Say Goodbye to Melasma and Brown Spots with These Treatment Options
If you have found yourself noticing new brown spots and other patches of discoloration that will not fade with normal skin care, you might be experiencing Melasma. Melasma can appear at any point in time on the skin, and your day-to-day skin care routine is often not enough to combat its appearance. The dermatologists at Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute recommend the following treatments to reverse the appearance of skin discoloration.
What to Know About Treating Melasma
What is Melasma?
Melasma is a disorder in which skin pigmentation becomes distorted and brown spots appear on the skin. This pigmentation disorder is most common in women, with only about 10% of males affected. Melasma typically appears on the face, but may also occur on areas exposed to excessive amounts of sunlight too, including the forearms, neck, and shoulders. There is no clear cause for Melasma, but there is a theory it is a malfunction of the cells responsible for making color, or melanocytes, which causes them to produce an excess of color. In addition, there is linkage between prolonged sun exposure, a change in hormones, or irritating skin products and the appearance of brown spots. Dermatologists are able to diagnose Melasma easily but may take a small biopsy to ensure it is not another skin condition that may be more harmful. If Melasma is a result of a hormonal change, such as pregnancy or birth control, the spots should fade after birth or when usage of the contraceptive is stopped. However, if they do not fade over time, the following treatments will help in removing brown spots.
Hydroquinone is usually the first treatment given by dermatologists in treating Melasma. It may come in the form of a cream, gel, or lotion. Hydroquinone essentially bleaches the skin, which fades the appearance of brown spots. It does so by inhibiting an enzymatic process that decreases the number of melanocytes in the skin. Hydroquinone should be used once daily and be paired with strong SPF to preserve the lightened skin. Within 5-7 weeks, results should appear.
Similar to Hydroquinone, corticosteroids and tretinoin are agents found in the shape of a cream, gel, or lotion. These two ingredients used together produce an anti-metabolic effect, which suppresses the functions of melanocytes and again inhibits melanin production. Since melanin is no longer produced, dark spots will begin to fade.
Retinol is a form of retinoids, which can be found in various forms among skin care. Retinol is great for the skin because of its ability to increase cell turnover and increase collagen production. In addition, it may be used to help combat acne and blackheads.
Here are some preliminary steps to consider in prevention and reduction of melasma. First, cleanse your skin every night. Environmental pollution contributes to the degradation of the protective layer of your skin, which may cause your skin to be more susceptible to melasma. Second, take advantage of vitamin-packed skin care. Adding Vitamin C and E into your daily regimen can help brighten and heal skin. After cleansing, always moisturize. Moisturizing helps restore the lipid barrier of your skin. Restoring this barrier helps strengthen it to be able to avoid damage.
If these at-home tips are not working, the dermatologists at Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute can treat you with any of the discussed methods. If you are in or around Bloomington, Illinois, fill out this form to be connected to a skin care professional.