If a glance in the mirror reveals brown spots and patches, then the time has come for an effective solution. Discolorations such as these can age the skin and cause emotional distress. The brown marks are melasma, a common condition that has many triggers. Although anyone can be affected by melasma, the condition is more common among young women.

Because most people do not get the results they want from lightening creams, you will likely need a more aggressive treatment option. Learn more about melasma and how chemical peels can help below.

How Melasma Starts

Melasma is a form of hyperpigmentation where the skin produces too many cells that make brown pigment. The skin condition is not cancerous or dangerous in any way, but it does affect how fresh and bright the face looks. Hormonal shifts are a common cause of melasma, so aging, birth control, and pregnancy are often the triggers that lead to the condition.

Melasma is often most noticeable across the cheeks, but it can appear anywhere on the face. Many women experience melasma spots on their upper lip, forehead, and jawline. The pigmentation is made worse when the skin is exposed to natural light, so many women struggle to keep the problem under control.

How You Can Control Melasma

First, you should adopt habits that will prevent any worsening of the condition. Melasma does not go away permanently with any type of treatment. Triggers that created the first spots will make new spots unless you learn how to prevent avoid them.

Avoid any birth control that affects hormone levels, or lower the dose as much as possible. The options for non-hormonal formulas for birth control are minimal, so melasma-sensitive people may want to switch to a barrier method or a copper IUD.

Do not use scented skin products because they can cause phototoxic reactions that make the skin more sensitive to sunlight and darken existing spots faster. Wear sunblock, sunglasses, and wide-brimmed hats to reduce sun exposure.

Tanning beds are not a safer option than sunlight. The lights in the beds expose the body to the same type of UV rays as the sun and can also cause brown spots. Finally, request a prescription for hydroquinone cream because it helps to prevent the development of new pigmentation.

How You Can Treat Melasma

Chemical peels are one way to treat melasma. The peels are a non-surgical technique and are a safe option that does not require a lot of recovery time for the patient. While they will not always remove all dark spots and cannot prevent the development of new spots, they are effective at removing most discolorations and improving skin texture.

The peels are safe but should be applied by a trained medical professional, as reactions like new spots, breakouts, and burns can occur when the peel is done incorrectly. A skin specialist will perform a skin exam prior to the peel to ensure that the skin is healthy and does not have any type of infection or disease. Your skin specialist will also choose the peel that works best for your skin type instead of a generic product used on everyone.

One treatment may not be enough to remove the spots entirely. People with reoccurring melasma may need to schedule treatments every few months or annually to keep their spots under control.

Skin issues are not always easy to cover with cosmetics, and the visibility of them can cause people to lose their confidence. A chemical peel is an effective solution with results that show within a few days. At The Lett Center, we select the solution that is best for each patient. Call for a consultation to see if a chemical peel is the best answer for you.