People with melasma experience brown patches on their skin. Females are mostly affected by melasma, although it can appear in men and women alike. You may have also heard this condition referred to as "the mask of pregnancy" or "chloasma." Although there is no way to cure this skin condition completely, experienced and board-certified cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Rebecca Fitzgerald can provide effective treatment to reduce the skin discoloration. To learn more and to schedule a consultation, please call (323) 430-9800.
What is Melasma?
Melasma appears as brown patches, most commonly in the following areas:
- Upper lip
The forehead tends to be the most commonly affected area, although it's possible for melasma to appear anywhere, particularly in areas exposed to the sun. As is the case for other types of hyperpigmentation, sunlight worsens the appearance of melasma. As such, you should take steps to protect yourself from UV rays. Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen anytime you are out in the sun for a prolonged period. You should also seek shade between the hours of 10am and 4pm. Clothing can also protect you from the sun: A wide-brimmed hat, pants and long sleeves provide a good amount of coverage.
This skin condition is caused by collections of increased pigment in your skin. Pigment is what gives your skin color. There are a number of reasons you may be affected, including the following:
- Hormonal fluctuations (such as those that occur with pregnancy)
- Hormonal birth control pills
Dr. Fitzgerald has been in practice for more than 20 years. When she meets you during a consultation, she considers the comprehensive and individual makeup of your face. She will assess what is causing your melasma and how deeply it penetrates the skin. After this assessment, she can recommend those treatments which will be the most effective for you.
Treatment for Melasma
Melasma isn't a harmful skin condition, but it can make you feel less confident and self-assured. If you want to feel good about your skin, Dr. Fitzgerald can help you find a treatment. The most common are:
Cosmelan®. This depigmentation cream reduces melasma. Dr. Fitzgerald will apply it to your skin. Initially, it will produce a skin-peeling effect, revealing a fresh, vibrant layer of skin cells. Dr. Fitzgerald will give you a take-home maintenance Cosmelan cream, as well as instructions for how to use it. The cream slows down the overproduction of melanin, which is the pigment that causes brown patches.
Photodynamic Therapy. This treatment utilizes light therapy and a special topical gel to reduce brown blotches on your skin. The gel is called Levulan. This light therapy is effective and provides results relatively quickly. You will need to take a little downtime, about 24 hours, to stay out of the sun and allow the therapy to work.
Because of the mixed ethnicity of the population in Los Angeles, melasma is a significant problem for both women and men. When discoloration Is a result of pre cancers, there is the potential of treatment as a medical condition and if within insurance parameters sometimes, a specific treatment will be covered under a patient's insurance. This coverage is not applicable to all treatments for the condition and depends both on the treatment options recommended and the options chosen by the patient. At your consultation, our experienced staff will review all of the treatment costs with you and help you review your insurance policy for coverage.
If you have melasma and are searching for an effective treatment, please call the practice of board-certified dermatologist Dr. Rebecca Fitzgerald, at (323) 430-9800, to arrange a consultation. Dr. Fitzgerald provides advanced care to men and women from across the region, including Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Larchmont and the surrounding areas.