Brown Patches on Face… Melasma

Melasma is a skin condition that occurs on the face in the form of brown patches. A change in hormonal status (higher levels of estrogen) is thought to trigger and be the cause of the condition (i.e. birth control pills, pregnancy), although many women without these risk factors also develop melasma.

UVA rays are a stimulant for melanin (brown pigmentation) to develop on the skin, and unfortunately can even penetrate through car window glass. For this reason the most important product to use everyday to help prevent melasma is a broad-spectrum sunscreen with Zinc Oxide and SPF 30+ to block the UVA rays. We recommend Skinfo® Pure Protection, which has the highest amount of Zinc Oxide available in sunscreens. Colorescience Sunforgettable® SPF30 powder sunscreen is also a must have to re-apply throughout the day, extremely light-weight and can be worn over makeup! Also wear a protective hat when outdoors for extended periods to further block these rays.

To lighten and prevent worsening of the pigment, we recommend prescription and cosmeceutical products as well. Most lightening products contain hydroquinone, a chemical which impairs the cells from making melanin, or botanical ingredients such as kojic acid, arbutin, and licorice. Visit Skinfo for a consultation to discuss which lighteners are best for your skin.

If you have been diligent with your sun protection and have tried a variety of topical agents but still have patchy pigment on your skin, you may need treatments to help shed the abnormal pigment and lighten the skin. We have a variety of procedures such as Medical Facials and Peels, the Cosmelan® Depigmentation Treatment and the Fraxel® Restore (aka Fraxel® SR1500) that help to achieve these results. Please call 847-459-6400 to set up a consultation to discuss these options so that you are prepared for the upcoming spring and summer months.