What are Melasma and Hyperpigmentation?
Melasma, also known as chloasma, is a type of hyperpigmentation (or brown spots) that occurs when uneven patches of dark skin appear on the face or forearms. These tan or brown spots normally occur symmetrically on the forehead, cheeks, nose, or upper lip. The appearance of melasma distinguishes it from other dermal conditions that lead to the darkening of the skin. Although melasma is a common condition, it occurs more frequently in women. It may be caused by sun damage or by hormonal fluctuations, such as with menopause and pregnancy. Those with darker skin types are more prone to melasma and hyperpigmentation compared to those with lighter complexions. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Mary Pentel treats melasma regularly at Southside Dermatology & Laser Cosmetic Center in Jacksonville, FL, where we provide a number of treatments, which can reduce its appearance.
what Causes Hyperpigmentation?
The specific cause of hyperpigmentation and melasma remains unidentified. Experts think that the dark spots in melasma could be triggered by several factors — including race, hormone fluctuations, genetics, anti-seizure drugs, and other medications — that make the skin more susceptible to pigmentation changes after exposure to UV rays. Uncontrolled sunlight exposure is perhaps the chief cause of melasma, particularly for people with a genetic predisposition to this condition. Studies have demonstrated that people normally develop melasma in the summer when the sun is most intense. In the winter, the hyperpigmentation can be milder or less visible.
What are the Symptoms
Hyperpigmentation and melasma are characterized by discoloration or hyperpigmentation, primarily in the facial areas. Three kinds of ordinary facial patterns are identified in people with melasma:
- Centrofacial – (center of the face) hyperpigmentation amid the cheeks, upper lip, nose, chin, and forehead
- Malar – (cheekbones) melasma patterns near the upper cheekbone
- Mandibular – (jawbone) hyperpigmentation along the jaw
Multiple treatments may be needed to attain the best results. During your initial consultation, Dr. Pentel can create a custom treatment plan that meets your unique needs and concerns. There are numerous possibilities for the treatment of melasma. First, there are a number of topical ointments, lotions, and gels that we can prescribe to encourage skin lightening. Second, there are skin-care treatments, such as the HydraFacial, chemical peels, and laser skin resurfacing. Patients can also choose from a variety of laser or light-based treatments, such as:
- Forever Clear BBL™
- Fotona StarWalker®
- Clear + Brilliant®
- Erbium Laser
- PICO Genesis enlighten®
- xeo® Laser Genesis
- Photodynamic therapy (PDT)
Get a Professional Diagnosis
If you suffer from melasma and are fed up with trying to conceal it with makeup or if you spend too much money on over-the-counter treatments that don't provide the results you desire, then we invite you to contact Southside Dermatology & Laser Cosmetic Center in Jacksonville, FL to schedule a consultation. Melasma needs a special diagnosis so the right treatment can be provided. If the incorrect treatment is applied, the condition may worsen. Dr. Pentel can accurately diagnose and address melasma to supply you with a great outcome.