Melasma is a very common patchy, brown discoloration that appears on the face especially the forehead, cheeks, upper lip and chin.
The pigment is due to overproduction of melanin by pigment cells called melanocytes which is triggered by sun exposure, hormone fluctuations, birth control pills, and hormonal changes due to pregnancy.
It most often affects women especially in women with darker complexions who live in areas of intense ultraviolet radiation exposure.
How is Melasma treated?
The treatment of melasma is complicated and may require combination treatments such as laser, topical therapies, chemical peels to achieve satisfactory results.
Other Treatment options for Melasma
- Discontinuing the pill or hormonal contraception.
- Use a high sun protection factor year round.
- Bleaching creams can prevent new pigment formation. Hydroquinone creams 2-4%, for 2 to 4 months. Possible side effects include redness and dryness.
- Chemical Peeling agents
- Topical glycolic acid as creams or as repeated superficial chemical peels.
- Topical retinoids, such as Retin-A. This works to improve pigmentation but might cause dermatitis. Do not use this during pregnancy.