If you’ve noticed the appearance of dark patches on your skin, you may have a skin condition called melasma. Your New York dermatologist can diagnose your condition and recommend treatments. There’s nothing to worry about, as melasma is a common condition it’s not a serious health risk.
Melasma is also called chloasma, although some refer to the condition as the “mask of pregnancy”. While it may affects women who are pregnant, it mostly affect women between the ages of 20-50 years old, who are not pregnant. In the United States, experts estimate that six million women have melasma. Around the world, approximately 45 to 50 million women have the skin condition. Melasma may also occur on men, but according to the American Academy of Dermatology, 90 percent of cases involving melasma are women.
The tan or dark skin coloration of melasma has no known cause, but it is most often linked to:
Researchers and scientists believe that melasma occurs when melanocytes, which are the cells that produce pigment, become stimulated by estrogen and progesterone (female hormones). This stimulation of pigments produces more melanin when the skin is exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.
Visit a NYC dermatologist who’s familiar with melasma. A good dermatologist knows how to diagnose and treat this condition. With the proper treatment, your symptoms slowly diminish and may go away completely. Once it’s gone, your dermatologist in NYC may suggest wearing sun block on a regular basis to prevent future outbreaks.
If you find odd skin discoloration, the key symptom that informs you that it’s melasma is a symmetrical appearance of brown or gray splotches. The symmetrical splotches appear evenly on both sides of your face, although they can appear on other areas of your body as well. They should be the same size and shape on both sides.
These are the signs your New York dermatologist looks for when determining if your condition is melasma. It’s much less common, but the skin discoloration may also appear on your neck and forearms. More commonly, it appears on these areas of your face:
If you discover facial discoloration, visit your dermatologist in Manhattan. During your appointment, your dermatologist with examine your skin and ask you about your general medical history, including a family history, to rule out other skin issues. If you’re a woman, among the questions are those regarding the possibility that you’re pregnant or whether you’ve experienced a spike in hormonal activity. Both of these are triggers for melasma.
Sometimes, to correctly diagnose your condition, a dermatology doctor in NYC may use a Wood’s light. It’s a lamp that produces ultraviolet (UV) radiation to shine on your skin. It more easily shows the melasma and the depth of the condition. It’s rare, but in some cases, the dermatologist performs a biopsy taking a tissue sample to rule out more serious issues.
Your NY dermatologist may also inquire about the following factors, as they can put you at greater risk for developing melasma:
At first, your dermatologist may prescribe a topical melasma treatment containing hydroquinone, corticosteroids, acids, retinoids or a combination the ingredients above. These creams help lighten your skin back to normal. Typically, you apply these creams to the discolored patches of skin once or twice per day. Sunscreen can be applied over lightening cream each morning. Of the four types of melasma, the epidermal type responds best to topical treatment because the pigment in epidermal melasma is near the top layer of the skin’s surface.
For more recalcitrant or dermal melasma a variety of procedure can performed to help break up and eliminate the pigmentation such chemical peels, microdermabrasion or laser therapy.
The best way to avoid developing melasma is to limit your time in direct sunlight. If you can’t avoid being in the sun for extended times, make sure you follow these preventative suggestions:
Talk to your NYC best dermatologist about possible triggers that you may not be aware of. In addition to sunlight and birth control pills, triggers like other medications that stimulate hormones may be causing your condition. Follow your skin doctor’s recommendations and use the medicines as directed.
All symptoms and skin findings should always evaluated with a thorough consultation and physical examination for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan in order to exclude any underlying serious condition.
Important Reminder: This information is only intended to provide guidance, not a definitive medical advice. Please consult dermatologist NYC about your specific condition. Only a trained, experienced board certified dermatology doctor or pediatric dermatologist can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.