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Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

Are discolored patches appearing on your face? Brown or blue-gray patches, or spots resembling freckles, may result from melasma.

Fortunately, melasma often responds to treatment. While there is no cure for melasma, it is possible to keep it under control. While melasma is not harmful, this form of hyperpigmentation can make patients feel self-conscious.

For best results, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Treatment results are not as effective with patients who have had melasma for a long time. Learn more about melasma and treatment options from Dr. Sarah Saxon in Austin & Dallas, Texas.

Dr. Saxon Austin & Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon

What is Melasma?

Also known as chloasma, melasma results from the excess production of melanocytes, the cells that give skin its color.

Individuals with darker complexions are more likely to develop melasma, but those with fair complexions are also vulnerable. It is not unusual for melasma to worsen in the summer due to heavier sun exposure, then fade somewhat in the winter. Melasma may come and go. However, it is not painful and does not cause itching or other reactions.

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Melasma Causes

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Melasma Causes

Women are much more likely to develop melasma than men. That’s especially true of pregnant women. That’s because the amount of estrogen and progesterone hormones increased in pregnant women. These hormones boost melanin production.

Birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy may also trigger melasma. Sun exposure is another culprit. The sun’s UV rays also affect melanin production. That holds true for tanning beds as well. People with thyroid issues may experience melasma as a side effect. In addition, stress can worsen an outbreak. Other medications that may cause melasma include:

  • Anti-seizure drugs.
  • Some antibiotics.
  • Certain blood pressure medications.
  • Drugs that increase sunlight sensitivity.

Where Does Melasma Usually Show Up?

Melasma generally appears on the cheeks, nose, chin, or forehead. It also frequently appears on the forearms. Less often, it develops elsewhere on the body. There are three types of melasma:

  • Epidermal: The most superficial form, with pigment increasing in the skin’s top layer, the epidermis.
  • Dermal: Pigmentation extending into the skin’s second and deeper layer, the dermis. This type of melasma is more challenging to treat.
  • Mixed: A combination of both types of melasma.
Dallas & Austin Facial Plastic Surgeon Dr. Sarah Saxon

How is Melasma Kept Under Control?

Keys to keeping melasma under control include:

  • Daily sunscreen, without exception
  • Wearing a wide-brimmed hat when outdoors
  • Avoiding the heat and sun
  • Use of misters or cold compresses to warm skin
  • Daily medical-grade skincare to turn off melanin production

In addition, regular skin maintenance treatments that treat pigment, improve cell turnover, and increase collagen production can help keep melasma at bay.

Skincare for Melasma

Sunscreen and bleaching creams are among the most common forms of over-the-counter melasma treatment. Topical medical skincare therapies for treating melasma include:

  • Cyspera – a formulation of cysteamine for daily morning use to treat and prevent hyperpigmentation.
  • SkinBetter Even Tone Correcting Serum
  • Alastin and SkinBetter sunscreens
  • Retinoids - medical-grade formulations like SkinBetter AlphaRet Intensive increase cell turnover while boosting collagen growth. It has the added advantage of being clinically proven to reduce lines and wrinkles.
Dallas & Austin Plastic Surgeon Dr. Sarah Saxon

Treatment for Melasma

Treatment for Melasma

Treatments for melasma include:

  • Cosmelan MD Peel: This system includes an in-office peel with a cream for home use. The peel penetrates deep into the skin to reduce tyrosinase production. That’s the enzyme catalyzing melanin production.
  • Microgold Mesotherapy: This treatment infuses a serum containing exosomes, hyaluronic acid, tranexamic acid, antioxidants, and neuromodulators. Dallas & Austin facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Saxon formulated this serum to reduce pigment, treat fine lines, reduce pore size, and provide an overall glow with no downtime.
  • Exceed Microneedling and Benev Regenerative Complex: Microneedling increases cell turnover and builds collagen. Benev infuses the skin with exosomes for regeneration and rebuilding.
  • Morpheus8: This radiofrequency treatment can reduce or eliminate hyperpigmentation.

Keep in mind that certain melasma treatments are not recommended for pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding. Overall, the side effects of melasma treatment are relatively mild, with dryness or tenderness the most reported concern.

Schedule your Melasma consultation with Dr. Saxon today

If you are experiencing melasma symptoms, contact Dr. Sarah Saxon today to schedule a consultation.

Melasma Frequently Asked Questions

For some patients, melasma is a lifelong or chronic condition. For others, the discoloration eventually fades.

Melasma is relatively common. About 200,000 people are diagnosed with melasma each year.

Yes, melasma often goes away on its own. That’s especially true after pregnancy or if a medication causing the condition is no longer taken.

Insurance will not cover most melasma treatments. However, there are treatment options that insurance may cover.

Melasma is called “the mask of pregnancy.” Its appearance is due to hormonal changes.

Make your tomorrow beautiful. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Saxon about facial plastic surgery in Texas. Dr. Saxon will answer all your questions in a caring manner and help you create a plan to bring your ideal looks to life!