Melasma is discoloration that typically occurs on the upper lip, cheeks and forehead. It is brought about by a combination of sun exposure and hormones. Sunscreen is key for prevention. A variety of other therapies may be used, alone or in combination, including lightening cream, chemical peels and laser treatments.
Melasma in ethnic skin:
Melasma is more common in individuals with ethnic skin because we have more active pigment producing cells (‘melanocytes’). The key is to use sunscreen at all times — even when indoors– as the UVA light that penetrates through windows stimulates more pigment to form. Also, it is important when receiving treatment for melasma to insure that your dermatologist does not employ an overly aggressive therapy. A strong chemical peel or laser treatment may actually backfire and lead to more inflammation and discoloration. Thus a series of gentle chemical peels or laser treatments, combined with a lightening cream, is preferred.