Platinum Dermatology treats a wide range of aesthetic concerns at our practice in Ultimo. One problem we see often, is melasma, a specific type of skin hyperpigmentation.

The specialist dermatologists at our practice are well versed in this all-too-common skin pigmentation issue. They understand the underlying reasons for melasma (also known as chloasma) and are keenly aware that uneven skin tone and facial brown spots can cause men and women to feel self-conscious and unattractive.

Our skin experts also understand that melasma is a highly individual condition that calls for a customised treatment plan. Thanks to their skill and training, dermatologists can assess skin problems, diagnose the underlying conditions that may be the cause, and determine the best possible treatments for melasma based on each patient’s unique circumstances.

We invite you to keep reading to get the facts about melasma from the skin experts at Platinum Dermatology.

Melasma Basics

Melasma affects men and women of every race, but is more commonly found in women with darker skin tones who live in sunny regions and/or are exposed to the sun regularly. Melasma is

  • Characterised by skin that looks darker, lighter or greyer than the surrounding skin
  • Generally visible on the face, but can occur on any part of the skin exposed to the sun
  • Made worse by exposure to the sun
  • Often affects women during pregnancy and while breastfeeding

That’s what melasma is. Here is what it is not:

  • Melasma is not painful
  • Melasma is not itchy
  • Melasma is not due to allergies
  • Melasma is not contagious
  • Melasma is not caused by an infection
  • Melasma is not a sign or pre-cursor to skin cancer

Although it is a relatively benign skin condition, melasma can have a significant psychological impact on those affected. At Platinum Dermatology, we work proactively with our patients to prevent melasma from having a negative impact on their self-esteem.

Important note about skin pigmentation changes: See your dermatologist if you develop any unexplained discoloration on the skin. Although melasma does not require treatment, a dermatologist can distinguish melasma from other skin disorders that might need to be treated.

Major Symptoms of Melasma

Melasma causes discoloured patches on the skin, generally on the face. These patches are most likely to occur on:

  • Chin

  • Cheeks

  • Bridge of the nose

  • Forehead

  • Skin above upper lip

Discoloured patches of the skin on the forearms and/or neck may also be a sign of melasma, although this is less common.

Who Gets Melasma in Australia?

Patients troubled by melasma visit Platinum Dermatology and frequently ask, “Why is this happening to me?” Our skin experts reassure them that melasma is a common skin condition that is related to

  • Pregnancy
  • Complexion (not restricted to but more common in people with dark or olive skin)
  • Being a woman of reproductive age
  • Drugs and medical conditions that affect hormones
  • Medications that increase sun-sensitivity
  • Cosmetics that can irritate the skin
  • Sunlight exposure
  • Genetics – melasma can run in families

Though the tendency to have melasma can never really be cured, it can be treated to minimise its effect.

Treatments for Melasma

The hyperpigmentation of melasma develops gradually, and resolution is also gradual. Resistant cases and recurrences of this skin condition are not uncommon. For some people melasma is a lifelong condition.

In pregnant women and new mothers, the dark patches of melasma usually fade as their hormones stabilise. Women who take oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy often see the patches fade once they stop taking the medications.

For women whose melasma does not improve, and for men who have problems with this skin pigmentation problem, there are four main categories of treatment*:

  • Topical Treatment for Melasma – lightening creams, chemical peels, acid preparations, retinoids.

  • Chemical Peels – The skin experts at Platinum Dermatology use chemical peels to promote skin turnover, which helps the process of improvement. Peels are also helpful in shifting melanin deposits from the affected area. Of the three levels of chemical peels, the skin experts at Platinum Dermatology usually recommend light chemical peels, as stronger chemical peels can stimulate the production of new pigmentation.

  • Profractional Laser Treatments for Melasma – Light therapy not only removes targeted tissue in melasma-affected skin, it also contributes to improving excess pigmentation in the surrounding skin. Profractional laser treatments for stubborn melasma is most effective as part of a program that includes sun avoidance, topical treatments, and other strategies to prevent pigment gain.

Patients who come to Platinum Dermatology looking for laser solutions to manage melasma can receive treatment for their skin pigment problem with the new gold standard in lasers, the Sciton Laser. Profactional laser is an effective form of fractionated laser for treating melasma, which has not responded to other treatments.*

Get Help for Melasma at Platinum Dermatology

If you or someone in your family is suffering from dark patches of skin that may be due to pregnancy or another of the factors listed in this article, the skin experts at Platinum Dermatology want to help. You can reach us by phone during business hours on 02 8014 6500 or use the contact form on this page to learn how we can help you keep your skin looking radiant and untroubled by melasma.

* Individual results may vary.