Melasma is an acquired darkening of sun-exposed areas. The cheeks, the upper lip, the chin, and the forehead are the most common locations, but it can occasionally occur in other sun-exposed locations. While melasma can also occur in men, women are affected in 90% of cases.
The cause of melasma is uncertain. In many cases, hormonal activity appears to play a role because melasma occurs with pregnancy and with the use of oral contraceptive pills. However, melasma can occur in the absence of any of these factors. Other factors that may cause melasma are medications, mild ovarian or thyroid dysfunction, and certain cosmetics. The most important factor that causes melasma is exposure to sunlight.
Melasma is a difficult condition to treat but there are several good options. Your daily skin care regimen should contain a good sunscreen and a topical antioxidant to suppress pigment production. Prescription strength pigment reducing agents can also be very helpful and are commonly used as well. At Keris Dermatology, we start addressing melasma by performing a Personalized Skin Care Consultation. To optimize results, we may also recommend certain in-office procedures. These procedures may include a series of Chemical Peels and Microdermabrasion sessions or a variety of different lasers treatments, such as the Sciton Profractional and Sciton Micropulsed 1064nm NdYAG.