Melasma services offered in Rockville, MD

About Melasma

Melasma is a type of skin discoloration that can be challenging to treat, but it typically goes away on its own eventually. The experienced dermatologists offer personalized care to help melasma fade at Shady Grove Dermatology in Rockville, Maryland. Call Shady Grove Dermatology or schedule a melasma treatment consultation online today.

Melasma Q&A

What does melasma look like?

Melasma is a skin condition that causes freckle-like patches of discoloration. Melasma often appears across the face and is dubbed “the mask of pregnancy” because of its higher rates among pregnant women. 

Your melasma spots can be brown or blue-gray, representing a darkening from your natural skin tone. There are three different types of this condition: 

Epidermal melasma

Epidermal melasma is typically the darkest in color of the three. Spots have well-defined borders and usually respond well to treatment. 

Dermal melasma

Dermal melasma is a little deeper in your skin than epidermal melasma. It’s lighter in color, and its spots have blurry borders. This type is a little harder to treat than epidermal melasma. 

Mixed melasma

Mixed melasma is the most common type and is a mixture of the other two symptoms. It responds well to treatment in many cases but not all. 

What causes melasma?

Melasma appears when the melanocytes (pigment-producing cells) in your skin produce too much pigment in response to certain triggers or environmental factors. You might see melasma on your skin in response to:

  • Hormone changes (e.g., pregnancy, menopause, thyroid disease)
  • Ultraviolet radiation (from the sun or otherwise)
  • Light (e.g., LED screens)
  • Heat
  • Makeup
  • Genetics
  • Specific medications

Melasma isn’t cancerous or even precancerous, but you should always consult a dermatologist about new skin changes or growths. 

How is melasma treated?

Melasma tends to fade away after only a few months, but you might still want to treat it to get rid of it earlier. However, not all cases of melasma respond well to treatment. You can avoid it worsening by avoiding tanning beds, LED screens, excessive sun exposure, hormonal birth control, and other contributing factors. 

For treatment, your dermatologist might recommend:

  • Chemical peels
  • Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy
  • Laser treatment
  • Topical medications (e.g., azelaic acid, hydrocortisone)

These treatments, or a combination of therapies, may help your melasma fade. Your dermatologist makes personalized recommendations after a detailed skin evaluation at Shady Grove Dermatology. 

To explore melasma treatments and medications, call Shady Grove Dermatology or book an appointment online today.