Many patients come in with a pigmentation issue known as melasma. Characterized by patterns of
symmetrical discolored tan, brown, or bluish-gray skin, this common skin condition can appear quite
prominently. It is usually seen on the chin, upper lip, forehead, and cheeks. It typically appears as symmetrical brown or gray-brown patches. While it can affect anyone, melasma is more common in women than men and usually occurs during pregnancy or when taking certain medications such as birth control pills.
There are several types of melasma. There is dermal melasma, in which the dermal skin layer contains
melanophages (melanin-consuming cells). Epidermal melasma is found in the upper skin layers. Some
patients have a mix of these. There is melasma that is found in the skin of those with darker skin
tones. There is also chloasma, which is melasma experienced by pregnant women.
Though melasma does not have an exact cause, people experiencing the condition often have many factors in
Typically, women are more likely to have melasma than men are. Most commonly, it occurs in women between
20 to 50 years of age, women who have naturally darker skin tone, and women who are pregnant.
Melasma is potentially related to family history, hormone level fluctuations, racial background, use of
various medications that cause sensitivity to light, and heavy sun exposure. Sun exposure plays a role by increasing melanin production and making existing melasma worse. Skin irritants should be
avoided by those who have melasma, as irritants can stimulate the growth of more melanin pigment.
If you are at risk for melasma, proper sun protection is key, and it may be helpful to avoid anything
that can cause fluctuations in hormone levels.
Although there is no cure for melasma, there are treatments available that can help reduce its appearance. The most effective treatment option works by removing layers of damaged skin cells from the surface revealing brighter looking skin underneath.
It’s important to note that while these treatments may help improve your complexion, they won’t completely get rid of melasma. Make sure to take steps to protect your skin from further damage caused by sun exposure, such as wearing sunscreen with SPF 30+ every day. Even if you don’t plan on going outside much, UV rays can still penetrate through windows. Additionally, avoiding triggers like hormonal changes (if possible) will also help prevent flare ups from occurring again.
Topical products that can aid in the health of the skin are known as cosmeceuticals (a combination of
cosmetics and pharmaceuticals). Various skin-lightening cosmeceuticals are known to have a positive
impact on melasma reduction.
IPL or Intense Pulsed Light uses focused light waves to target melanin in the skin. This results in
disruption of the melanin which allows the body to get rid of the pigment by moving the debris to the
surface of the skin. A gentle microdermabrasion a week later helps to
further clear the skin. Microdermabrasion is a form of mechanical exfoliation.
Great experience here at Heights laser! Knowledgeable, pleasant staff makes it very enjoyable!
I had a birthmark and spot on my forehead and after four treatments with the IPL laser, both have
almost completely disappeared. I’m very happy with the results. Loren was great and made the whole
thing comfortable and pain free.
I have had many glycolic peels from several technicians. Anna is by far the best. I have referred
several clients to Anna.5/5
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