Melasma, or chloasma, is a skin condition common in women that is characterized by hyperpigmentation, or darkened patches of facial skin, including the forehead, cheeks, nose or upper lip.
Fluctuations in estrogen and progesterone hormone levels in females that may occur in response to hormonal birth control methods, hormone replacement therapy associated with menopause or pregnancy are often to blame for causing melasma. This is why melasma is often called the “mask of pregnancy.”
Skin discoloration from melasma is different from other forms of hyperpigmentation; it is less predictable and more difficult to treat. Otherwise, melasma may be easily mistaken for sun damage, freckles or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which may occur temporarily after some laser treatments, such as skin resurfacing or photofacial.
The safest and most effective treatment options for melasma include:
Skin lightening creams containing azelic acid, retinoids (Retin-A) or hydroquinone (TriLuma), or kojic acid
For women who develop melasma during pregnancy and thus cannot use creams containing hydroquinone for safety reasons, it is best to wait until your pregnancy and post-partum phase is complete before seeking melasma treatment.
When changes in the normal hormone levels resolve, melasma may also resolve on its own, but this is not always the case.
Sun exposure worsens melasma, so wearing a hat and using broad spectrum sunscreen with a powerful sun protection factor each day is important for women suffering from melasma.
Call us to find out more about melasma.