Melasma is a tricky skin condition that largely affects the skin on your face, leaving darkened patches of color. While sun exposure plays a considerable role, there are other factors at play, including hormones, skin color, and heredity.
At Z-Roc Dermatology, our team of experienced skin care specialists routinely helps patients eliminate melasma using a wide range of effective techniques that range from prevention to innovative laser dermatology.
Here we take a look at the primary drivers behind melasma and how we can minimize this skin condition.
The reason we refer to melasma as “tricky” is because this skin condition appears to have several different driving factors. While we don’t know what the exact mechanism is behind these darker patches of skin, we do have a handle on some of the circumstances that place you more at risk, including:
Women account for 90% of cases of melasma, which may be due to the role that hormones play.
As we just mentioned, hormones play a role in the development of melasma and often affect women who are pregnant or on birth control.
Melasma tends to affect people with more skin color as their melanocytes (the cells that produce color) are more active. That said, melasma is more evident on lighter skin tones.
If you have a family history of melasma, you’re more prone to developing the condition.
Sun exposure activates your melanocytes and can greatly exacerbate the problem.
Clearing your skin
When it comes to tackling existing melasma, we offer several effective treatments, which include:
- Topical hydroquinone
- Retinoid derivatives
- Azelaic acid
- Topical corticosteroids
- Chemical peels, including Jessners and VI peels
For stubborn melasma, we turn to advanced laser technology — our industry-leading fractionated 1540nm Erbium laser by Cynosure®, which can break apart the melanocytes below the surface of your skin.
Once we’ve cleared your skin of the dark patches, you should do your part to maintain your great results by being vigilant about sun protection, which is especially important here in the Sunshine State. Melasma returns readily when you expose your skin to its ultraviolet rays, so we recommend wearing a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, though 30 is better for the sensitive skin on your face.
You can go a step further and limit your exposure during the sun’s peak hours between 10am and 3pm by either staying indoors or wearing a wide-brimmed hat when you’re outside.
If you’d like to explore which treatment options are best for minimizing your melasma, please contact our office in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to set up an appointment by either calling us or using our easy online scheduling tool.