Melasma is a darkening of the face most often in women. It can be devastating to one’s appearance and self-esteem. Call us today or make an appointment online to see how we at Golden Coast Dermatology, Skin Cancer, and Vein Center can help.
What is Melasma?
Melasma is a disorder of hyperpigmentation typically in sun exposed areas such as the face and neck. It is much more common in women than men. It is more frequent in darker skin types and those who live in sunny climate such as Southern California. The discolored rash typically begins in females during pregnancy and can persist for years after the baby has been delivered.
On the skin, it looks like irregular dark patches on the face. Sometimes, there is an increased amount of small blood vessels present as well. Scientists don’t fully understand it at this point. It is thought that a mixture of sunlight, hormonal changes seen in pregnancy or while on certain birth controls, genetic factors, and some medications can contribute to the development of this persistent rash.
Who gets Melasma?
Women get Melasma much more often than men. Darker skin types particularly of Hispanic and Asian ethnicities seem to develop it more frequently. Exposure to sunny climate such as those seen in Southern California cause the rates of Melasma in women to be much higher than other locations around the world. A review of one’s medications particularly birth control pills may find one of them to increase the chance of developing this rash.
Is there a treatment for Melasma?
Avoidance of the sun in a daily high SPF sunscreen are critical to preventing and treating Melasma . Often topical lightening agents such as hydroquinone, retinoids, or topical steroids are critical to treating Melasma . Is important to use these medications under the close supervision of a trained medical professional as worsening in the skin may occur when used improperly. There are a variety of chemical peels that may help treat or lighten Melasma .
Cosmetic lasers and intense pulsed light (IPL) devices have been shown to help cure this entity. A newer promising treatment is oral tranexamic acid. This medication however has some risks. It is important to have this medication prescribed and monitored by a trained medical professional.