Brown skin discoloration on face
Melasma is a common skin problem. The condition of melasma is brown discolored patches on the face. The areas of the face that are mostly affected are the forehead, nose, upper lip and cheeks. It can also be seen on arms and neck, though this is uncommon.
It affects mostly women, with only about 10% of men being affected by this skin condition. Melasma can be effectively managed with a number of different treatment modalities but it cannot be completely alleviated as a skin condition.
Melasma is caused when melanocytes (the cells that give the skin color) produce too much color. People with darker skin tones (e.g., Asian, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern) are more likely to develop melasma than those with a lighter skin tone (e.g. Northern European). Triggers that cause the melanocytes to produce too much color include sun exposure, pregnancy, and birth control pills.
Melasma will often fade when the trigger is avoided or comes to a normal conclusion. However, there are various therapies available to help improve melasma. These therapies include OTC and prescription topical creams (hydroquinones, retinoids, low-potency corticosteroids) as well as treatments such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, HydraFacial MD®, and Q switched Nd: YAG Spectra™ laser. Topicals will take a few months of use until improvement is seen. Treatments will generally take multiple sessions to improve melasma.
All of these treatments are available at our offices.
It is important to understand that, while it is possible to lighten the patches, if the triggers are re-introduced, melasma patches can re-darken.
It is recommended to protect the skin by reapplying high SPF broad spectrum sunscreen (blocking both UVA and UVB rays) multiple times daily as well as the use of a wide-brimmed hat to protect your skin from the sun.
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