Melasma or chloasma – Often known as the ‘pregnancy mask,’ is a skin condition common in women that is characterized by a special form of hyperpigmentation of facial skin, including the forehead, cheeks, nose or upper lip. The precise cause of melasma remains a subject of debate.
Women are far more likely than men to get melasma. It is so common during pregnancy that some people call it the mask of pregnancy. Hormones seem to trigger melasma. Although not exposed to the same hormones as women are, some men develop melasma. Especially, it occurs most commonly in darker skin ethnicities such as Asian, Hispanics and Africans. Some melanocytes become hyperactive, whereas other melanocytes nearby do not. It is typically related to chronic inflammation and ultraviolet sun light exposure.
Hyperpigmentation from melasma is different from other forms of hyperpigmentation; it is less predictable and more difficult to treat.
Dr. Nguyen offers the most effective treatment plans for melasma include:
- TCA Deep peel.
- ZO Stimulation peel, ZO three step peel and Controlled Deep peels: developed by Dr Zein E Obagi.
- Potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant regimens associated with retinoids and hydroquinone.
- Q-Switched Nd:YAG Laser, Fractional Pulsed CO2 Laser Resurfacing and Fraxel Re:Store for difficult melasma to treat and often recalcitrant to various treatments such as topical preparations and chemical peels.
In addition to medical treatments, chemical peels and laser treatments, Melasma patients are recommended wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen every day and reapplying the sunscreen every 2 hours. Dr. Nguyen also recommends wearing a wide-brimmed hat when you are outside. Sunscreen alone may not give you the protection you need and patients should avoid abrasive cleansers.
Successful treatment of melasma can recur, because of hormonal or other unpredictable influences, months even years after the treatment. Therefore, some patients have to follow some extensive treatment plans and follow-ups at Stone Mountain Skin Health Center.
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