Melasma: What Causes It and How to Treat It?

Melasma: What Causes It & How to Treat It.

By; Agezi Igboko, FNP-C

Melasma is a common skin condition that affects mostly women, although men can get it too. It appears asbrown or grayish-brown patches on the face, most commonly on the cheeks, forehead, chin, upper lip, and nose. It’s often referred to as the “mask of pregnancy” because many women develop it during pregnancy due to hormonal changes. However, hormonal imbalance isn’t the only cause of melasma. In this blog post, we will discuss the many causes of melasma and suggest some effective treatment options.

Hormonal changes and imbalances – As we mentioned, hormonal imbalance is one of the principal causes of melasma. This can happen during pregnancy, menopause, or when taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy. The hormonal changes stimulate melanocytes (the cells that produce melanin) to produce more pigment, resulting in dark spots.

Sun exposure – Another significant cause of melasma is sun exposure. UV rays trigger melanocytes to produce more pigment, leading to darker spots. This is why you often see melasma appear on the areas of the face that are most exposed to the sun.

Genetics – Unfortunately, some people are just more prone to melasma due to genetics. If your parents or siblings have melasma, you’re more likely to develop it too.

Skincare products – Melasma can also be triggered by certain skincare products that irritate the skin or cause inflammation. Some acne medications, fragranced products, and chemical peels may make melasma worse.

Treatment Options

If you have melasma, don’t despair! There are several effective treatment options available. Most involve a combination of topical creams, chemical peels, and in-office procedures. Here are a few treatments recommended by dermatologists:

  1. Sunscreen – The first step in treating melasma is to prevent it from getting worse. Always use sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or higher and reapply every two hours.
  2. Topical creams – There are many prescription creams that your dermatologist can prescribe to lighten dark spots and even out skin tone. Hydroquinone is the most common active ingredient, but there are many other newer options as well such as kojic acid, tranexamic acid, and azelaic acid.
  3. Chemical peels – Your dermatologist may recommend a series of chemical peels to exfoliate the top layer of skin and reveal fresh, new skin underneath.
  4. Laser therapy – In-office lasers can also be used to target and break up the pigmented areas on the skin, promoting a more youthful appearance.

Melasma is a frustrating skin condition, but it’s not something you have to live with. With the right care and treatment, you can diminish the appearance of dark patches and restore your skin’s natural glow. Remember that prevention is key – always wear sunscreen, avoid excessive sun exposure, and avoid irritants that may worsen melasma. If you’re struggling with melasma, make an appointment with your dermatology provider for personalized treatment recommendations.

At Sanova Dermatology, we understand the physical and emotional toll that stubborn pigmentation can take on people’s lives. That’s why our team of skin experts is committed to providing personalized care for those suffering from melasma and other forms of discoloration. From laser treatments to chemical peels, our experienced dermatologists have helped countless patients regain an even skin tone with minimal downtime or discomfort. Our goal is to provide a safe and effective solution that meets each patient’s individual needs and lifestyle. If you are struggling with any form of pigmentation, don’t hesitate to contact us today – we look forward to helping you achieve beautiful, glowing skin!

Meet Agezi Igboko, FNP-C

Meet our author, Agezi Igboko, FNP-C, a Dermatology Nurse Practitioner with 8+ years of RN and dermatology NP experience. Starting in a busy maternity unit, she transitioned to dermatology after completing a Post-Masters Certificate Program at Florida Atlantic University. Specializing in acne, eczema, and skin cancer, Agezi prioritizes personalized care and patient education. She currently practices out of our North Austin location, to schedule your visit with her click here.


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