Dark Patches on the Skin
An estimated 600,000 Canadian women have a skin condition known as melasma. Melasma is a discolouration of the skin in the form of brown or grayish splotches. These pigmented spots are most often found on the face, particularly on the forehead, cheeks, upper lip, and nose. It can also appear on the neck and forearms.
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Irregularly Pigmented Patches
Melasma is a complexion irregularity that is not a health risk, but can be troublesome. Dark patches of skin can be caused by excessive sun exposure, genetics, hormonal changes, and skin irritation.
While both men and women develop melasma, statistically it does affect more women — particularly those with darker skin (simply because they have more active cells that produce pigment). In fact, it frequently appears with pregnancy, which is called chloasma or "the mask of pregnancy".
Melasma rarely fades on its own, but we have a comprehensive program of products and procedures to help you treat your melasma.
Our board-certified dermatologists have extensive knowledge of the skin and related issues. They have the medical know-how to accurately assess the dark patches on your skin to determine whether they are melasma, and how best to treat it. It is only with this assessment that an effective treatment can be created for you.
The cause of your melasma is unique to you. The cumulative effects of sun exposure may not be the primary cause of your melasma, but medical research has shown that it can certainly make it worse. For this reason, it is of the utmost importance that you always protect your skin from the sun. That means wearing a hat and applying a broad spectrum sunscreen. Make sure that the sunscreen you use is suitable for your skin. Unsuitable products applied topically can cause irritation, which is another cause of melasma.
Melasma Treatment FAQ
Melasma is a skin condition that can fade with time, particularly if it develops with pregnancy, however, it cannot be cured. There are many medical aesthetic treatments that can improve melasma and you can work with one of our board-certified dermatologists to prevent future melasma flares.
Melasma can be caused by hormonal fluctuations, genetics and sun exposure.
Melasma can be treated with laser based treatments, such as Hybrid Fractional Laser and Gentle Fractional Laser. Chemical peels and microneedling can also improve pigmentation due to melasma. Our board-certified dermatologists may also prescribe medicated creams or pills to help control and improve your melasma. They will also work with you to develop a scientifically-based skincare routine to target your melasma.
Skin affected by melasma is more responsive to the hormone, estrogen. Estrogen has been found to stimulate pigmentation, which in turn increases the risk of melasma.
Hyperpigmentation is skin that has an excess of pigment. It is discoloured and darker when compared to the surrounding skin.
Melasma is a specific type of hyperpigmentation.
It is important to first determine the cause of your melasma. If it is hormonal fluctuations, then you can examine what causes these fluctuations, thereby reducing melasma. If your hyperpigmentation is caused by irritation, then you can avoid those irritating agents.
Melasma is worsened by sun exposure, therefore to stop it from spreading, you should avoid exposing the affected skin directly to the sun.
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