All About Melasma
Do you suffer from melasma? It pops up for some of us in the sunnier months and we at Charleston Dermatology can help you get a hold of any discoloration before it becomes more of an issue.
What is Melasma?
Melasma is a type of skin discoloration that causes brown or grayish patches on patients’ faces or less frequently, other areas that have been exposed to the sun. The skin of the cheeks, forehead, nose and skin are particularly common areas to have melasma.
What Causes Melasma?
Melasma mostly occurs in women with darker skin or women with relatives who have also had melasma. Only ten percent of people who get melasma are men. (AAD) Sun exposure only increases melasma and as a result, people usually report an increase in discoloration during the summer months.
Melasma also occurs often in pregnant women and is sometimes referred to as chloasma, the mask of pregnancy. It’s caused by a change in hormones.
How is Melasma Treated?
Usually, melasma is easily diagnosed simply by looking at your skin. However, there are some times that we may need to perform a skin biopsy to be certain. Once we identify what triggers your melasma, we can eliminate or modify those factors and the melasma will go away. However, if it does not go away, topical treatments like hydroquinone, tretinoin, corticosteroids, azelaic acid or kojic acid are usually helpful in lightening discoloration. Other treatments, like chemical peels or laser procedures, can also be performed to great success. Although it may take months, usually melasma is treatable and can be improved.
Can Melasma Be Prevented?
Yes. Melasma can be prevented by being responsible about sun protection. We urge all our patients to wear sunscreen, hats and protective clothing to prevent skin cancer, discoloration and other problems.