Melasma is a pigmentation disorder that causes brown to grey, brown, and blue patches on the skin. The condition can affect the facial appearance, but it is treatable.
Immediate melasma diagnosis and treatment is key. Those who understand melasma and its symptoms are well-equipped to treat the condition before it escalates.
What Is Melasma?
Melasma is a common skin problem for women and men around the world. It causes discoloration of the skin, resulting in flat patches or freckle-like spots.
Patients can experience melasma on any part of the skin that is exposed to sunlight. Most melasma patients experience skin discoloration on the cheeks, forehead, chin, nose, and above the upper lip. In certain instances, patients experience melasma symptoms on the forearms, neck, and other parts of the body.
Melasma patches can darken and lighten over time. They can get worse in summer and improve in winter.
Is Melasma Common?
Research indicates melasma affects up to one-third of the population. Melasma symptoms usually start to appear between 20 and 40 years of age. These symptoms can be chronic.
Melasma has been referred to as the “mask of pregnancy.” This is due to the fact that it frequently affects pregnant women.
Is Melasma Cancerous?
Melasma is not cancerous. But, skin cancers can mimic melasma. For those who experience any melasma symptoms, they can meet with a dermatologist. At this point, a dermatologist can assess their patient’s skin to find out if melasma or other skin issues are present.
Types of Melasma
There are three types of melasma:
- Epidermal: Can be dark brown.
- Dermal: Can be light brown or blue.
- Mixed Melasma: Can be a combination of shades of brown and blue; mixed melasma is the most common type of melasma.
A medical evaluation can be used to determine which type of melasma is present. Once the evaluation is performed, a patient can receive a proper diagnosis. The patient can then review treatment options for melasma.
What Causes Melasma?
Melasma causes include:
- Excess Sun Exposure: The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays affect cells that control pigmentation. If people spend too much time in the sun, they are susceptible to melasma.
- Hormones: Research indicates that fluctuations in certain hormones can cause melasma; the condition has also been linked to the use of birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy.
- Skin Color: Research shows that people with darker skin are more prone than others to melasma.
- Skincare Products: A skincare product that irritates the skin may cause melasma.
For those who believe they are dealing with melasma, there is no need to wait to address the problem. In this instance, meet with Dr. Babak Azizzadeh of the CENTER for Advanced Facial Plastic Surgery to receive an expert melasma treatment recommendation.
Is Melasma on Face Permanent?
Melasma can be chronic, with symptoms that last three months or longer. In some instances, people experience melasma symptoms that last a lifetime.
Is Melasma on Face Painful?
Melasma can cause people to itch, but it is generally harmless. With appropriate diagnosis and treatment following symptomatic onset, those coping with melasma can address the condition in its early stages.
How to Address Melasma on Face: Here’s What You Need to Know
To determine if melasma is present, keep an eye out for discolored spots and/or patches on the skin. These issues can crop up on different areas of the face, including:
- Upper lip
Melasma can also develop on the shoulders and upper arms. And, the condition has been shown to impact the neck, particularly in individuals age 50 and older. At the first sign of melasma on the face or other areas of the body, meet with a doctor. From here, a patient can receive myriad tests to determine if melasma is causing their symptoms.
How Is Melasma Diagnosed and Treated?
To diagnose melasma, a doctor will assess their patient’s skin. The doctor will find out when the patient started to experience their melasma symptoms and how long they have been occurring. He or she may also use a Wood’s lamp (black light) to identify any changes in the color of their patient’s skin. The doctor may request thyroid testing to determine if thyroid disease is contributing to their patient’s symptoms, too.
There may be times when a patient experiences a skin condition with symptoms that replicate those of melasma. Skin conditions with symptoms that appear similar to those of melasma include:
- Drug-induced or postinflammatory pigmentation
- Guttate hypomelanosis
- Hydroquinone-induced exogenous ochronosis
- Lentigo (age spots)
If a doctor believes a patient is dealing with melasma, a patient may require a biopsy to confirm their diagnosis. During a biopsy, a doctor will remove and examine a small portion of a patient’s skin. Once a doctor verifies a patient is coping with melasma, he or she can use the Melasma Area and Severity Index to assess the severity of their patient’s symptoms. Next, the doctor can determine the best course of action to help their patient address these symptoms and prevent them from recurring.
What Will Happen to Those Who Try to Ignore Melasma on Face?
Melasma can disappear on its own, without treatment. Yet, if left unaddressed, melasma symptoms can impact people physically and emotionally.
Those coping with melasma can try to use makeup to disguise melasma on the face. But, doing so offers no guarantees. Melasma symptoms will continue for an extended period of time, regardless of how much someone tries to hide them. Despite someone’s best efforts, it can be difficult to prevent melasma from hampering their facial appearance.
Furthermore, melasma can impact someone’s facial appearance, to the point where he or she becomes self-conscious about it. The condition may lead someone to avoid social gatherings, due to embarrassment about their facial appearance. It can even contribute to anxiety, stress, depression, and other mental health issues.
Meet with a dermatologist as soon as melasma symptoms appear. This allows a patient to identify the root cause of their symptoms and find a safe, effective way to treat them.
What Is the Best Treatment for Melasma on Face?
The best treatment for melasma varies. Common melasma treatments include:
1. Retinol for Melasma
Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that promotes skin renewal, treats acne, and boosts production of collagen, a protein that supports skin elasticity. It is available as a non-prescription topical treatment for melasma and accelerates the body’s natural cell turnover process. In doing so, retinol helps eliminate dark patches on the skin much faster than they would heal on their own.
In addition to retinol, bleaching agents that contain hydroquinone may be used to treat melasma. Hydroquinone stops the process that causes skin discoloration, and it is often used to lighten the skin. It can also be used to treat areas of the skin that are more sensitive to the sun.
Although retinol and bleaching agents to correct melasma are often sold over the counter, consulting with Dr. Azizzadeh prior to using these medications is key. Dr. Azizzadeh strives to provide a patient with a safe, effective treatment tailored to their melasma symptoms. He meets with a patient to understand their melasma symptoms, then offers a personalized treatment recommendation. Finally, Dr. Azizzadeh monitors his patient’s progress throughout melasma treatment to ensure that his patient can address their melasma symptoms.
2. Melasma Laser Treatment
Laser skin resurfacing is a non-surgical melasma treatment that can improve skin tone, texture, and pigmentation. During a laser skin resurfacing procedure, DOT Deka lasers are used to apply controlled energy to discolored portions of a melasma patient’s skin. Additionally, laser skin resurfacing helps a melasma patient tighten the skin and reduce pore size.
Downtime associated with melasma laser treatment is minimal; in most instances, patients only need about seven to 10 days to recover. Dr. Azizzadeh provides his patients with comprehensive instructions to streamline the laser skin resurfacing recovery process and limit the risk of post-treatment complications. This ensures that a melasma patient can reap the full benefits of laser skin resurfacing.
The results of laser skin resurfacing typically last up to five years. Dr. Azizzadeh provides skincare tips to help patients avoid recurring melasma following laser skin resurfacing. He is available to respond to a patient’s concerns or questions at any point during laser skin resurfacing recovery.
3. Microneedling for Melasma
Microneedling involves the use of tiny needles to stimulate collagen growth and promote the growth of elastin, a protein that supports skin elasticity and resilience. The non-surgical procedure repairs the skin via the creation of microscopic channels. It enables platelet-rich plasma and skincare products to reach the deepest layers of the skin to deliver maximum results.
During a microneedling procedure, tiny, precisely spaced needles are used to create micro-punctures in the skin, and each micro-puncture activates the skin’s natural cell regeneration properties. As a result, microneedling helps melasma patients treat skin discoloration, as well as lift, tighten, and revitalize the skin.
Microneedling is a versatile procedure, and it can be used to treat the face, neck, arms, hands, and other areas of the body. On average, it takes about 30 minutes to perform a microneedling procedure, and an entire microneedling appointment with Dr. Azizzadeh may require about 90 minutes. Once a microneedling appointment is complete, microneedling recovery usually takes about two to four days to complete, with some patients fully healing within 24 hours of treatment.
4. Skincare Products
For people who are searching for a melasma on face treatment, skincare products are available to treat sun-damaged skin. These products often contain kojic acid that exfoliates discolored skin, along with hydroquinone.
Certain skincare feature specialized formulas designed to limit the impact of sun exposure and environmental pollutants. As a result, these skincare products help individuals address melasma in its early stages.
Dr. Azizzadeh provides ZO Skin Health products that can be incorporated into a daily skincare routine. He evaluates a patient to determine if ZO Skin Health products can help his patient alleviate their melasma symptoms.
Is the Best Treatment for Melasma Plastic Surgery?
Plastic surgery for melasma won’t necessarily help treat the condition. Instead, patients can pursue any of the aforementioned treatments to address their melasma symptoms.
Patients who want to undergo a facelift or other facial plastic surgeries in conjunction with a melasma treatment should meet with Dr. Azizzadeh. That way, Dr. Azizzadeh can perform a full evaluation to determine which cosmetic procedures can help a patient accomplish their desired results.
Is Melasma Preventable?
There are several things that people can do to guard against melasma, such as:
- Limit Sun Exposure: Excess sun exposure increases the risk of melasma; therefore, it is crucial to limit the amount of time spent in direct sunlight whenever possible.
- Apply Sunscreen: Wear sunscreen every day. Use a sunscreen with broad-spectrum protection and reapply sunscreen at least every two hours.
- Wear Protective Clothing: Wear a wide-brimmed hat and layered clothing to protect the skin against excess UV radiation that otherwise causes melasma.
- Enjoy Foods Rich in Vitamin D: Eat eggs, meat, yogurt, and other foods loaded with vitamin D; doing so can help you maintain healthy skin.
- Moisturize the Skin: Use a moisturizer to restore the skin’s lipid barrier and protect the skin against damage.
Dr. Azizzadeh understands the dangers associated with melasma, and he works with patients to help them identify and treat this issue. By meeting with Dr. Azizzadeh, a patient can learn about a wide range of melasma treatment options.
How Does Dr. Azizzadeh Approach Melasma Treatment in Beverly Hills?
There is no telling when melasma symptoms will arise. These symptoms are generally painless, but they can affect how a patient looks and feels.
In some cases, melasma impacts a patient’s self-confidence. It can also impact a patient’s ability to maintain a balanced, natural-looking facial appearance.
Dr. Azizzadeh has a simple goal with melasma treatment: to correct melasma so that a patient feels good about their facial appearance. He takes a holistic approach to melasma treatment.
As a world-renowned facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon with extensive melasma treatment experience, Dr. Azizzadeh works closely with his patient to diagnose and treat melasma. Dr. Azizzadeh performs an in-depth assessment of a patient’s medical history and conducts a physical exam. He then crafts a custom treatment plan for his patient, and this plan is used to help a patient revitalize their facial appearance.
Dr. Azizzadeh tracks his patient’s progress throughout a melasma treatment program. He responds to his melasma patient’s concerns and questions during treatment and ensures that their progress stays on track. When a patient’s recovery from melasma treatment is complete, he or she can enjoy a revitalized facial appearance.
Identify the Best Treatment for Melasma on Face
Melasma affects people in different ways. So, the best treatment for melasma varies based on the patient, the severity of their symptoms, and other factors.
To determine if melasma is present, meet with a dermatologist. Next, the dermatologist can view changes in their patient’s skin color. Also, an examination of a patient’s thyroid and a biopsy can be performed as needed.
If a patient receives a melasma diagnosis, try not to worry. At this time, the dermatologist can provide personalized tips and recommendations to help their patient alleviate melasma symptoms. The dermatologist will continue to work with their patient to ensure the melasma treatment delivers the optimal results. He or she can respond to their patient’s concerns and questions throughout treatment, too.
Patients dealing with ongoing melasma symptoms are encouraged to consult with Dr. Azizzadeh. Although past melasma treatments may have been ineffective, Dr. Azizzadeh can explore melasma holistic treatment options with his patient. Together, Dr. Azizzadeh and his patient can find a safe, healthy way to treat melasma symptoms.
Schedule a Melasma Holistic Treatment Consultation with Dr. Azizzadeh Today
Melasma is sometimes difficult to treat, but Dr. Azizzadeh dedicates significant time and resources to develop a personalized treatment plan for each of his melasma patients. To date, Dr. Azizzadeh has helped many patients correct their melasma symptoms, and he continues to explore ways to safely and effectively treat skin problems.
For those who have been dealing with recurring issues, Dr. Azizzadeh can help. He can meet with patients to explore the best treatment for melasma on the face and other ways to address these problems.
Dr. Azizzadeh is available to discuss treatment options for melasma and other skin issues. To schedule a treatment consultation with Dr. Azizzadeh, please call us today at 310-657-2203.