Are Brown Spots a Sign of Melasma?

If someone has brown spots that have formed high on the cheekbones, underneath the eyes in the past few years. Is this a sign of melasma, or is it just freckles? How can one tell?

Doctor Answers 1

Brown spots are a sign of melasma; Hyperpigmentation of the facial skin

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Facial skin is prone to brown spots and uneven pigmentation. From a cellular level, the melanocytes, or pigment cells, have specific receptors on their surface that are genetically programmed to be hypersensitive to hormones, sun exposure, and inflammatory modulators.

If you are developing uneven brown spots that are progressive and chronic, then you may have a condition known as melasma. Of note, development of uneven brown spots should also be examined by an experienced physician to rule out any other causes, including malignancy.

There is great news, however. Although melasma cannot be cured, there are effective treatments to improve and maintain a healthier and more even skin complexion. Speak to a qualified physician about these treatments, including topical creams, lasers, and chemical peels.

Our office uses a very aggressive melasma protocol developed by Dr. Raffy Karamanoukian. The protocol allows patients, usually female, to address their melasma from a longterm perspective.

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These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.