What is Melasma
Melasma is a common skin problem that causes tan or dark skin discoloration. Melasma is thought to be triggered by sun exposure, genetic predisposition, hormone changes, and skin irritation. Although it can affect both men and women, it is prevalent in pregnant women, women taking oral or patch contraception, and hormone replacement therapy medications. Individuals of Latin or Asian ethnicity are also more likely to get melasma.
The symptoms of melasma are dark, irregular, well-demarcated, hyperpigmented macules to patches. These patches often develop gradually over time. Melasma does not cause any other symptoms beyond cosmetic discoloration. Patches can vary in size from 0.5 cm to larger than 10 cm depending on the person. The patches on the face most commonly appear on the cheeks, bridge of the nose, forehead, chin, and above the upper lip. It also can appear on other parts of the body that get sun exposure.
The nanopulse Nd: YAG laser is the gold standard in treating moderate and deep pigment disorders and more recently melasma. Hollywood Spectra was cleared in 2012 for the treatment of melasma and has shown to be very effective in reducing the appearance of melasma. Individuals receiving treatment should always wear sunblock if going into the sun and avoid sun exposure which can retrigger pigmentation.