Dr. John Troccoli with 5 Facts About Treating Melasma

Dr. John Troccoli

Melasma can easily come back despite vigorous treatment, Dr. Troccoli says. So patients have to take the longer view toward prevention, which is always the best approach.

It’s far from the truth that once melasma – stubborn brown, tan or grayish skin patches – develops on the skin, it can’t be eradicated. That’s one misconception about the common skin discoloration that John Troccoli, MD, of Advanced Dermatology, P.C., is eager to dispel.

But it’s easy to panic when you first notice the increased pigmentation on the nose, cheeks or jawline that characterizes melasma, which the American Academy of Dermatology estimates affects 6 million women in the United States. Indeed, melasma impacts almost entirely women between the ages of 20 and 50, triggered by factors such as hormones, genetics and sun exposure, Dr. Troccoli says.

“Melasma is often referred to as the ‘mask of pregnancy’ because it’s even more common in women who are having a baby,” explains Dr. Troccoli, who has extensive experience in both medical and cosmetic dermatology. “But this is one side effect of pregnancy that’s a lot less fun than planning for a new bundle of joy. Many women are terribly upset by melasma’s highly visible presence. Fortunately, several solid treatments are able to minimize it or get rid of it completely.”

Truths about treatment

Diagnosing melasma isn’t difficult; a dermatologist typically can discern what it is on sight. If there’s any question about its depth, a device known as a Wood’s lamp is used to further examine a patient’s skin patches.

But many melasma patients don’t know much about how it can be tackled. Dr. Troccoli offers these 5 facts about melasma treatment:

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