Melasma is characterized by brown or tan discoloration of the skin. It is common in women, especially during pregnancy. Contraceptives and hormone replacement can stimulate the melanocytes in the skin to produce the dark discoloration. Sun exposure can also encourage the production of dark pigmentation. The forehead, nose, cheeks, and upper lip are common areas for melasma.
Treatment for melasma includes bleaching agents, sun protection and low energy fractional laser. Dr DeJuliis uses fractional laser on melasma patients with very good results. Fractional laser using very low laser energy delivers pinpoint beams of light into the dermis. This technique destroys melanocytes without damaging the surrounding healthy tissue.
When considering laser, it is very important to consult with a physician who has special expertise in delivering the right energy level to the skin since a strong laser can often overstimulate the skin and make the melasma worse.