What is melasma?
This is a common skin disorder that presents as symmetrical, asymptomatic, brown-tan, facial blotches/patches, usually on the forehead, cheeks, and/or upper lip. Melasma is more common in women and people with more skin pigmentation but can be seen in lighter skinned individuals and men. It is often hormonally triggered but is worsened with sunlight and even ambient light exposure.
How is melasma diagnosed?
Your dermatologist will perform a thorough history including the list of recent hormonal changes (pregnancy) and oral medications. Your dermatologist will then perform a physical examination, including the use of a Wood’s lamp, a specialized black light, to see if your melasma is deep or superficial. If you have not seen a primary care recently, your dermatologist may check your thyroid function as there is some evidence that suggests that thyroid disease can trigger melasma and pigmentation issues. The diagnosis is otherwise usually from the clinical examination.
What are treatments for melasma?
Melasma is a stubborn chronic condition and is often not cured but managed. Head to toe sun protection is paramount to treatment longevity. Your dermatologist will go over sun protective measures including clothing based sun protection, sunscreen use of SPF30 or greater with multiple reapplications throughout the day, and even oral sun protective supplements. Stopping hormonal triggers (such as birth control pills) may be suggested. Topical treatments containing hydroquinone and those without hydroquinone will be discussed. Oral medications such as transexamic acid will be discussed. Chemical peels and lasers have been done to treat melasma but they should be used as a last resort as the procedures carry a risk of worsening the melasma or causing procedure related complications.
Where should I go for evaluation and treatment of melasma in Ashburn?
Clear Dermatology offers the most advanced, well-researched, medical and cosmetic treatments to help you manage your melasma and other pigmentation issues. Contact us at 703-996-4000 to schedule your appointment with one of our melasma and skin pigmentation experts.