What is melasma?
Also known as the mask of pregnancy, or chloasma, melasma is a skin condition that presents as brown or tan (darker than normal) patches on the face.
What causes melasma?
Although it can affect anyone, melasma is particularly common in women, especially pregnant women and those who are taking oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy (HRT) medications. People with darker skin and those who have a blood relative who had melasma also are much more likely to get melasma. It is not completely understood why color producing pigment cells (melanocytes) over-produce more than necessary, in random areas of skin. Some known risk factors include:
- Sun exposure
- Hormone changes
How do we treat melasma?
- We recommend you begin a treatment as early as possible to achieve the best results. We may suggest any of the following depending on the depth, placement and size of the darkened area:
- Chemical peel: A gentle concentration of trichloroacetic acid is applied to the skin to even out skin tone and lighten discoloration
- Fraxel® Laser: A resurfacing laser that improves skin tone and texture. Several treamtents may be necessary.
- Prescription strength topical medicines may be applied at home to help even out skin tone.
- Sun protection is a crucial part of any melasma treatment
What can I expect?
With each treatment, skin discoloration from Melasma fades and several repeated treatments are usually necessary to achieve desired results. Avoiding the sun is critical.
Have a question about your treatment?
We have a dedicated triage nurse (RN) who answers patient questions during office hours. If you have a problem or question about a procedure or a prescribed medication, please call our office and ask to speak to our nurse. If she is unable to answer your question, she will consult with your practitioner and return your call.