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Melasma (also called Chloasma) is a condition in which brown, blue-gray or tan patches are found on the patient’s facial skin. Around 45 to 50 million people around the world are affected with melasma. Majority of those who suffer from melasma have patches on their forehead, chin, cheeks, bridge of the nose and above the upper lip areas. Less common body parts that are exposed to sunlight can also be affected, such as the neck and forearms areas. Melasma is mostly found in women who are at their reproductive age (i.e. between 20-50 years old) and the cause of melasma is not completely understood. It is thought to be due to the exposure to sun, combined with internal changes in hormones levels during pregnancy and the effect of external hormones such as birth control tablets. Melasma that appears during pregnancy is known as Chloasma and it often occurs in Asians and Latin women due to increased levels of progesterone, estrogen and Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone (MSH) during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of their pregnancy. Melasma can also be caused by treatments or products that increase the production of melanin.
According to clinical studies, melasma normally appears in the summer when the heat of the sun is at its peak. During winter, existing melasma patches often become lighter or less visible. Higher risk of melasma is found in individuals with dark or olive colored skin such as Asians, Middle Eastern people and Hispanics. People with a family history of this condition are at a higher risk of developing melasma.
There are four types of melasma based on the pigmentation patterns – epidermal, mixed, dermal and unnamed type which can be seen in dark skins. Epidermal melasma is a condition in which excess melanin present on the epidermal skin layers. Dermal melasma can be identified by the appearance of melanophages on the dermis. A mixed melasma consists of both epidermal and dermal types of melasma. In the fourth type, excess melanocytes is accumulated in patients with dark skin.
Dr. Behroozan is a leading Los Angeles dermatologist that sees and treats patients with melisma almost on a daily basis. His experience will allow him to quickly and accurately diagnose Melasma by evaluating your skin condition and type. Usually Melasma is diagnosed with Wood’s light or black light but in rare cases a skin biopsy is required to eliminate the possibility of other skin diseases. For those who would like to remove melasma quickly and effectively without going through a recovery period, Dr. Behroozan’s L.A. office uses the FDA approved Fraxel Restore Dual procedure and the new Fraxel Thuliumwavelength to remove Melasma from patients with normal to dark skin. These treatments have minimal discomfort and downtime and are considered safe and effective.
Contact our office today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Behroozan.