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What is Melasma, Why Does it Occur?

Melasma is a skin condition that is characterized by irregular patches of pigmentation on the face. The tan or brown patches often occur symmetrically on the cheeks, upper lip, forehead or nose. It is the symmetry of the melasma that distinguishes it from other pigmented skin conditions.

Paul M. Friedman, M.D. in Houston, Texas has successfully treated hundreds of patients with melasma. It is a fairly common condition that is found more often in females and people with darker skin types.

In patches of melasma, melanocytes (pigment-producing cells) are increased in number, and each of these melanocytes produces more melanin. An increase in melanin leads to the tan or brown discoloration found in melasma.

At this time, the cause of melasma is not fully understood, but the following factors are considered to play a part in the formation of these patches:

  • Genetics
  • Hormonal changes
  • Sun exposure
  • Pregnancy
  • Oral Contraceptives

Melasma has no known association with internal disease as some skin conditions do.

Effective Melasma Treatments

Topical Treatment Options

Melasma may be treated with various topical Hydroquinone and non-Hydroquinone based skin care products. In our practice we carry 4% hydroquinone, and a variety of skin brighteners that contain Melanyzme, antioxidants, peptides, retinol, and glycolic acid. All have been shown to be highly effective in regulating and enhancing pigmentation. Topical therapy is a great alternative for maintenance if other treatments such as laser procedures are not desired.

Schedule Your Consultation

If you think you may have melasma, there is help available to you. Paul M. Friedman, M.D. and his team will evaluate your condition and then determine which treatment plan would best suit your individual needs. Please contact our office today to schedule your initial consultation.