Melasma is a stubborn skin condition that causes the appearance of brown or grayish patches on the skin of your cheeks, jawline, or nose. Don’t believe everything you hear about melasma, however. Many misconceptions have been making the rounds about this condition and its treatment.
Expert dermatologist Yvonne Hines, MD, and our team at Hines Dermatology Associates in Attleboro, Massachusetts, treat a full spectrum of skin conditions, from common issues like acne to rare skin diseases.
Melasma is a common pigment disorder, and while it’s not harmful to your health, it can significantly affect your appearance.
What is melasma?
Melasma develops when the cells that produce pigment become overactive. While the exact cause remains unknown, we do know that melasma is primarily linked to changes in hormones and excess ultraviolet (UV) sunlight exposure. It’s commonly referred to as the “mask of pregnancy.”
If you have melasma, you may experience light brown, dark brown, or grayish patches on your skin. Women are significantly more likely to develop melasma than men, with women accounting for 90% of melasma cases.
Take a moment to learn the facts about this condition and how we treat it to restore clear skin.
Myth: Melasma can’t be treated
Patients with melasma may fail to seek treatment, wrongly believing there is no available treatment for their melasma. In reality, even a very stubborn case of melasma can be treated effectively.
The first step is to visit a skilled dermatologist like Dr. Hines who has extensive experience treating melasma. Treatment is individualized and involves using multiple approaches to get the best possible outcome.
Myth: Melasma is permanent
Melasma can cause you to feel self-conscious about your appearance, and when it arises, you may worry that it’s permanent. In fact, melasma is typically triggered by excessive sun exposure. Another common cause is hormonal changes, such as those that occur during pregnancy or with oral contraceptive use.
In some cases, certain medications trigger melasma. With active treatment, most cases of melasma improve.
Myth: One treatment is all that’s needed
After your melasma has cleared up, managing the condition doesn’t end there. There’s no guarantee that melasma won’t return. Regardless of which treatment is chosen, there is always a chance that melasma can return due to UV light exposure or changes in hormones.
That’s why it’s crucial to work closely with Dr. Hines on a long-term melasma management plan aimed at preventing melasma and treating any flare-ups.
Myth: If you already have melasma, you don’t need to wear sunscreen
It’s a mistake to assume that there’s no longer a reason to wear sunscreen once you have melasma. If you have melasma, it’s still important to protect your skin from UV radiation. In fact, sunscreen is an essential part of a treatment plan for melasma.
You need to wear sunscreen daily, even on cloudy days. Dr. Hines counsels you on the right type of sunscreen to lower the risk of exacerbating pigment issues and avoid further darkening. Generally, you want to choose a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. A broad-spectrum sunscreen is ideal.
With the right treatment regimen, you can lessen the appearance of your melasma. For more information on how our expert team can help you combat melasma, contact our Attleboro, Massachusetts, office at 508-222-1976 or book online to schedule an appointment.
Current and prospective patients can send a message to Dr. Hines and the team here on our website.