Melasma is a common skin problem that causes brown or gray-brown patches on the forehead, cheeks, chin, above the upper lip, and on the bridge of the nose. Some patients also experience melasma on their neck and/or forearms. Melasma is considered a cosmetic issue, as it does not cause any medical problems. However, many patients seek treatment for melasma because it affects their appearance and, in turn, their confidence.
Melasma is more common in women than in men. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, only 10% of melasma patients are men. Thought to be triggered by hormones, melasma is commonly experienced by women during pregnancy and therefore referred to as “the mask of pregnancy.” People with darker skin are more at risk of developing melasma, as are people who have a blood relative with melasma. Another cause of melasma is sun exposure, making daily SPF application an absolutely essential part of treatment and prevention. We recommend a mineral sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher be applied every morning no matter what your skin type may be.
At Bay Area Cosmetic Dermatology our expert team of skin care professionals, including board-certified dermatologists, registered nurses, and estheticians help patients diagnose and treat melasma. We use the most advanced medical-grade skin care products, prescription topical and oral medications, and procedures to effectively treat melasma.
Who Has Melasma?
Although women and people with darker skin are more prone to melasma, the exact cause is unknown. However, doctors believe that melasma is caused by overactive melanocytes, our pigment-producing cells. Since people with darker skin have more active melanocytes, this explains why they are more likely to develop melasma.
"I have had large dark patches (melasma) on my face for years. I've tried many treatments in the past but it was only remedied by Dr Hui. She has a wealth of knowledge on the condition and created a simple and realistic plan for my skin, including key advice on things to avoid and supplements to boost my skin. Her treatment has cured my melasma and I couldn't be happier. I now live in Australia and travel 12,000 kilometers to see dr hui-Austin. My confidence and skin glow is awesome and people no longer stare at my melasma mask. Thank you!!"- J.B. / Yelp / May 18, 2019
"I went to Bay Area Dermatology because a few of the girls in my office recommend it. I had developed a really bad case of melasma on my cheeks and upper lip. When I made an appointment they had asked me if I had a preference as to who I wanted to see. I told the receptionist that I had Asian skin so if I could get someone that is familiar with treating common Asian skin issues that would be fantastic. I was scheduled an appointment with Dr. Hui.At my first meet with Dr. Hui she confirmed that I did indeed have melasma and that my next step was to start getting chemical peels 4-6 weeks apart. Wow. Holy smokes! So far I've received 3 chemical peels and the melasma is almost gone. It's at the point where I am able to cover it up with just foundation. Yippee! At my most recent appointment I received my first laser treatment with Mary. I had a 1pm appointment and was seen quickly to start the numbing process. I am one of those people that benifit from the extra time with the numbing cream so I appreciate that the ladies got me started immediately. I was so numb that I barely felt a thing. Definitely one of the easiest laser procedures I have ever done."- J.C. / Yelp / Dec 01, 2017
"I found Bay Area Cosmetic Dermatology via Yelp. I made my first appointment and had to wait for a month and a half to get in which was over a year ago. I had been to so many Dermatologists, Cosmetologists, clowns, rip offs you name it, this wait was so worth!! I had melasma due to my pregnancy, very bad acne scars. When I saw Dr Austin, I bombarded her with all my bad experiences and kept asking for a chemical peel, sounds so funny now:-) She brought me back to earth and came up with a plan and took her time to explain me about my issues first and then the steps of her plan. Within a few months, my melasma was almost gone. We are still working on my acne scars but they ve almost disappeared as well. Dr. Austin is the BEST dermatologist I have ever come across by far!! She fixed all my medical skin issues and my confidence as a result. In the meantime, I moved to South bay and have been driving an hour an a half to Sf to see her!! Also, I started doing Botox and fillers with her (I am 42). This place is worth every penny! Do yourself a favor and go see Dr. Austin if you have skin issues! She is an amazing sorcerer!"- S.O. / Yelp / Nov 02, 2019
"Dr. Hui Austin is amazing!! She has honestly changed my life. I have been struggling with melasma for the last five years and have tried so many different treatments spending thousands of dollars with minimal results (cosmelan peel, chemical peels, acupuncture, etc.) After our first initial consultation I felt like I had hope with this condition that had consumed me for years. Her confidence in her work and the results she expects to see I believe is the kind of confidence every doctor should instill in their patients. She came up with a skin care plan for me that included at home care and in office treatments and the results have been life changing. I now get compliments on my skin! Not only has it cleared up my melasma but no more blemishes, less fine lines and shrunken pores are all added bonuses with my skin care regimen. If you have melasma you know how debilitating it can be and Dr. Austin is so incredibly knowledgable on the subject and takes the time to explain how each treatment works while making you feel at complete ease. I can't say enough how thankful I am that I found her and wish all my doctors had the kind of dedication Dr. Austin has to both her work and patients. I always do my homework before having anyone near my skin (I'm talking hours in the blackhole of reading reviews) and after having read other people's success with melasma with Dr. Austin I decided to book a consultation. Six months later I am so happy I did and wanted to return that favor with my own review for any others out there that might be struggling with melasma - there is hope!!!"- C.D. / Yelp / May 20, 2019
What To Expect
There is no cure for melasma, however, there are a number of treatment options available, including prescriptions such as hydroquinone, tretinoin, and corticosteroids and treatments such as chemical peels, microdermabrasion, laser treatments, and light treatments. Our office compounds and dispenses high-quality prescription strength topical gels that effectively combat the symptoms of melasma. Patients may purchase these at check out following a visit with one of our board-certified dermatologists. A series of 4-6 chemical peels is also often a very effective treatment for melasma as is our Hydrafacial MD and SilkPeel microdermabrasion treatments.
Notoriously stubborn to treat, melasma treatment requires a commitment on behalf of the patient. Best results are achieved when patients careful adhere to their prescribed skin care regimen and treatment plan. Since melasma is a recurring condition, follow up appointments and maintenance treatment is often necessary. However, with patience, consistency, and the expertise of our treatment team, patients at Bay Area Cosmetic Dermatology are able to achieve more even-toned, glowing, and vibrant skin.
Reveal Beautiful Skin
At Bay Area Cosmetic Dermatology we truly believe that everyone can have better skin, including you! Melasma can act as a mask, obscuring your innately vibrant skin and making you feel less confident. If you have melasma, please call our dermatology office to schedule a consultation. Our team of experts can help you reveal the skin you have always wanted.