Am I Developing Melasma?

I'm entering my late twenties, and I used to have to beautiful skin. My mother has some of the worst melasma I have ever seen, covering her entire face. I'm very fair skinned but received a lot of sun exposure between the ages of 0-14. Now my skin has an orange peel like texture in places, and MANY brown spots that started appearing just last year. I would include a photo but I didn't get many responses when I included a photo in a question about my orange peel skin. What should I do at this point?

Doctor Answers 4

Melasma and Melarase creams

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Melasma is a common problem. In our office, we recommend a combination regimen that includes a Retinoid (Replenish) and Melarase AM and Melarase PM creams. 


DR. Karamanoukian 
Los Angeles

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Re: Possible Melasma

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You would certainly need to see a doctor for a formal diagnosis.

Hyperpigmentation is usually triggered by exposure to high amounts of UV rays. In some people, this causes higher quantities of melanin to be produced as a form of protection for the skin. Melanin not only provides color, but also acts as a sun screen.

Fraxel Dual was recently approved by the FDA to treat melasma. This laser system will destroy the cells containing melanin. And clearing is done by your body’s lymphatic system. Fraxel can also be used to help normalize textural irregularities. But it is hard to say what has caused the orange peel effect you mentioned.

A doctor can make more specific recommendations on both these issues. In the meantime keep applying sun protection

Sanusi Umar, MD
Redondo Beach Dermatologic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 33 reviews


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You have to be very careful when treating melasma, if that is indeed what you have.  Lasers are not a good option, they can actually worsen the problem.  Doing a series of chemical peels is normally what we recommend along with using medical grade skin care products at home. 

Kevin Rose, MD
Provo Plastic Surgeon

Am I developing melasma

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Melasma is different than brown spots, usually covering large areas, often in lake-like shapes. It is hard to treat because of the depth at which it lies. Melasma is aggravated by sun, but not exactly "caused" by it. If you have small brown spots, those are most likely caused by sun exposure. Most of what we see on the skin currently is a result of what happened with sun exposure 10-15 years beforehand. It would be best for you to consult with a dermatologist in your area as to what treatment options are best for your needs. You must wear sunscreen every single day!

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.