Are you noticing uneven discoloration patches on your skin? You are probably suffering from melasma. Although harmless, melasma can be quite frustrating and embarrassing. Fortunately, Dr. Patricia O’Connor, MD, of Absolute Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center and her team of dermatology specialists’ offer professional diagnosis and treatment of melasma in Glen Allen, Virginia. The practice takes a multidisciplinary approach to treating this stubborn skin problem. Get started today by calling Absolute Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center.
What Is Melasma?
Melasma is the condition that leaves colored, dark spots on your skin, especially around your mouth and eyes. Even though it causes no physical harm, it can affect your aesthetics, thus taking a toll on most people’s self-confidence. This condition is prevalent in pregnant women, often referred to as ‘mask of pregnancy’ or chloasma.
What Is the Cause of Melasma?
There is no single or continuous cause of melasma. Particular risk factors make one more likely to develop this condition, such as a darker skin tone, sun exposure, and upsurge in hormones, maybe because of oral contraceptive pills or pregnancy. This condition is more common in women than men, as highlighted by the American Academy of Dermatology.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Melasma?
The spotty discolorations on one’s skin because of melasma are generally darker compared to your usual skin color. These spots are more prevalent around the face, especially on your cheeks, chin, bridges of your nose, and forehead. These spots are often symmetrical, with pattern marks appearing on both sides of your face. Melasma may also develop on your forearms, neck, or other areas on your body that has been exposed to sunlight.
How to Diagnose Melasma?
The dermatology specialists at Absolute Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center usually diagnose melasma through a simple visual exam. Your provider may also perform additional tests to rule out any other cause of your hyperpigmentation.
One standard test is the Wood’s lamp examination that involves shining a particular light on your skin. This light allows your doctor to evaluate if you have any fungal or bacterial infections, which may cause your discoloration. This test also enables your provider to determine how many layers of your skin are affected by melasma. If necessary, your specialist may also conduct a biopsy on the discolored area to ensure there is no other underlying condition.
What to Expect with Melasma Treatment?
In some instances, melasma may disappear on its own, mainly if it’s not caused by hormonal changes resulting from pregnancy or contraception. Nevertheless, if your melasma won’t go away by itself, there are alternative treatment options. Your specialist may use a combination of the following: chemical peels, topical steroids, creams to lighten your skin, dermabrasion, and microdermabrasion. To obtain optimal results, all skincare therapies should be used in conjunction with broad-spectrum SPF30+ sunscreen daily.
That said, Absolute Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center is a comprehensive cosmetic care center. Dr. O’Connor and her team develop customized treatment plans for all patients. Schedule an appointment with your select dermatology specialist today by calling the office or booking online.