Melasma is a common skin complaint among women of childbearing age. This skin problem is generalized by brown patches of skin that typically appear on the forehead, bridge of the nose, upper lip, and chin. Many women find that they are very self-conscious about this discoloration and want to know what they can do to get rid of it.
While sun protection is the number one way to prevent melasma, many women find that their skin is ultra-sensitive to sun exposure. This is especially true for women who are pregnant, nursing, or going through other hormonal changes (e.g. perimenopause, menopause, or even just a monthly cycle). It is not clear why some women are more prone to melasma, but women who tan easily seem to be much more susceptible. The hyperpigmentation of the skin that allows a woman to achieve a “nice tan,” is also generally the culprit of melasma.
Melasma is typically worse during the summer months due to more frequent sun exposure. Even with a good sunscreen, ultraviolet light from the sun stimulates melanocytes in the skin. Women who are susceptible to melasma will find that while most of their skin receives appropriate protection from the sun, certain spots on their face will appear dark and blotchy.
Melasma generally begins to fade on its own as summer draws to a close. Most of this is because the exposure to the sun is more limited. However, when melasma is caused by hormones, it can last for months or even years. Dermatologists can help women treat melasma with topical creams and ointments to lighten the skin. Hydroquinone is commonly used as the first treatment for melasma as it is generally well tolerated. For those whose melasma is more stubborn to fade, stronger medications can be used to help reduce the hyperpigmentation.
Some women do not find success with topical treatments. Procedures such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, dermabrasion, and laser treatments can help to get rid of melasma. It is essential that you seek a highly trained and respected dermatologist for any of these procedures.
At Medical Dermatology Specialists, we understand how upsetting it can be to have unwanted spots on your skin. If you are suffering from melasma, please contact our office. We want to help you feel confident again.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Jamie Weisman, Medical Dermatology Specialists, Inc.
Medical Dermatology Specialists, Inc.
5730 Glenridge Dr, Suite T-100
Atlanta, GA 30328
Monday – Thursday 7:30 AM – 5:00 PM