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Treatments and Tips for Brown Patches on Skin: Melasma

up close photo of melasma on face

Photo credit: Elord from Wikidocs

Melasma consists of the development of dark brown patches of skin that appear most commonly on the facial area. The spots often crop up on the cheeks, the upper part of the nose, the forehead, chin, and upper lip. Other body areas that are often exposed to the sun can also exhibit melasma, particularly the forearms and the neck.

Causes of Melasma

Melasma is not a dangerous condition, though its presence often makes people feel self-conscious about their appearance. Its causes are not absolutely clear, but exposure to the sun is thought to be the primary cause of this common skin issue. Other things that may trigger these darkened skin patches to form include taking birth control pills, being pregnant, or undergoing hormone therapy due to the presence of increased levels of estrogen and progesterone. Stress and thyroid disease have also been thought of as risks for melasma. The condition typically occurs most often in women aged 20 to 50.

Treatments For Melasma

This skin discoloration may eventually disappear on its own, with no intervention needed. It will fade over time, especially if it is caused by hormone supplements that are stopped or once hormonal levels return to normal post-pregnancy. Some patients, however, wish to be rid of these facial skin discolorations that can appear to be brown, tan, or blue-gray in color.

Tips To Keep In Mind

To keep malasma from forming, becoming worse, or to help ensure an even skin tone, try adhering to the following:

  • Always wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher whenever you are outdoors
  • While out in the sun, wear a wide-brimmed hat
  • Stay in the shade on sunny days
  • Use gentle skin care products that will not irritate melasma or make it worse
  • Do not wax your skin to remove hair. This can cause inflammation that can irritate melasma. Ask Atlanta dermatologist, Dr. Gross, about alternate hair removal options.

If you believe you have melasma, Alexander Gross, M.D. at the Georgia Dermatology Center can make a definite diagnosis and offer tips or treatment to help when necessary. If you are presently pregnant and exhibiting hyperpigmentation, it’s reasonable to determine those symptoms will disappear after childbirth. However, Dr. Gross will complete a thorough examination of your skin, ruling out any other issues.

A device called the Reveal Imager can be see to analyze your skin for hyper pigmentation, sun damage and other conditions. If you wish to speed up the fading of melasma, Alexander Gross, M.D. can offer you effective results with chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and laser therapy treatments, together with creams to be used at home.

Georgia Dermatology Center is located in Cumming, Georgia. We serve the Atlanta area, including the cities of Milton, Alpharetta, Gainesville, Suwanee, Sandy Springs, and Roswell. Alexander Gross, M.D. evaluates and discusses procedures beforehand with each patient, even those who are receiving services in the Georgia Dermatology Center medical spa.

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