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Melasma Treatment

Find board-certified melasma treatment in Wilmington, NC.

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Melasma Treatment

Find board-certified melasma treatment in Wilmington, NC.

Skin Condition


Characterized by dark discoloration on the skin, melasma is a very common skin condition that can affect your self-esteem and confidence levels. While this common condition mostly affects women, and sometimes occurs only during pregnancy, it can affect both men and women alike. 

If you suspect you have developed melasma across your face or body, request an appointment with our board-certified dermatologists to learn more about the condition and find safe, reliable melasma treatment options near Wilmington, North Carolina.


What is Melasma?

Melasma is a pigmentation disorder that presents as brown or grayish patches on the skin. There are usually no additional symptoms associated with melasma, but the uneven or asymmetric skin discoloration can be bothersome to some individuals.

Melasma is most common on the face, especially the bridge of the nose, forehead, cheeks, and upper lip. However, it can show up on any skin with sun exposure, such as the neck, shoulders, and forearms. It’s most common in women with darker skin tones. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, men only account for 10% of all melasma cases.


Melasma FAQs

Many patients become concerned when melasma appears on their skin, whether that’s on the face, body, or a combination of the two. Review some of the most commonly asked questions about melasma below, and contact our board-certified dermatologists to learn about the skin condition, melasma treatment options, and more. 

In most cases, our board-certified dermatologists at The Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center of Wilmington can identify melasma simply by examining the affected area.

Less commonly, if the cause of the skin discoloration is not apparent by a simple examination of the skin, a skin biopsy may be performed in order to eliminate other skin conditions that could be causing the darkening of the skin. Though this is unlikely, a biopsy is a quick and simple procedure performed in our specialized dermatology office with little to no discomfort.

Melasma is thought to occur due to hyperactivity of the skin’s melanocytes (the cells that produce the skin pigment melanin). Some possible triggers for melasma are sun exposure, hormonal changes from pregnancy, and skincare products that cause individual sensitivity and irritation.

Melasma is simply one form of hyperpigmentation, of which there are many causes. Hyperpigmentation may result from many common conditions such as acne (most commonly seen in inflammatory forms of acne), excessive sun exposure/sun burns, and other processes which cause high levels of skin inflammation. 

Yes, there are several types of melasma that may affect our patients, including:

  • Dermal melasma: Dermal melasma appears lighter brown or bluish on the skin, doesn’t have defined borders around the affected areas, and often doesn’t respond to traditional melasma treatments.
  • Epidermal melasma: Epidermal melasma appears darker on the skin, often has defined edges around the affected areas, and can respond well to treatments.
  • Mixed melasma: The most common type of melasma, this is a mix between both dermal and epidermal melasmas and may respond to treatments.

In order to properly diagnose the type of melasma, the dermatologist may use a specialized light source or magnification device to identify how the exact depth and distribution of pigment within the skin.

Depending on the cause and type of melasma, some patients may notice the melasma fading with time or even the fall/winter months of the year. When melasma is caused by certain medications or hormonal changes, the condition may disappear when the medication is stopped or the proper hormonal balance is restored.

In other cases, melasma may be a chronic condition that is long lasting or fails to resolve on its own. 

Melasma often requires treatment to assist in restoring a patient’s normal skin coloration and speed the resolution of areas of abnormal pigmentation.

Melasma is generally asymptomatic, meaning there are no symptoms associated with the areas of skin discoloration.

Since exposure to the sun is a trigger for melasma flare-ups, the cornerstone for preventing it is photoprotection. Daily use of sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and wearing protective clothing (broad-brimmed hat, long sleeves, and sunglasses) will help protect your skin while you’re outside. 

It’s also best to avoid being outdoors between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun’s UV rays are at their peak strength. Additionally, we recommend wearing sunscreen and protective clothing if you’ll be exposed to sunlight through a window, as UV rays can pass through unless the glass is specially coated.

Melasma treatment is not always necessary. For example, if hormonal changes during pregnancy caused a woman’s melasma, it may fade on its own following childbirth. 

However, if you are struggling with this condition and it has not gone away on its own, there are many melasma treatment options available. This may include: 

  • Skin Lightening Cream – Hydroquinone is a common treatment for melasma. It’s available in a lotion, gel, or cream formula, and when applied topically, it lightens dark patches of skin. Other skin lightening creams for melasma include corticosteroids and tretinoin cream (also known as Retin-A). Topical creams are usually the first step in treating melasma.
  • Chemical Peel – During a chemical peel, a dermatologist uses a thin layer of acid to exfoliate and remove the top layer of skin. As the skin heals, smoother, more even toned skin is revealed. To learn more about our chemical peel treatments, click here.

Melasma Photos

If you suspect that you’re suffering from the symptoms of melasma, view the photos below to get a better idea of how the condition may present itself on your skin. If the photos and the patches on your skin look similar, please contact our office to find reliable melasma treatment options in the Wilmington area of North Carolina. 


Contact The Dermatology & Skin Surgery Center of Wilmington for Effective Melasma Treatment

If you suspect that you may be suffering from the signs and symptoms of melasma, our board-certified dermatologists are here to help! We understand how bothersome this condition can become, and we provide safe, reliable treatment options following a thorough evaluation and diagnosis. 

Contact our providers online or via telephone at (910) 782-0028 to schedule your melasma treatment today in Wilmington, North Carolina. 

Contact Us Today

Have questions or concerns? Please call us at 910.782.0028.

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