Melasma is characterized by brown patches, usually irregular in size; that can appear on the forehead, cheeks, upper lip, and nose. Women with a strong history of sun exposure are particularly at risk for developing melasma. Other factors to consider are: genetic predisposition and hormones influence. It is not unusual for a woman to develop this hyperpigmentation during pregnancy.
Melasma, although not indicative of a medical problem, can be emotionally very upsetting and increase a woman’s stress level specially when confidence in herself is an integral part of today’s job enviroment.
The best approach to treating melasma is a combination of different techniques.
Bleaching agents, such as hydroquinone 4%, works very well in decreasing the discoloration. I personally like to use a combo of various bleaching agents at 2%, instead of 4%. This is equally effective and will minimize possible side effects.
Retin A and azelic acid work well. In women of color the best results are sometimes achieved using a cream that combines: retin A., hydroquinone, and a mild steroid.
All of the above products are sold in prescriptions and should be used only under the care of a physician. Please avoid using your friend’s creams!
Laser treatments can be very helpful. Fractional lasers, such as the popular Fraxel, are very effective in treating melasma. Fractional laser has the added benefit of rejuvenating the skin along with clearing the dark pigments.
In treating and preventing recurrance of melasma, sun protection is paramount. A SPF of at least 30 should be applied routinely everyday.
You do not have to hide your skin. With the right treatment and following a good prescribed home care protocol, your skin will glow.
Beauty at a flash of light!
Love your face.
Dr. Aurora DeJuliis