Melasma, A Common Skin Concern
One of the most common skin concerns, and reasons to see a dermatologist, is melasma. Melasma refers to hyperpigmented, brown colored patches which can appear on the forehead, cheeks, bridge of the nose, or chin. It has also been referred to as the “mask of pregnancy.” As this nickname implies, melasma is frequently noticed during pregnancy, but anything that can change hormone levels, for example birth control, can prompt it to develop. Melasma is seen across all races and all skin types. Happily, melasma is not dangerous, but many patients may feel self-conscious in the change of color of their skin.
Melasma is a treatable skin condition, with several choices when it comes to evening out the skin tone. A commonly prescribed medicine is a cream with three active ingredients - hydroquinone, tretinoin, and a mild steroid. These three active ingredients work together to even out the skin tone. Another choice in treating melasma is azelaic acid. This mild acid can be safely used in the most sensitive of skin. In addition, chemical peels performed by experienced, licensed aestheticians can also help even out the skin tone. No matter which treatment is chosen, the key to its success lies in consistency of use, and plenty of sunscreen in the morning.