Sep 08, 2016

The brown spots of summer Did the summer weather trigger


With summer drawing to a close, one of the biggest issues that patients come to us to resolve is melasma.

Melasma is a common skin problem which causes brown to gray-brown patches on the face. Most people get it on their cheeks, bridge of their nose, forehead, chin, and above their upper lip. It also can appear on other parts of the body that get lots of sun, such as the forearms and neck.

Common melasma triggers include UV light (especially having sun exposure while on antibiotics), inflammation, heat, trauma, and pregnancy (due to the change in hormones; birth control pills and hormone replacement medicine also can trigger melasma).  Some types of skin are more prone to this condition than others, such as people with darker skin. Once you have developed melasma, the goal is management of your condition; complete resolution of melasma is rare.  The main plan of attack is to reduce the melanin pigment and control it as best as possible.

Sun exposure is why melasma is often worse in summer and why we see so many cases particularly at the tail end of summer, after the spots have developed and do not go away after several summer weeks. Any amount of sun exposure at all can stimulate melasma; even heat can stimulate melasma. To protect yourself, physical daily sunscreen is a must (particularly, physical sunscreen that lists zinc and possibly titanium as ingredients.) Dermatologists also recommend wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses when you are outside.

The production/distribution cycle of melanin — which is responsible for causing melasma’s dark patches — is complex with many stages.  For this reason, we suggest a regimen of products with ingredients that are meant to try and influence correction of melanin production during each of the stages. In-office treatments are usually recommended as well to get melasma under control.  Once under control – maintaining with the proper homecare is essential in continuing to keep the pigment controlled.

In our office we have found one of the best treatments for treating melasma to be the Mini Melanage peel. Usually done in a series, this peel will usually help get this condition under control in a timely manner with minimal downtime, just some mild flaking and redness for most.  Again, it is crucial that a homecare program be developed for you to assure best short-term and long-term results. We can develop one for you as well.

For more information, please contact us today.