Melasma is a skin condition that creates darker spots or patches on the skin. It can appear as a group of freckles or darker patches in brown or blue-gray colors. Melasma is most common on the face, especially the cheeks, forehead, and upper lip area. It also sometimes appears on the neck, chest, and forearms.
usually associated with pregnancy or taking birth control pills. In itself, melasma is harmless, and it often fades within a matter of months. However, if you’re experiencing it, you may feel self conscious about it and wish to treat it.
While melasma can affect men, it is much more common in women. Pregnancy is the most common cause of the condition; between 15% and 50% of pregnant people will experience melasma. Melasma is also significantly more common in people with brown skin than fair skin.
Treatments for melasma can help to reduce its appearance or to make it disappear entirely. If you have been waiting for darkened spots to disappear on their own without any luck, it might be time to try treating them directly. If you are pregnant, we recommend that you consult with your doctor before applying any topical ointments or trying a new treatment.
In most cases, melasma naturally fades away on its own. Many people who experience it during pregnancy choose to simply wait for it to disappear after pregnancy. In fewer cases, however, melasma can linger for months or years.
Stop taking birth control: If you are experiencing melasma linked to birth control pills, you may opt to switch to a different method of birth control. If you want to continue taking oral contraceptives, however, you may need a different form of treatment.
Protect your skin from the sun: the appearance of melasma is linked to sun exposure; that’s why it typically appears on areas of your body that get the most light. If you start to notice the appearance of melasma, you can help to minimize it by reducing your sun exposure as much as possible. Wear a daily sunscreen, wear a hat when going outside, and stay in the shade when possible.
Keep your skincare routine gentle: melasma can be aggravated or even potentially caused by irritation to your skin. If you are at risk for the condition, use gentle, unscented products, and keep exfoliation to a minimum. You should also temporarily avoid waxing on your face.
Your skin naturally has cells that produce melanin – a darker pigment that’s responsible for darkening your skin when you get tan. When you have increased levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, these trigger your skin to produce more melanin. This causes the patches of darker skin, which emerge gradually over a number of weeks. Melasma can be located just in the outer layers of skin, or it may penetrate more deeply. Because of the link to hormone levels, melasma is most often caused by pregnancy or by taking oral birth control. Some other factors can cause the condition, including anti-seizure medication, hormone-based cancer treatments, and hypothyroidism.
Melasma can be frustrating to deal with. If you’d like to remove melasma in Houston, we would be happy to help you with a chemical peel, dermabrasion, or laser treatment.