Melasma, also known as chloasma, occurs when irregular patches of dark skin appear on the face or forearms. These tan or brown patches often occur symmetrically over the forehead, nose, cheeks, or upper lip. The symmetry of melasma distinguishes it from other conditions that cause darkening of the skin. Melasma is a common condition and is found more often in women. It can be caused by sun damage or by hormonal changes, such as with pregnancy and menopause. People who have darker skin types are more vulnerable to melasma than those with lighter complexions. Our highly trained medical team treats melasma regularly at Kind Health Group in Encinitas, CA, where we offer numerous treatments that can minimize the visibility of this cosmetic condition.
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Causes for Melasma
The precise cause of melasma remains unknown. Experts feel that the dark patches in melasma may be triggered by numerous factors, including hormone fluctuations, family history of melasma, race, anti-seizure medications, and other medications that make skin more vulnerable to pigmentation after exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. Uncontrolled sunlight exposure is perhaps the main cause of melasma, especially in people with a genetic predisposition to this condition. Clinical studies have revealed that individuals normally develop melasma in the summer months, when the sun is most intense. In the winter, the hyperpigmentation tends to be less visible or lighter.
Symptoms for Melasma
Melasma is characterized by the discoloration or hyperpigmentation mostly on the face. Three forms of common facial patterns can be identified in people with melasma:
- Centrofacial – (center of the face) hyperpigmentation amid the chin, forehead, cheeks, upper lip, and nose
- Malar – (cheekbones) melasma patterns about the upper cheeks
- Mandibular – (jawbone) hyperpigmentation along the jaw
Treatment Options for Melasma
There are lots of solutions for treating melasma. First, there are a variety of topical creams, gels, or lotions that could be given to help encourage skin lightening. Second, there are dermatology procedures such as chemical peels or fractional lasers. Another alternative is intense pulsed light therapy, or IPL. Unlike lasers which use intense, focused light, IPL is intense broadband light, so the recovery time is brief. Improvements normally last when the patient implements good sun protection and maintenance.
Get a Professional Diagnosis
If you suffer from melasma and are tired of trying to cover it with makeup, or if you spend money on over-the-counter treatments that do not offer you the results you desire, we encourage you to call Kind Health Group in Encinitas, CA to schedule a consultation. Melasma requires a specialized diagnosis so the ideal treatment can be given. If the wrong treatment is applied, the skin may become darker. Our medical team can accurately diagnose and treat melasma to provide you with a terrific result.