What Is Melasma?
Melasma is a condition causing brown to gray-brown patches of discoloration to develop on the cheeks, forehead, and bridge of the nose. Melasma is not accompanied by any discomfort, pain or itching, but many patients dislike the appearance of the discoloration, especially when it appears on their face.
What Causes Melasma?
The exact cause of melasma has not yet been determined. However, the condition is more common in people with darker skin such as those of Latin/Hispanic, North African, African-American, Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean descent. Melasma also appears to have hereditary links. Those who have a relative with melasma have a higher risk of developing the skin condition themselves. Some of the identified common triggers for melasma include sun exposure, hormonal changes, and some cosmetics. The UV light in the sun stimulates the melanocytes responsible for the discoloration. Hormones are another commonly known trigger, especially in pregnant women.
How Is Melasma Treated?
The doctors at Santa Monica Eye Medical Group use Picosure laser treatments to address pigmentation disorders in all skin types. PicoSure typically requires fewer visits to reduce the appearance of scarring and feels gentler to the skin. Treatment typically takes 20-30 minutes, but if a large area is being treated, the session can take up to two hours. After treatment, the patient should take care to follow the doctor’s instructions for aftercare. Ice and sleeping with an extra pillow for elevation can help to reduce swelling. The patient should be careful to keep the treated area clean and apply an ointment like petroleum jelly to keep the skin moisturized to promote healing. They should avoid the sun and wear broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Patients who are unhappy with the appearance of their skin due to the discoloration associated with melasma should make an appointment with the doctors at Santa Monica Eye Medical Group for assessment and treatment.