Melasma, also known as chloasma, refers to patches of darkened skin that show up on the face or forearms. These tan, brownish, or gray areas often occur evenly or symmetrically around the brow, cheeks, nose, or upper lip. Melasma is a not at all uncommon but is found more frequently in women. It may be due to sun damage or hormonal fluctuations, such as with menopause and pregnancy. Individuals with darker skin types are far more inclined to melasma compared to those who have lighter complexions, though exposure to sunlight is known to exacerbate it. Tracy Evans, M.D. is a board-certified dermatologist who regularly treats melasma at her practice, Pacific Skin Corte Madera. She and her team of dermatological professionals can provide several remedies to help lessen the appearance of your melasma.
"I went in to have a basal spot on my back removed. I’ve been a patient of Dr. Evans for years. She’s the best. I’ve never had a bad experience with her or anyone that works for her. She’s an excellent doctor and I trust her judgment/diagnoses completely. I particularly appreciated the way the procedure was handled. Everything is thoroughly explained and as they’re ‘working’ they tell you exactly what they’re about to do so there are no surprises. I highly recommend Dr. Evans (and in fact have recommended her to many of my friends). Having basal cells removed (I think the procedure is called Mose) is not a pleasant experience but Dr. Evans and her staff make it as pleasant and painless as possible"- A.D. / Google / May 30, 2019
"Dr Evan's has been treating my various dermatological issues for several years. Every visit is met with professionalism and complete confidence with what I present. When I needed further diagnosis she was quick to refer me to a specialist. Dr Evans has made herself available on a few occasions after hours to discuss my emergent needs."- Anonymous / Healthgrades / May 28, 2019
"DR Evans is thorough, very well educated and has an excellent staff in her well appointed office."- V.K. / Facebook / May 09, 2019
"I LOOOVE Dr. Evans and her whole team! Incredible customer service and great results for cool sculpting on my husband and fraxel on me! My skin is completely transformed and my husband was able to eliminate some fat pockets that no amount of exercise could touch! This is a top notch medical team with fabulous cosmetic services as well as the highest quality dermatology! I want to particularly thank Shantelle for being such a rock star! I'll be coming back for more and referring all my friends!"- E.M. / Yelp / Apr 30, 2019
"I love the quiet, spa-like atmosphere of Dr Evans' Corte Madera office. She and her staff offer a diverse array of treatments as well as complete dermatological care. Recently, I tried cool sculpting with Shantelle and was so pleased with the results. Shantelle is a skilled practitioner and very reassuring. I can't say enough good things about this office."- M.K. / Yelp / Apr 09, 2019
The specific source of melasma has not been unidentified; however, studies have shown that people generally develop melasma in the summertime when the sunlight is the most intense. In winter months, the hyperpigmentation will become less visible or milder. Specialists think that melasma might be caused by various factors, such as medicines that make the skin more susceptible to discoloration following exposure to UV rays, hormone fluctuations, heredity, and anti-seizure drugs. Pregnancy and excess sunlight exposure are perhaps the main causes of melasma, particularly in those with a hereditary predisposition to the condition. Almost half of pregnant women have melasma to some degree.
Melasma is usually easily diagnosed due to its symmetric patterning. Patients typically develop hyperpigmentation on the face, but it can also occur on the neck and forearms. The three most common areas for melasma to occur are:
- Centrofacial – (center of your face) dark patches on the chin, forehead, upper lip, and nose
- Malar – (cheekbones) discoloration along the top of the cheekbones
- Mandibular – (jawbone) hyperpigmentation parallel with the jawline
The effectiveness of melasma treatments varies from patient to patient based on skin type, the darkness of the discoloration, and how long the melasma has been present. Dr. Evans does have her own proprietary melasma treatment that has shown great success that she may feel is the best option for you. She also might prescribe an exfoliating topical ointment, lotion, or gel to help expedite skin lightening. There are skin care treatments, such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and fractional lasers, that work to remove layers of discolored skin so new skin can regrow. Another solution is intense pulsed light therapy (IPL). Unlike lasers that utilize intense, concentrated lighting, IPL is focused broadband light that is able to reach multiple layers of pigmentation. With any melasma treatment, a recurrence is possible due to the nature of the condition. However, your results will definitely last longer if you are dedicated to protecting your skin from overexposure to the sun.
Get a Professional Diagnosis
If you are fed up with attempting to conceal your melasma with cosmetics, or if you spend extra money on store-bought remedies that never have good results, we welcome you to contact Pacific Skin Corte Madera to schedule an appointment. Melasma requires a special diagnosis so the appropriate treatment can be provided. Using the wrong facial cream or chemical can actually make the condition worse. Dr. Evans and her team can correctly diagnose and address your melasma to get you back to a more even, clear complexion.