Melasma (aka Chloasma, Mask of Pregnancy)

What is Melasma?

Melasma is an abnormal diffuse to patchy / mottled tan, brown or blue-grey facial skin discoloration. Melasma can occur off the face, as well. Melasma in Las Vegas and elsewhere is predominantly seen in women during their reproductive years and only, rarely, in men. 4 types of melasma pigmentation patterns are seen:

  1. epidermal,
  2. dermal,
  3. mixed epidermal and dermal and
  4. increased melanocytes (especially, in very dark skin types)

Most melasma is the mixed type. These pigmentary types of melasma have treatment implications. Diagnosis is typically by your dermatologist through clinical exam. Melasma is not dangerous, but is usually cosmetically disconcerting. Often, melasma recurs with discontinuance of effective therapy. Thus, maintenance skin care programs are recommended.

What Causes Melasma?

No one knows exactly what causes melasma; however, sun exposure and conditions associated with certain elevated female hormonal states; in particular, external female hormones (e.g. birth control pills) and internal hormonal changes as seen with pregnancy are promoting factors. Hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern and similar darker skin type females have a higher incidence of melasma. Genetic factors also contribute. Skin irritation from a variety of causes is a risk factor.

Treatment Options for Melasma in Las Vegas

Melasma may rarely clear spontaneously without treatment or may clear with sun avoidance and daily sunblock use. For others, melasma may disappear weeks to months after pregnancy or after stopping birth control pills or related hormonal therapy.

For most melasma sufferers, some form of treatment will be needed. Sun avoidance and daily sunscreen should be a part of any treatment regimen. Topical combination prescription bleaching creams that include hydroquinone, tretinoin and other ingredients are usually helpful for the epidermal component, but not so much for the dermal pigment. Topical skin care programs may require up to 3 months for results. Failure to satisfactorly improve by 3 months with topicals alone is an indication for adjunct treatments, such as chemical peels and / or laser therapy.

At Strimling Dermatology, Laser & Vein Institute of Las Vegas, NV, we provide the best of the best in laser treatment for melasma; Laser toning with or without Soft Peel is the gold standard in laser therapy for melasma and related post-inflammatory pigmentation. Although we also offer intense pulsed light, as used in photofacials and laser resurfacing and fractional resurfacing (e.g. Profractional Resurfacing), these laser technologies are usually not as effective and may aggravate melasma and thus, are not our first choice treatments.

Please download our Melasma Laser Toning brochure for more information.

At Strimling Dermatology, Laser & Vein Institute of Summerlin, Las Vegas, laser toning and/or soft peels for melasma are performed (or supervised) by our founder, board certified Dermatologist, Dr. Strimling. With over 20 years experience, Dr. Strimling is among the most experienced Cosmetic Laser Dermatologists in Las Vegas. Voted or selected among the “Best Dermatologists” in Las Vegas and America multiple times, Dr. Strimling has also been selected an “Award Winning Cosmetic Surgeon”.

Contact Us at (702) 243-6400 to schedule a personalized consultation.

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Strimling Dermatology, Laser & Vein Institute of Summerlin, Las Vegas treats patients from all over the Clark County valley, including Henderson, Green Valley, Anthem, North Las Vegas, Boulder City as well as Summerlin, Las Vegas, Nevada and the rest of the southwest. We have also seen patients from all over the country and world.

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