Clear, even skin is something that can change as we grow older. Sun damage, hormonal imbalances, and more can cause uneven patches, dark spots, and signs of aging. For patients who experience Melasma, this discoloration can appear directly on the face creating a loss of confidence even social withdrawal. Melasma is also called chloasma or pregnancy mask and is a condition that causes light brown or grayish patches of pigmentation to develop mainly on the facial skin. The condition is more common in women but it can also occur in men and can affect people of any skin color. The discoloration associated with melasma becomes more noticeable in the summer when the skin is exposed to the sun, which is a factor that can worsen the condition. The exact cause of melasma is not actually known, but some factors can contribute to it is appearance, including pregnancy, hormone-altering drugs like birth control, medical conditions, and hormone changes.
There are several treatments available to diminish or heal melasma. Melasma can fade or diminish on it is own if the patient goes off of birth control or after childbirth, but some people may have melasma for their entire lives. If the condition does not diminish, hydroquinone is often prescribed. When applied to the skin, it works to reduce the activity of the skin pigmentation cells. Hydroquinone comes as a cream, lotion, gel, or liquid.
Tretinoin and corticosteroids can also be used to enhance skin lightening, your dermatologist may prescribe a second medicine. Depending on your budget and the seriousness of your melasma, your dermatologist may also recommend chemical peels, microdermabrasion, or laser treatments to diminish or heal your melasma. These help remove the outer layer of skin to reveal an even skin tone below. It is important to first seek a professional opinion on your condition so that a viable treatment plan can be decided. At Kwan Dermatology, our highly trained staff and state-of-the-art technology can assist any patient suffering from melasma in diagnosing, treating, and diminishing skin discoloration. The Kwan Dermatology team is known worldwide for their expertise in treating melasma.