You may have melasma and not even know it.

If you do have melasma, Chevy Chase Cosmetic Center can treat it.

What is melasma?

This common skin condition causes brown or gray/brown patches to appear on the skin of the face (cheeks, nose, forehead, chin, and upper lip) and sometimes on the forearms and neck. Melasma most commonly affects women, and people of Latin, Asian, Mediterranean or North African descent. Sun exposure can trigger melasma because the pigment–producing cells in the skin (melanocytes) are stimulated by ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun.

What causes melasma?

That’s still relatively unknown, but we feel it’s a pretty safe bet to say sun exposure plays a role. Pregnancy, birth control bills, cosmetics, hormone therapy, phototoxic drugs, and anti-seizure medication have also been observed to trigger melasma. In fact, melasma is so common during pregnancy that it is often called the “mask of pregnancy.” People with a family history of melasma are at an advanced risk of developing the condition themselves.

Will melasma fade on its own?

Sometimes, especially after pregnancy or when a woman stops taking birth control pills. But when this isn’t the case — or if you want to continue taking birth control pills AND get rid of those unsightly brown spots on your face, it may be time to consider melasma treatment in Chevy Chase.

Can Chevy Chase Cosmetic Center treat my melasma?

The short answer is YES.

However, your customized treatment plan will depend on your skin type and condition. Our dermatology team may prescribe a cream; a chemical peel; a series of microdermabrasion treatments; fractional skin resurfacing laser; or intense pulsed light (IPL) photorejuvenation therapy to treat your melasma.

Your Chevy Chase Cosmetic Center dermatologist will also recommend daily sunscreen and mineral-based makeup use. Even on the cloudiest of days, the sun’s UV rays can penetrate and damage the skin. When selecting a sunscreen for everyday use, look for one that offers broad–spectrum protection and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more. Mineral-based makeup contains titanium, a natural protector from the sun’s harmful UV rays. These products can be quite effective for protecting skin affected by melasma. Continuing to wear sunscreen and mineral-based makeup every day after the melasma clears can prevent it from returning.

When treating melasma, it is vitally important to never use products (e.g., facial cleanser, cream, makeup, et cetera) that irritate the skin, and may worsen melasma.

How soon will I see results from my melasma treatment?

It may take several months to see substantial improvement. It is important to carefully follow your dermatologist’s directions during this time to ensure maximum benefit from the treatment; this will also help avoid skin irritation and other side effects.

Melasma treatment often requires a comprehensive and professional approach, and should only be conducted under the care of a professional Chevy Chase dermatologist.

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