Melasma (Pregnancy Mask) Treatment in the San Diego Area

Dr. Melanie Palm is nationally recognized as a top dermatologist and is an expert in the treatment of skin pigmentation disorders like melasma (sometimes known as "pregnancy mask" or "chloasma"). Her offices are located in Solana Beach, CA just north of San Diego.

What is Melasma?

Sometimes referred to as “pregnancy mask” or “chloasma” when it occurs during pregnancy, is a skin pigmentation disorder. It appears as areas of patchy brown pigmentation on sun exposed areas, usually affecting the:

  • forehead
  • glabella (in between the eyebrows)
  • cheeks
  • upper lip
  • chin

Although less common, it can also appear on the neck and forearms. Individuals affected are almost always female, with darker skinned individuals being more susceptible than those with fair skin.

What causes Melasma?

It is caused by overproduction of pigment in melanocytes, the pigment producing cells in the skin. Exposure to ultraviolet light, in particular, makes these areas darker, even with minimal exposure to the sun. Female hormones seem to play a role, as pregnancy, hormone therapy, and birth control pills all aggravate this condition.

How is this skin condition treated?

Treatment options for patients can vary and may include topical retinoids, bleaching agents (e.g. hydroquinone and certain botanical derivatives), and IPL (Intense Pulsed Light). Melanage Peel, a topical, medical-grade peel consisting of both hydroquinone and a retinoid, is extremely effective. Dr. Palm will help you determine which treatment option is right for you.

Spectra Laser – the Newest Treatment Option

A new, innovative laser treatment option is now available in the United States. The Spectra laser, typically used for laser tattoo removal and pigmentary and vascular disorders, can be used at low energies to effectively target the pigmentation related to melasma. A series of treatments is necessary for clearance, and maintenance treatment periodically is recommended. Strict sun protection and sunblock use is critical to controlling this skin condition.

If you are in the San Diego area and would like to discuss your melasma treatment options, call Dr. Melanie Palm at 858.792.SKIN (7546) to schedule your appointment.