Melasma-Before and after

Melasma is a common skin problem. The condition causes dark, discolored patches on your skin. It’s also called chloasma, or the “mask of pregnancy,” when it occurs in pregnant women. The condition is much more common in women than men, though men can get it too. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 90 percent of people who develop melasma are women. Melasma causes patches of discoloration. The patches are darker than your usual skin color. It typically occurs on the face and is symmetrical, with matching marks on both sides of the face. Other areas of your body that are often exposed to sun can also develop melasma.

Brownish colored patches usually appear on the: Cheeks, forehead, bridge of the nose, chin. It can also occur on the neck and forearms. The skin discoloration doesn’t do any physical harm, but you may feel self-conscious about the way it looks. If you notice these symptoms of melasma, see your healthcare professional. They might refer you to a dermatologist, a doctor who specializes in treating skin disorders.

Are you plagued by brown or brown-gray patches on your skin? If so, you may have melasma, a skin condition that Dr. Jane Smith treats at Swan Medical Aesthetics in Raleigh, North Carolina. She offers a variety of noninvasive solutions, including prescription creams, professional skin care and dermatological treatments like Secret RF, Laser Genesis™ treatments and intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy.

Melasma Q&A

What is melasma?

Melasma is a skin condition that causes the color-making cells in the skin to make too much color, turning patches of your skin brown or brown-gray. These patches most often appear on the forehead, cheeks, bridge of the nose, chin, and above the upper lip. 

Sun lovers and people who work outside can get melasma on areas of their body that get a lot of sun, like the neck or forearms.

Who gets melasma?

Under the right circumstances, virtually anyone can develop melasma. Most often, though, it’s women and people with darker skin tones who develop melasma. 

People of color are more prone to melasma than light-skinned people because they have more color-making cells in their skin.

What causes melasma?

A few different things can trigger melasma production. These include:

Sun exposure

The UV light from the sun stimulates melanocytes, prompting melasma. Sun exposure is what often prompts people with faded melasma to get it again, especially during the summer.

Hormonal changes

You can develop melasma when you experience hormonal changes, such as those caused by birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy. When pregnant women develop melasma, it’s called chloasma.

Skin products 

Skin products that irritate your skin can exacerbate melasma.

How is melasma treated?

Melasma sometimes fades on its own or when you remove a trigger, particularly when you get off birth control or after you give birth. If your melasma doesn’t fade by itself, you can treat it. Dr. Smith offers a number of topical treatments and in-office procedures to treat melasma.

Treatment for melasma includes:

  • Creams, liquids, lotions, or gels that lighten skin
  • Chemical peels, dermabrasion, or microdermabrasion
  • Secret RF Microneedling
  • Laser Genesis™ treatments
  • Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy

When you consult with the team at Swan Medical Aesthetics about melasma treatment, Dr. Smith discusses your treatment options with you based on your triggers, symptoms, and health history. 

Treatment is tailored to your individual skin type and health.

Call us today to schedule your consultation! (919)844-4444

Michelle Anthony