Those dark, brown or gray patches on your cheeks and forehead aren’t the remnants of your summer tan, but a common skin condition known as melasma. While the dark pigments may fade over time, the board-certified dermatologists at Lumos Dermatology® can provide treatments to help speed up the process and restore a more even skin tone. For an appointment, call the office in the Flatiron District of Manhattan, New York City, or click the online booking button today.
Melasma is a very common skin condition characterized by the development of brown or gray patches of skin. It most often appears on the face and you may notice the pigmentation on your forehead, nose, cheeks, chin, or above your lips. But the changes in skin tone can affect any part of your body exposed to the sun, including your neck and arms.
Women are more likely to develop melasma than men. The skin condition often occurs during pregnancy and is sometimes referred to as “the mask of pregnancy.”
It’s not entirely clear what causes melasma, but doctors theorize that the condition occurs from an overproduction of your color-producing skin cells, known as melanocytes. Melasma is more common in those with darker skin tones, but you are at risk of developing the skin condition if it runs in your family.
While the exact cause of melasma isn’t certain, the condition may be triggered or worsened by:
In addition to pregnancy, you may notice a worsening of your melasma if you take birth control pills or hormone replacement medication.
The board-certified dermatologists at Lumos Dermatology® conduct comprehensive examinations when you come to the office with concerns about skin pigmentation. The experienced team may diagnose melasma by simply looking at your skin. However, to assess the depth of pigmentation, the team may perform a Wood’s lamp examination, which uses a long-wave ultraviolet light to highlight the skin changes.
Your dermatologist may also take a sample of your skin to rule out other causes of the pigmentation.
Melasma may fade on its own over time. However, if your dark spots don’t improve, the board-certified dermatologists at Lumos Dermatology® can develop a treatment plan to improve your skin tone. Common treatments for melasma include topical creams such as hydroquinone to fade the discoloration, along with tretinoin or a corticosteroid to enhance the skin-lightening effects.
For melasma that doesn’t respond well to topical creams, the team at Lumos Dermatology® may suggest using the enlighten® laser system by Cutera®. This system uses picosecond laser technology to break up the skin pigmentation and restore your skin tone.
To learn more about melasma and your treatment options, contact Lumos Dermatology® by phone or online today.