Sun damage can take many forms, including hyperpigmentation of the skin. One of the most common conditions involving pigmentation is melasma, which can present with brown or brownish-grey splotches on the face, neck, and other areas of exposed skin. If you’re bothered by these patches of discoloured skin, we offer a range of treatment options to help. Dr. Shehla Ebrahim and our skilled team utilize the most advanced techniques to minimize the appearance of these spots and to make it easier than ever to enjoy beautiful, healthy skin for life.
What Is Melasma?
Melasma is the development of excess pigment, called melanin, in your skin. Recognizable by the patches of darker skin color, melasma is often found on areas that see a lot of sun: the forehead, nasal bridge, cheeks, upper lip, chin, neck, forearms, and backs of the hands. While more women than men have melasma, this common condition can occur in either sex. Melasma doesn’t cause a physical sensation or otherwise do harm, but it can be a source of dissatisfaction for people who do not like the look of the blotchy spots.
What Are the Most Common Melasma Causes?
The source of melasma is not fully understood, although we do know it is caused by pigment-making cells called melanocytes producing too much color. What makes these cells over-produce, however, is less clear. Sun exposure, hormones, and certain skincare products can all play a role. Individuals with darker skin are more prone to this condition as they have more active pigment-making cells in their skin than people with lighter skin tones.
What Melasma Treatments Are Available?
A number of practices use lasers to treat melasma, but the practitioner must be very careful as some people experience an increased risk of hyperpigmentation. Dr. Ebrahim instead often uses a specially formulated combination of treatments that she has found to work extremely well. Melasma traditionally can be very difficult to treat, with many individuals developing the concern due to a combination of factors (hormones, sun damage, birth control pills, pregnancy, and genetics). A number of people have instances of recurrence, particularly in patients who spend a lot of time in the sun. Additionally, lasers that can reduce the appearance of brown splotches often only provide temporary relief, and this method can even exacerbate the issue. Our approach to melasma utilizes an innovative topical prescription cream in conjunction with a chemical peel to address the issue from deep within the skin. Simple and effective, this method can provide exceptional results without the downtime associated with some types of laser treatment.
How Do I Determine the Best Melasma Treatment for Me?
While we commonly use the combination of topical cream plus chemical peel, every person’s needs and goals are unique. During your initial consultation, Dr. Ebrahim will evaluate your concerns, make a diagnosis, and develop a customized treatment plan based on her findings and your discussion. Some people may benefit from another type of procedure or combination of approaches, and we will speak with you about what options can provide the optimal outcome.
Want to find out more about melasma and treatment options? Contact our practice today to learn more and get started on your journey toward more evenly toned skin.