Melasma in Houston, TX

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What is Melasma?

We know that applying sunscreen in south Texas is vitally important to the health of the skin. However, people with melasma, also known as chloasma, have to be even more diligent as their facial skin can easily develop irregular patches of dark skin on the face or forearms. These tan or brown patches generally occur symmetrically on the forehead, nose, cheeks, or upper lip. The symmetry of melasma distinguishes it from other conditions that cause darkening of the skin.

Our practitioners at Advanced Dermatology treat melasma regularly at each of our four locations where we offer a variety of light to deep impact treatments that can help reduce the visibility on the skin. The treatments at our Katy, League City, Pearland, or Sugar Land, TX offices are cosmetic only in nature and will not cure your skin of melasma. It can, however, lighten the dark patches that are not aesthetically pleasing. Schedule a consultation today.

What Causes melasma?

Melasma's exact cause remains unknown. Medical experts believe that multiple factors could trigger the dark patches in melasma, including hormone fluctuations, a genetic predisposition, race, the use of anti-seizure medicines, and taking medications that make the skin more prone to pigmentation after ultraviolet (UV) exposure. Women with fair complexions have an increased chance of developing melasma patches during a hormonal imbalance, while pregnant, or throughout menopause. 

We also know that in the summer months when the sun is most intense, melasma is more prevalent. The hyperpigmentation tends to be less or lighter in the winter.

What Are the Risk Factors Associated with Melasma?

Risk factors for melasma include exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun or tanning beds, hormonal changes such as pregnancy or oral contraceptive use, and a family history of the condition. Individuals with darker skin types, particularly those of Hispanic, Asian, or Middle Eastern descent, are also more prone to developing melasma. Certain medications, such as hormone therapy or antiseizure drugs, may increase the risk of developing melasma as well. Additionally, factors like stress and thyroid disorders have been associated with the onset or exacerbation of melasma in some individuals. Understanding these risk factors can help individuals take preventive measures, such as wearing sunscreen and seeking hormonal balance, to reduce their risk of developing melasma and effectively manage the condition if it arises.

What are the Symptoms of melasma?

Melasma's only symptom is hyperpigmentation on the face. Three types of common facial patterns have been identified for melasma:

  • Centrofacial (center of the face) – hyperpigmentation among the cheeks, upper lip, nose, chin, and forehead
  • Malar (cheekbones) – melasma patterns amid the upper cheeks
  • Mandibular (jawbone) – hyperpigmentation along the jaw

How Is Melasma Diagnosed?

Melasma is typically diagnosed through a visual examination by a dermatologist or healthcare provider. The diagnosis involves assessing the skin's characteristic brown or gray patches, often appearing on the face, particularly the cheeks, forehead, nose, and upper lip. Medical history, including any medications taken and previous sun exposure, may also be considered. In some cases, a Wood's lamp examination may be performed, where a special light is used to help visualize the depth of pigment in the skin. Additionally, a skin biopsy may be conducted to rule out other conditions with similar symptoms. Overall, a comprehensive evaluation of the skin's appearance, medical history, and possible contributing factors is crucial for an accurate diagnosis of melasma.

How is melasma treated?

Your practitioners at Advanced Dermatology have a menu of options available for you to treat melasma. To lighten the dark patches of melasma (no matter the cause), we offer topical treatments (hydroquinone or retinoid creams, gels, or lotions), medical-grade chemical peels, dermabrasion, microneedling, intense pulsed light photofacials, and laser skin resurfacing. You can expect our large selection of melasma management tools at all levels to be one of the largest selections of treatments in the Greater Houston area and a team of trained practitioners and technicians to go with them. When it comes to your melasma issues, the type of hypopigmentation treatment will depend on the severity.

Melasma FAQ

What is the main cause of melasma?
Scientists are still uncertain of the exact cause of melasma but believe a series of characteristics lead to this ailment, such as:

  • ultraviolet rays (sunlight exposure)
  • Being female
  • Hormonal changes (menopause, pregnancy)
  • Having a darker complexion
  • Genetics
  • Particular medications (anti-seizure prescription)

How can I remove melasma from my facial appearance?
Generally, having productive treatment for melasma starts by having your skin checked by a medical expert. At Advanced Dermatology, Dr. Duncan performs skin exams and offers numerous effective procedures to diminish the visibility of melasma. These can involve topical ointments, serums, peel treatments, laser procedures, or a mixture of therapies.

Can melasma be entirely eliminated?
While melasma may eventually sort itself out, this is not the case for all people. Patients with melasma may have flare-ups at different periods throughout their lifetimes. Even so, this doesn’t suggest that melasma can’t be addressed. By lessening sun exposure and having effective treatment, people can markedly diminish the look of melasma.

Minimize your melanin patches

Even if most of these pigmentation problems are not harmful, melasma may cause low self-esteem, psychological problems, and more from the melanin gathering heavily on facial skin. Melasma is not a normal age spot or freckle patch. It has common facial patterns on the face, cheeks, and jawline. If you would like assistance managing your melasma, please make an appointment at our Katy, League City, Pearland, or Sugar Land, TX office.

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