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For countless individuals, melasma is a daily reality.  Characterized by areas of skin discoloration – particularly on the face – melasma can take its toll not only on a patient’s appearance, but also their self-esteem.    Emphasizing the condition’s far-reaching effects, Portland Dermatologist, Dr. Beata Rydzik, explains how patients can fight back in the battle against skin discoloration.

“Melasma is a common skin condition, which usually presents as brown patches on the face, at times extending to the neck,” states Dr. Rydzik.  “While often not a medical concern, it can play a distressing role on individual’s confidence and sense of self worth.  The cause of melasma is not yet fully understood. It likely involves a complex interplay between melanocytes and UV light. For reasons not yet clear melanocytes which are the color producing cells in our skin end up producing too much pigment,” comments Dr. Rydzik.

When asked to explain who may be at risk for developing the condition, Dr. Rydzik offered this:  “While melasma can affect nearly anyone, we see it more in female patients, especially those on oral contraceptive pills or those who are pregnant.”  Dr. Rydzik’s assertion confirms data published by the AAD, which explains that, “Just 10% of people who get melasma are men.”

“What is important for patients to understand is that melasma can be managed.  The first step is identifying and minimizing triggers such as overexposure to the sun or oral contraceptive pills. The appearance of existing brown spots can be diminished. This can often be accomplished by some combination of topical medications and cosmetic procedures followed by intense sun protection” states Dr. Rydzik.  “Popular treatments include creams such as Hydroquinone and Tretinoin, usually available at your dermatologist’s office or at the pharmacy. Depending on the type of melasma, chemical peels and some laser procedures can be safe and effective.”

Speaking on how patients can take a “first step” in managing their melasma, Dr. Rydzik concluded with this:  “While dealing with melasma can sometimes feel like an uphill battle, understand that you do not have to take the journey alone.  I encourage anyone dealing with melasma to first consult with a board certified dermatologist in their area and learn more about getting a handle on their symptoms.”

Interested in Learning More About Melasma? Contact the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery.

For more information about melasma and its treatments, contact the Center for Dermatology and Laser Surgery. We are located in Portland and can be reached directly at 503.297.3440. We look forward to hearing from you soon.