Melasma is a common skin condition in which people develop dark spots and skin discoloration. Melasma, also known as chloasma, is more common in women and can occur after or during pregnancy; while men can get melasma, women account for approximately 90% of all cases.
Melasma is characterized by dark, discolored patches of skin. It most commonly affects the face. Melasma is often symmetrical, and while it is most common on the face, it can develop on any area of the skin that is exposed to the sun. These discolored skin spots are relatively harmless and are primarily a cosmetic concern.
While dermatologists are unsure of the exact cause of melasma, the condition is commonly associated with an excess of estrogen and progesterone – hormones primarily produced by women (and men to a lesser extent). Melasma is more common in pregnant or on birth control women because their hormones are more likely to fluctuate. Furthermore, those with darker skin are more likely to develop melasma.
This condition is typically diagnosed through a visual examination of the skin. If there are any irregularities, a biopsy may be ordered in some rare cases.
Melasma can go away on its own, but it is more likely to persist and worsen with additional sun exposure. Topical creams that brighten the skin and fade the appearance of dark spots can help with the condition. Chemical peels and laser therapy may also be beneficial, but the most important factor in melasma treatment and prevention is the use of sunscreen. We will determine the best course of treatment for you during your consultation based on the specifics of your case.