What is melasma?
Melasma is a common condition characterized by hyperpigmentation. The disorder can cause abnormally colored patches of skin that appear gray or brown. Those changes can be noted on your:
- Upper lip
- Bridge of your nose
Researchers at the American Academy of Dermatology assert that melasma usually occurs in women, with men making up only around 10% of all cases.
What causes melasma hyperpigmentation?
The medical community is uncertain about the exact causes of hyperpigmentation. Some researchers believe it occurs because of malfunctioning melanocytes in your skin, which are the cells responsible for creating pigment.
There are several known triggers that can lead to melasma, including:
- Sun exposure
- Certain skin care products
- Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy, hormone replacement therapy, or while on birth control
There may also be a genetic component to melasma since it appears to run in families.
How is melasma hyperpigmentation treated?
There are several ways to address melasma and even your skin tone. Dr. Hwang-Ki evaluates your skin before guiding you toward the treatments that are best suited for your needs.
Chemical peels are one option and work by using a chemical solution to remove the outermost layers of skin. This can also remove dark patches for some.
An oxygen facial is another approach and directs pressurized oxygen into your skin to promote new cell growth. This can help break apart pigmentation clusters to achieve a more even tone.
Intense pulsed light, or IPL, treatments are also effective. The short pulses of concentrated light blast apart concentrated pigment, allowing your lymphatic system to clear those particles from your body. The Q-switched Nd: Yag laser takes a similar approach.
No matter which option you choose, vigilant sunscreen use is critical to maintaining your results. Sun exposure can cause hyperpigmentation to begin anew, so find a high-quality sunscreen that works for your skin type, and apply it daily.
Explore treatments for melasma hyperpigmentation in greater depth during a one-on-one consultation with Dr. Hwang-Ki. Online scheduling is fast and easy, or you can call the office to check appointment availability.