What is Melasma?
Melasma is a common and frustrating skin condition that affects over five million people in the United States alone. It causes hyperpigmentation, which can present itself as symmetrical, blotchy brown to gray-brown patches on the face and neck. It is also known as chloasma or the mask of pregnancy. Found more commonly in women with darker skins tones, it is especially prevalent in those of Hispanic, Southeast Asian, African, Indian, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern backgrounds. Additionally, people living in areas of intense ultraviolet light are at higher risk for melasma. Although this condition is not harmful, it is often a challenge to treat and can have a negative effect on one’s quality of life. Because of these detrimental social and psychological effects, it is important to seek proper treatment. Visit Spyglass Dermatology in Stuart and Tequesta, FL, to learn more from Dr. Ryan Alan Schuering or a member of his staff.
"Dr Schuering is very professional, friendly and capable. I had a total body exam and he treated about 10 lesions. I found his manner to be exemplary. The office staff is so kind and caring. All located in a beautiful and clean office in Tequesta."- L.T. / Google / Oct 28, 2023
"I’m new to Port St. Lucie and I was highly recommended by the PA Kimberly Cray , From the minute I walked in I didn’t get the receptionist name, but I could not have been greeted with a bigger smile, and it was very helpful, I had finished most of my forms online so that also speed it up my wait time which in the waiting room wasn’t more than eight minutes, I was brought back by the medical assistant. She got all my information, and shortly after Kimberly came in and gave me a head to toe check up.. Kimberly is so thorough kind patient explains everything you need to know she zapped quite a few pre-cancerous spots and answered all my questions so if you’re looking for a great team who really care about the patients give this place try and ask for Kimberly"- S. / Google / Oct 26, 2023
"Great experience! Highly recommend! Dr. Schuering was super kind and attentive. The office staff was great. The office itself was beautiful and comfortable. They got me in and out quickly. Have been looking for a new derm for a while. This is definitely the one!"- C.S. / Google / Oct 13, 2023
"My 10 year old saw Cheryl and Dr. Schuering today, and he wanted to leave a 5-star review. I was so impressed by how patient and kind everyone was in the office."- O.G. / Google / Oct 13, 2023
"Where do I begin!! I’ve seen PA Kimberly Cray when she used to work in Miami. I made trips to see her then and now in Tequesta 😊 She is amazing and sweet as a button. I highly recommend her to anyone. She makes you feel at ease throughout your entire appointment and explains everything thoroughly. She listens and makes you feel heard. She is always thinking of the best approach to treat each patient. Love her!!"- S.D. / Google / Oct 12, 2023
What causes melasma?
Melasma is caused by increased activity of the pigment-producing cells of the skin (melanocytes), resulting in more pigment deposition. The exact cause of melasma is unclear. However, a common inciting factor is exposure to sunlight, which is thought to activate the melanocytes to produce more pigment. Hormones are also thought to play a role, but the exact link between hormones and melasma has not been clarified. Nevertheless, circumstances that affect hormones, like pregnancy, oral contraceptives, and hormone replacement therapy, can contribute to the development of melasma. Genetic factors also seem to play a role, with some studies showing a higher incidence among family members. Less common risk factors include thyroid disorders, phototoxic medications, and cosmetics.
How Can Melasma be Treated?
Treatment of melasma often requires the use of multiple types of therapies, with results occurring over the span of several months. Reducing exposure to sunlight and applying sunscreen daily is often a critical step. When outside, avoiding direct sunlight by wearing a wide-brim hat or other protective clothing is more effective than sunscreen alone. Patients should use a high-factor broad-spectrum sunscreen that has good protection against UVA light. Furthermore, sunscreens with protection against visible light may provide additional benefits. These will help to reduce the production of more uneven pigment.
Topical retinoids and glycolic acid peels can be used to increase the elimination of pigment already present. Additionally, topical depigmenting agents like azelaic acid or hydroquinone are useful, often in combination with a retinoid and a topical steroid. Other topical options include kojic acid and niacinamide. Laser therapies work by targeting the pigment in the skin, though the results are mixed. Tranexamic acid can be used topically or orally to prevent activation of the factors that stimulate pigment-producing melanocytes. For women who experience the onset of melasma after starting an oral contraceptive, the medication should be stopped if possible. Pregnancy-induced melasma may improve postpartum without the need for treatment. Effective treatment of melasma often requires a combination of many of these therapies. Each patient is unique and should visit a board-certified dermatologist to determine which therapies are right for them.
Solve Your Skin Problems
Don't let melasma cause you to feel insecure about your body. At Spyglass Dermatology, our team is dedicated to ensuring each of our patients receives the best possible skincare when it comes to melasma or any other condition. Contact our office in Stuart and Tequesta, FL, today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Schuering and determine the best form of treatment for your melasma.