Dark patches on the skin may be a condition known as melasma. This condition does not pose health concerns but can be a cosmetic issue. Several treatment options are available at West Sound Dermatology in Poulsbo, Washington.
What is Melasma?
Melasma is a condition which causes darkened patches or spots, usually on the face. Melasma is common but can easily be mistaken for other skin conditions, so seeking a diagnosis from a dermatology care professional can be beneficial. Melasma is most common in women and those with tan or darker skin tones, but can occur in any patient. Melasma patches or spots are typically tan, brown, gray-brown or blue-gray in color. The condition is caused by hormonal fluctuations (often occurring during pregnancy), sun exposure, side effects from medications, stress or thyroid disease.
Melasma may fade by addressing the underlying cause in some cases. For example, melasma that occurs during pregnancy often fades without intervention after giving birth.
In most cases, your provider will recommend increasing sun protection as you undergo melasma treatment. This includes applying SPF regularly, wearing sun-protective clothing or hats and avoiding direct exposure as much as possible.
Melasma spots or patches can be addressed through various medications or in-office treatments. Options may include:
- Tretinoin and corticosteroids
- Azelaic acid, kojic acid or vitamin C medications
- Triple combination cream (tretinoin, corticosteroid and hydroquinone)
- Chemical peels
- Laser treatments