Three Things That Can Cause Melasma to Flare up on the Face
Melasma is a common but often embarrassing condition caused by the overproduction of melanin. While it can happen to anyone, it is more common among women and people with darker skin tones. A board-certified dermatologist is your best option for melasma treatment, so your face appears even-toned and healthy.
Sun exposure, hormone changes, and genetics are three of the most common triggers of hyperpigmentation and melasma flare-ups. Call Spyglass Dermatology for a consultation to learn about these triggers and how to protect your skin. Our Stuart and Tequesta, FL team members understand how to manage melasma effectively and provide the highest level of care.
What does melasma look like?
Melasma looks like patches of discoloration on the skin, usually in areas that are regularly exposed to the sun. The patches can be brown, tan, or even blue-gray in color. Though melasma does not cause physical discomfort and is usually harmless, the appearance of dark spots can be distressing and make people feel self-conscious.
1. Sun exposure
People who live in sunny climates or areas with intense ultraviolet (UV) light are at increased risk for melasma. Even brief periods of sun exposure trigger melanin production and make existing patches darker and more visible.
There are ways to cover your skin and prevent melasma flare-ups. Spyglass Dermatology recommends using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and reapplying as needed. You should also wear UV-resistant clothing that shields your skin from the sun, including hats, sunglasses, and long-sleeved shirts.
2. Hormone changes
During pregnancy, fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone increase melanin production. The same goes for women who take birth control pills or undergo hormone replacement therapy.
We can work with you to understand how hormones affect your melasma. Stopping birth control pills or adjusting your hormone therapy may be necessary. Our staff in Stuart and Tequesta, FL can suggest alternative medications if this is the case.
Pregnancy-induced dark spots may improve once your hormone levels return to normal, but this is not always possible. You may require additional melasma treatment if the condition persists after childbirth.
Melasma may appear as a result of a genetic predisposition. So, no matter how well you protect your skin from the sun or avoid hormone-related therapies, genetics could still be a factor.
When you meet with us for a consultation, be sure to inform us if you have a parent or other relative with melasma. Knowing your family history can help us develop a successful treatment plan moving forward.
What treatments are available for melasma?
Melasma treatment may require one or more of the following to even out your skin tone:
- Topical retinoids: Vitamin A-based ointments and creams help block melanin production and lighten dark patches.
- Glycolic acid peels: Chemical peels with glycolic acid remove dead skin cells and reveal healthier skin underneath.
- Tranexamic acid: Used topically or orally, this treatment helps prevent the activation of pigment-producing melanocytes.
- Topical depigmenting agents: Azelaic acid or hydroquinone may be used in combination with a retinoid or topical steroid.
- Laser therapy: Laser technology removes the top layer of damaged skin to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation.
Reduce your risk of dark spots
Even small areas of discoloration can be an embarrassing source of insecurity. To get help treating melasma, reach out to Spyglass Dermatology in Stuart and Tequesta, FL. Our team is proud to offer a personalized and comprehensive approach to ensure the best possible results.