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August 2, 2021

Your Guide to Melasma

Melasma is a skin condition that causes brown patches to appear on people’s faces. While it’s not a serious medical issue, it can certainly be a cosmetic issue that many people would like to treat. Here we will discuss what causes melasma and the possible treatment options.

Causes of Melasma

Unfortunately, there is no single cause for melasma, but rather it is a combination of things that occur at one time. Typically, melasma appears after excessive sun exposure, changes in hormones, and a person’s genetics. It’s not unusual for melasma to appear after a woman starts taking birth control or at some point throughout her pregnancy because there are significant hormone shifts that occur. For these reasons, melasma is also known as a “pregnancy mask.” Sometimes it simply occurs after ongoing sun exposure or if there is a family history of the skin condition. 
Treatment Options

It’s important to understand that melasma doesn’t fade completely, but it can be lightened in some cases that it is virtually non-existent. There are some ways that you can reduce the appearance of it and keep the condition more contained. Here are some treatment options to keep in mind:

Limit Sun Exposure
Help stop the spread of melasma by protecting your skin from the sun. You should always wear high SPF sunblock, proper clothing, and a hat when outdoors. Not only can sun exposure lead to melasma, but it can also aggravate an existing condition of it. 

Retinol-Based Creams

Retinol works to increase your skin’s cell turnover. As the pigmented skin exfoliates after the use of retinol, the faster the dark areas begin to fade. Be mindful of using this type of product, as it can be harsh for some people’s skin types. Talk to your dermatologist about the type of creams you should use. 
Pigment Blockers
Pigment blockers are used to lighten the skin and can be used in conjunction with your sunscreen. Talk to your dermatologist about the pigment blockers that work best for you. 
Laser Treatments
There are a variety of lasers that can be used to break up the pigmentation of melasma. The severity of your melasma will determine if this is the right treatment option for you

Other Considerations about Melasma
It’s important to know that melasma won’t completely go away on its own, but treatments can help. While this condition is sometimes referred to as a “pregnancy mask,” it doesn’t only impact women. Men can also be affected by melasma, especially if they have a family history or have excessive sun exposure. People at higher risk are women and individuals with darker skin pigmentation. 
Discuss Your Options
At West Dermatology, we are committed to providing our patients with the information they need to make treatment decisions. While melasma may be something you’ll have to manage throughout your entire life, there are effective ways to lighten your skin and protect it from future damage. To learn more about melasma and the treatment options we provide, contact our office today. We are here to provide the guidance you need to achieve healthier skin.