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Unmasking a Skin Condition Called Melasma

photo of Sabrina Jawad

Sabrina Jawad is a Licensed Master Aesthetician at Inova Medical Spa in Ashburn, VA. She has nine years of experience and extensive knowledge administering various results-driven aesthetic services including laser hair removal, IPL, eMatrix, chemical peels and restorative facials.  

You may not recognize the word “melasma,” but you probably know someone who has faced this challenging skin condition. Read on to learn more about its causes and treatments.

What is Melasma?

Melasma is a common condition that causes dark patches on the skin. Typically, it appears on the lips, cheeks, bridge of the nose and forehead. It can also appear on other parts of the body that get a lot of sun exposure.

What Causes Melasma?

The primary cause of melasma is over-production of melanocytes, the skin cells that produce melanin. Sun exposure, certain skin care products and hormones all play a role. Melasma is so common among pregnant women it is sometimes called “the mask of pregnancy.”

How is Melasma Treated?

There is no cure, but the correct skin care regimen can help to lighten, fade or remove melasma. Products containing hydroquinone, kojic acid, corticosteroid or tretinoin (a form of retinol) can lighten the appearance of dark areas.

Procedures for melasma include microdermabrasion or chemical peels. Microdermabrasion exfoliates the outer layer of skin, with little to no downtime. Chemical peels exfoliate on a deeper level, helping to promote skin cell turnover from the inside out. Downtime can be up to a week after a chemical peel.

Only a skin care professional should perform these procedures.

What Can You Do if You Have Melasma?

To protect your skin and prevent further damage:

  • Wear sunscreen every day, rain or shine
  • Use skincare products with antioxidants (such as vitamins C and E)
  • Apply moisturizer daily
  • Drink plenty of water to help keep your skin hydrated

Above all, be patient! There is no quick fix.

To determine the best treatments for your individual needs, the Inova Medical Spa recommends scheduling a consultation with one of our licensed master aestheticians. Please call 703-554-1130 to schedule.

 

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