Hyperpigmentation, Age Spots, & Melasma
Has your skin experienced damage this summer? You may have noticed as your tan deepens, so did your age spots and melasma. Contact Compassion Dermatology to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist in Southlake, TX if you would like to reduce their appearance.
Use sunscreen every day to prevent further pigmentation. Apply a retinol product to work while you sleep. Retinol stimulates the skin cells to turn over, beginning the process of removing the pigmented cells. As new skin cells are replaced, they should be normally pigmented cells.
Your options for hyperpigmentation treatment vary, ranging from chemical peels to laser treatments. Your dermatologist in Southlake, TX will determine the most effective treatment based on the cause.
Melasma, is often called the “Mask of Pregnancy”, when in fact birth control pills can also cause it. It is a hormone-caused hyperpigmentation that usually causes large patches of brown to gray-brown on the face. It is common on the cheeks, bridge of the nose, forehead, chin, and above the upper lip. However, it can also can appear on other areas of the body that get lots of sun.
Melasma is treated differently than sun damage, so it is important to see a dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis. Contact Compassion Dermatology today to schedule a consultation with a dermatologist in Southlake, TX.
For melasma, prevention with sunscreen and a wide brimmed hat when outdoors can stop further damage. It will typically fade after you give birth, or if birth control pills are stopped. If the melasma does not fade, or a woman wants to continue taking birth control pills, melasma treatments are available. Your individual treatment plan will depend on a number of factors, such as the skin type, and depth of the melasma, for example. Your dermatologist in Southlake, TX will design a treatment plan individualized for you.
Brown spots, such as age spots or freckles, are small, flat areas. Your Compassion dermatologist in Southlake, TX can provide treatment for lightening or removing them. The pigment is located at the base of the epidermis, which is the outermost layer of skin. Therefore, any treatments meant to lighten age spots must penetrate this layer of skin.
Age spots are also often called sun spots. Age spot treatments by your dermatologist in Southlake, TX may include:
- Medications such as prescription bleaching creams containing hydroquinone. These may be used alone or with retinoids (tretinoin) and/or a mild steroid to gradually fade the spots over time. It is recommended you use a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 if you use medication treatments. Potential side effects include temporary itching, redness or burning.
- Laser and intense pulse light therapy destroy melanocytes, the melanin-producing cells without damage to the skin’s surface. Two to three sessions may be required. After treatment, the age spots will gradually fade over the next several weeks or months. Sun protection is also necessary after these treatments.
- Freezing (cryotherapy) uses a cotton swab to apply a freezing agent to the age spots to destroy the extra pigment. As the area heals, the skin appears lighter. Freezing is typically used on a solitary age spot or a small area with age spots. The treatment may cause temporary irritation and has a slight risk of scarring or discoloration.
- Dermabrasion and Microdermabrasion is the removal of superficial layers of skin with a rapidly revolving tool. As new layers of skin grow, the discoloration is reduced or removed. More than one treatment may be required. Side effects include temporary redness and scab formation.
Microdermabrasion is a less aggressive approach for mild skin blemishes and provides a smoother appearance. Several treatments by your dermatologist in Southlake, TX are typically required over a period of months.
- A chemical peel uses the application of a chemical solution to exfoliate the skin. As the skin peels, new skin forms. Multiple treatments may be required. Sun protection is required following this treatment. Temporary redness may occur, and there is a slight risk of permanent changes in skin color.
There are a number of fade creams and lotions for lightening age spots available over the counter. These may or may not help reduce the appearance of age spots. How dark they are and how often you apply the cream can affect the results. Use will be required over a number of weeks or months before any potential results can be seen. It is important to note that these products may cause skin irritation. Scarring may occur, especially without medical supervision. A Compassion Dermatology, dermatologist in Southlake, TX can provide the professional diagnosis, prescribing an individualized treatment plan based on your skin type, type of age spot and medical supervision providing the best outcome. Over the counter products are not as effective as prescription strength products obtained from your dermatologist.
Sometimes age spots may appear similar to other conditions. Your dermatologist in Southlake, TX may perform other tests, such as a skin biopsy, to distinguish an age spot from other conditions, such as a melanoma. In a skin biopsy, your doctor will take a small amount of the skin for microscopic examination. A biopsy is typically done in your doctor’s office, using a local anesthetic.
Contact Compassion Dermatology today to schedule a consultation with our dermatologist in Southlake, TX for all your skin concerns. We offer professional service is a compassionate, healing atmosphere ensuring your health and well being.