Melasma, also referred to as chloasma, happens when irregular patches of dark skin show up on the face or forearms. These tan or brown patches often occur evenly around the forehead, nose, cheeks, or upper lip. The symmetry of melasma sets it apart from other conditions that cause the darkening of the skin. Melasma is not an unusual condition and is found more frequently in women. Generally, melasma is caused by sun damage or by hormonal changes, such as with pregnancy and menopause. Individuals with darker skin types are more inclined to have melasma compared to those with lighter complexions. At Houston Premier Dermatology in Houston, TX, Dr. Catherine Papasakelariou regularly treats melasma and offers several treatments that can lessen the appearance of the condition.
"Dr. Papasakalariou is a wonderful doctor, bubbling over with personality and enthusiasm, as well as being a very fine skilled dermatologist. Her staff are also very warm, pleasant, and helpful. It is a joy to come to this practice. Mel Pichanick, MD"- M.P. / Google / Dec 14, 2020
"⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Dr. P has the magic touch! Not only is she incredible in her field of practice, but she is an advocate for a woman’s natural beauty! She strongly encourages women to be confident in their skin and to make choices out of freedom not pressure. I am a 32 yr old woman and made the choice to get Dysport in order to get a softer look. The day of my appointment I advised her as to where my troubled areas were and she gave her professional advice on where to safely apply the Dysport. A WOW were the results I received! Thank you Dr. P for making my appointments and results a 5 ⭐️ WOW!"- A.B. / Google / Dec 14, 2020
"I loved my experience with Dr. P! A month prior to my visit, I had gone to another dermatologist and the experience was a waste of time and money. I was only seen by the PA and never a doctor, and the office visit was a quick 5 minutes. When I found Dr. P, I was so impressed with her genuine demeanor and how long she stayed in the room listening to all of my concerns. I walked out feeling confident and pleased with the visit. I would highly recommend Dr. P to everyone."- R.N. / Google / Nov 27, 2020
"Certainly easy to understand why this clinic has so many 5 star reviews. I called a couple weeks ago to make an appointment as a new patient for an annual skin cancer screening. It can sometimes be a bit dreadful calling doctors offices, but I was amazed with the patience of the receptionist as well as her willingness to answer my questions. Today I had my appointment, and it went every bit as great as my phone call to set it up. The Dr. was attentive, thorough, and gave me a lot of information and suggestions. She explained everything in a way which was easy to understand. I could not have been more impressed, and will certainly look forward to going back next year."- D.W. / Google / Nov 19, 2020
"Knowledgeable, caring, and thorough. Beautiful facilities."- P.E. / Google / Nov 12, 2020
The specific source of melasma remains unknown. Experts feel that the dark patches in melasma may happen because of various factors, such as hormone fluctuations, family history, race, anti-seizure medication, or medications that cause photosensitivity. However, excess sunlight exposure is regarded as the leading cause of melasma, particularly in people with a hereditary predisposition to this condition. Studies have shown that people typically develop melasma in the summer months when the sun is most intense. In winter months, the hyperpigmentation is less visible or milder.
Melasma is recognized by discoloration or hyperpigmentation mostly on the face. Most often, it happens to women who are 25 – 50 years of age and can happen to all skin types. Because of hormones during pregnancy, some women may experience melasma-related discoloration, which is called "pregnancy mask." Generally, it appears in certain areas of the face, including:
- Centrofacial (center of the face) – hyperpigmentation around the upper lip, nose, chin, forehead, and cheeks
- Malar – (cheekbones) melasma patterns amid the top of the cheekbone
- Mandibular – (jawbone) hyperpigmentation parallel with the jaw
When it comes to treating melasma, we have several options. First, we might recommend different topical creams, gels, or lotions that encourage skin lightening. Second, we offer dermatology treatments, such as chemical peels and microneedling. Another alternative could include intense pulsed light therapy or IPL. Unlike lasers that have intense, focused light, IPL utilizes broadband light. The broadband light allows for shorter recovery time. When implementing good sun protection and maintenance, your results generally last longer.
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If you suffer from melasma and you want to stop concealing it, or if you spend extra money on over-the-counter treatments that don't seem to work, we encourage you to schedule a consultation at Houston Premier Dermatology in Houston, TX. Melasma needs a specialized diagnosis to ensure we prescribe the best treatment for your skin. If the incorrect remedy is applied, the skin may become darker. Dr. Papasakelariou can correctly diagnose and address melasma to help you feel more confident.