance and for that reason, you may choose to undergo treatment to reduce the discoloration.
There are numerous treatment options available to help reduce the appearance of melasma.
These treatment options include:
- Skin Brightening Creams – Skin brightening creams work by reducing the pigment in the skin. Lightening creams can take a few days to weeks to begin to work.
- Chemical Peels – During this treatment, a chemical formulation is used to improve the appearance of hyperpigmentation by exfoliating the superficial layers of the skin.
- Topicals – Multiple topical treatments are available to treat melasma. Topical medications work by preventing skin cells from producing excess melanin.
- Laser Treatments – Laser treatments are typically used when other treatment options have failed to work. Lasers are used to send specific wavelengths of powerful light beams into the skin to break the melanin down into small particles so it can be absorbed by the immune system.
- Microneedling – Microneedling sounds intimidating but is simple and nearly painless. A professional microneedling device creates precise and evenly distributed micro-wounds or channels in the skin that stimulates the healing process and expedites skin cell turnover. This process helps the skin rid itself of excess pigmentation and destroy cells that may be unhealthy.
- Microdermabrasion – Microdermabrasion works by exfoliating the skin at the superficial level with ultra-fine crystals.
Our board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Liz Damstetter, is committed to helping her patients regain their confidence by reducing the appearance of melasma. Don’t hesitate to contact Reserve Dermatology & Aesthetics at (847) 400-2542 or via our online form to request an appointment for a consultation.
During your consultation, Dr. Damstetter will discuss the treatment options that are available to you and help you decide which option is best for your situation. We look forward to speaking with you!