Melasma is a skin disorder marked by pigment changes that cause patches of gray, brown, or red skin. It happens when melanocytes, the skin cells that create pigmentation, produce too much pigment, resulting in regions of darker skin on the face.
This condition affects both men and women, but it has been termed the "mask of pregnancy" since it’s much more common in pregnant women, and it typically appears on the face. Certain hormonal changes are linked to melasma.
Dermatologist and dermatopathologist Dr. Yvonne Hines at Hines Dermatology Associates in Attleboro, Massachusetts, provides expert skin care with a special interest in difficult-to-treat skin issues.
It’s important for patients with melasma to know their treatment options. That’s why we’ve gathered some helpful information about the skin disorder and how treatment can help restore a more even skin tone.
Melasma during pregnancy
The body goes through a range of interesting and sometimes strange changes during pregnancy. Changes to the skin are common.
Melasma tends to appear as blotches of darker pigmented skin in the shape of a mask across the lips, nose, cheeks, and forehead, earning it the moniker of the “mask of pregnancy.”
While melasma doesn’t affect your health, it can interfere with your confidence, causing you to feel less self-assured. Melasma can also cause dark patches around your jawline, or on your forearms and other sun-exposed areas of your body.
Additionally, skin that is already more pigmented, such as freckles, dark spots, and scars, may darken even more during pregnancy.
How is melasma treated?
Dr. Hines understands that your skin is as unique as you are. For this reason, there isn’t one solution that works for everyone with melasma. After a thorough evaluation, Dr. Hines works closely with you to devise a treatment approach that is more suitable and appropriate for you.
Your best therapy option depends on various factors, including the severity of the condition and how your skin responds. Common approaches to treating melasma include:
- Chemical peels
- Laser skin resurfacing
- Tretinoin-containing lotions
Because sun exposure stimulates the pigment-producing cells, wearing sunscreen is often part of an overall treatment plan for managing melasma.
Patients are encouraged to have an initial evaluation with Dr. Hines to establish a proper diagnosis. Many skin disorders share similar symptoms, so it’s best to trust an expert to evaluate your skin.
Why do some people develop melasma?
Researchers have yet to learn the exact cause of melasma, but hormonal changes and sun exposure appear to be involved. Melasma also appears to have vascular characteristics.
For some pregnant women, melasma resolves on its own a few months after delivery. For others, melasma persists even after giving birth.
The Hines Dermatology Associates team is standing ready to help you conquer melasma. If you’re ready to feel more confident in your own skin, give us a call and a scheduling coordinator will assist you in setting up your initial consultation with Dr. Hines.
We are committed to helping new and existing patients manage troubling skin issues, and we offer in-person and telemedicine appointments. You can also book online.