Melasma Treatment in Columbia, MD
Melasma, also known as chloasma or brown spots, is a common skin condition which affects various parts of the face, including the cheeks, nose, forehead and chin. Characterized by dark, discolored patches which range in color from brown to gray, melasma can cause great cosmetic concern for women.
If you suffer from melasma, there are treatments available to help fade the discoloration and preventative steps you can take to prevent recurrences. To schedule a consultation with a skin care professional in Columbia that specializes in melasma treatment, call (410) 204-2254 or contact Dr. Karen Clarke-Bennett online.
90 percent of melasma sufferers are women. While its causes are not completely understood, there are several factors which appear to trigger melasma development. Potential melasma causes include:
- Sun exposure: Considered the main cause of melasma, the ultraviolet rays you are exposed to from prolonged sun exposure affect the cells which control the pigment of your skin (melanocytes), leading to melasma development.
- Pregnancy and other hormonal changes: When melasma occurs in pregnancy, it is often referred to as the “mask of pregnancy” and is attributed to hormonal changes—particularly changes in estrogen and progesterone—which occur during fetal development. Melasma can also occur from hormonal changes caused by birth control pills or hormone medication.
- Skin irritations: Topical skin care products or skin treatments which irritate your skin could cause melanin production and worsen melasma.
A family history of melasma may increase your risk of developing melasma, along with having a darker skin tone.
Melasma Removal & Prevention
If melasma is triggered by pregnancy or birth control medication, it often disappears on its own when hormone levels stabilize. In other instances, your healthcare provider can provide several different treatment options to aid in melasma removal. Your treatment plan could include:
- Topical creams: Often first-line treatment for melasma, topical creams containing hydroquinone are utilized to lighten the skin. More potent hydroquinone products require a prescription, and are applied several times daily to brown spots. Sunscreen application should always follow the hydroquinone product.
- Topical steroids: Used in more severe cases, or when hydroquinone alone fails to lighten melasma spots, corticosteroids can be used to help lighten skin (either on their own or in conjunction with hydroquinone application).
- Chemical peel : There are several types of chemical peels your healthcare provider may recommend to treat melasma; however, chemical peels containing glycolic acid are most popular due to its ability to lighten the skin. A chemical peel will cause the top layer of your skin to peel off, revealing healthier, more even-toned skin underneath.
- Microdermabrasion or dermabrasion: Vacuum suction and a small wand with aluminum oxide crystals lift away the top layer of dead skin cells to improve the appearance of melasma. This form of melasma treatment often requires multiple treatments.
To prevent melasma, it is important to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays. This means wearing sunscreen every day or a wide-brimmed hat and limiting your time in the sun. Unfortunately, other triggers of melasma are hard to avoid. Make sure you choose gentle skin care products which do not cause irritation to the skin.
If the brown spots of melasma are causing you concern, meet with a healthcare provider in Columbia who can help you effectively treat your facial concerns. Call (410) 204-2254 or contact Dr. Karen Clarke-Bennett online.
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