Melasma is a skin problem that causes changes in the pigmentation leaving brown to gray-brown patches on the skin. The patches usually develop in a symmetrical shape with matching marks appearing on both sides of the face. Melasma has been referred to as the “mask of pregnancy,” as it’s very common among pregnant women. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, almost 90% of those who develop melasma are women.
Your face and skin exposed to sunlight is the most susceptible to the development of melasma. It generally doesn’t cause any physical harm but it can be a source of emotional distress and embarrassment.
The exact cause of melasma isn’t clear. Those with darker skin tones are at a greater risk of developing melasma than those with fair skin. Estrogen and progesterone sensitivity may be connected to this condition. This means that hormonal influences such as birth control pills, pregnancy, and hormone therapy may trigger the melasma. Stress, thyroid disease, and excess sun exposure have also been known to result in melasma. Those who have a family history of melasma are also at an increased risk of developing the condition.
A physical examination of the affected area is usually enough to diagnose melasma. Other tests that might be performed to rule out specific causes can include a Wood’s lamp examination, which uses a special kind of light held up to the skin to check for infections. A biopsy may also be performed to check for any serious skin conditions. Most diagnoses are a form of mixed melasma, which means the discoloration is due to pigment in the dermis and epidermis.
Melasma can often be treated with prescription creams or topical steroids to lighten the affected areas. Should more aggressive treatment be necessary, chemical peels and dermabrasion can be used to strip away the top layers of skin to reveal fresh skin underneath. Laser treatments using PicoSure® can also help with melasma. To find out which treatment option is best for your specific needs, contact the offices of Luxe Laser and Wellness Spa to schedule your appointment for a consultation.
PicoSure usually works for Melasma and hyperpigmentation. Some skin types get better results than others and diligent sun protection is required to maintain your results. PicoSure works by delivering laser flashes to your skin. Because the flashes are so quick — only a trillionth of a second — you don’t have to worry about exposing your skin to heat, which can make melasma even worse. Instead, the system shatters the unwanted pigment below surface level skin. You’re left with an even skin tone in as few as 2-5 sessions.
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