Melasma Specialist

AM Facial Plastics

Arash Moradzadeh, MD

Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery & ENT located in Beverly Hills, CA & Santa Barbara, CA

Brown or gray patches on your face may be due to a condition called melasma. Treatments can help restore an even skin tone and are among the services available from Arash Moradzadeh, MD, at AM Facial Plastics in Beverly Hills, California. To learn more about melasma treatments, call the office or schedule an appointment online today.

Melasma Q&A

What is melasma?

Melasma is a common condition characterized by hyperpigmentation. The condition usually occurs on your face, but can happen on other areas of your body that get frequent sun exposure. 

Women experience melasma far more commonly than men, who make up only around 10% of all known cases. Those with darker skin have a higher risk because their skin contains more melanocytes. 

Researchers are uncertain of the exact cause of melasma, but one theory is that malfunctioning melanocytes, the cells that create pigment in your skin, begin producing excess pigment. 

Sun exposure, hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy, and certain skin care products can also increase your risk of developing melasma. 

What are the symptoms of melasma? 

Melasma creates patches of abnormally darkened skin. The most common sites are on the forehead, bridge of the nose, cheeks, and upper lip, but you might also notice dark patches on your neck, forearms, or shoulders. 

There are no physical symptoms. Melasma does not make you feel ill, nor is it a dangerous skin condition. The effects are purely aesthetic, but cause many men and women to feel self-conscious about the appearance of their skin. 

Because there are other, more serious skin conditions that can create dark patches, Dr. Moradzadeh may recommend having a biopsy to rule out other possible causes. This process requires removing a very small sample of skin cells in the affected area and examining them under a microscope. 

What are some treatment options for melasma?

There are a number of ways to lighten dark patches caused by melasma. During your initial consultation, Dr. Moradzadeh reviews all available options to help you find the right fit for your needs. 

A topical bleaching product is a great place to begin. There are over-the-counter variations of hydroquinone, corticosteroids, and tretinoin. Prescription or custom creams offer the most powerful approach and work to fade dark patches and help them blend with the surrounding skin. 

Dr. Moradzadeh can also prescribe tranexamic acid to improve the appearance of darkened skin. There are oral and topical formulations that can also reverse skin issues like redness or a decreased volume of blood vessels.

PICO Genesis™ is a laser treatment that can do wonders for treating hyperpigmentation. The treatments use short pulses of light to shatter concentrations of pigment into tiny fragments your body can process and eliminate. 

Intravenous (IV) glutathione therapy can also lighten melasma patches. A powerful antioxidant, glutathione converts melanin to a lighter color and deactivates an enzyme responsible for pigment production.

Chemical peels can help your body shed darkened skin cells. Dr. Moradzadeh uses the CosmelanMDⓇ peel, a strong formulation that includes hydroquinone to boost lightening.  

To explore these melasma treatment options in more detail, book an appointment online or by phone today with Arash Moradzadeh MD.