Each year in our country, approximately 200,000 people are diagnosed with melasma. This dermatologic condition causes hyperpigmentation and nothing else. However, the appearance of discolored patches on the nose, cheeks, upper lip, and other areas can be quite distressing. Studies suggest that people (women, especially) with darker skin may be more prone to melasma. This is because darker skin has more active melanocytes already. When these color-producing cells receive additional stimulation from hormones and the sun, they can kick into overdrive.
Treating Melasma the Right Way
There is no cure for melasma. Therefore, treatment revolves around managing the pigment in the skin. Many people diagnosed with this condition are instructed to avoid sun exposure, seeing that UV light is a contributing factor in flare-ups. If you struggle with melasma, you may know that this isn’t always enough. San Antonio dermatologist Dr. Vivian Bucay offers specific tips for managing this problem using both proactive and responsive techniques. These include:
- Use vitamin C. Many people think of vitamin C as the supplement to take when they feel a cold coming on. There is much more to this vitamin than that. Vitamin C has been identified as a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals. Free radicals are known to cause premature aging by degrading cell health. Vitamin C can be used in two ways. One way is to take a time-released supplement every day to support optimal physiological aging. Another is to apply a vitamin C product to the skin to support cells on the surface.
- Medical lightening agents. Topical medications can be prescribed by a dermatologist to lighten existing discoloration. Common lightening agents include hydroquinone and kojic acid.
- Laser and light treatments. Dr. Bucay often addresses melasma with a combination of topical medication and laser or light treatments. Professional treatments work in two ways. One is to target pigmentation and break spots into tiny particles. Another action achieved with laser or light treatments is to increase cell turnover and simultaneously stimulate more profound collagen production.
Dr. Bucay has two San Antonio offices in which you can find help for melasma. Contact us in La Casita or Sonterra to schedule your consultation.