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Ask a Doctor: Skin Discoloration

Q. During my pregnancy the skin on my cheeks and forehead developed a number of brown patches. What are these and is there a way to get rid of them?

A. “It sounds like you may have developed a condition known as melasma,” says NDDA dermatologist Dr. Melissa Costner. “This condition is very common during pregnancy and is thought to be related to hormonal changes in the body. Your dermatologist can verify that these brown or brownish gray spots are a result of the condition and suggest a treatment plan.”

In the past, melasma was known as “the mask of pregnancy” because it was so commonly seen in pregnant women.  But though women are much more likely to experience melasma than men due to these hormonal fluctuations, the sun is also a trigger of the condition.

The good news is that melasma is treatable and significant improvements to the appearance of discoloration and spots is possible.  One of the most common treatments for melasma is chemical peels.

How Do Chemical Peels Work to Treat Melasma?

During a chemical peel, gentle acids are used to exfoliate the skin.  By removing the dead outer layer of skin, more evenly toned skin is able to emerge.  Chemical peels can treat not only irregular pigmentation and sun damage but also acne, enlarged pores, mild scarring and rough skin texture.  Options for chemical peels include superficial peels which involve little to no down-time and medium depth peels, which may cause peeling that can last between two to seven days. Often patients opt for a series of two to four superficial peels to achieve similar results as one medium depth peel.

Contact our dermatologists online or by calling (214) 761-8524 to schedule a consultation to learn more about how to treat melasma, and whether a chemical peel may be a good option for you or what other treatment options may be available.

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North Dallas Dermatology Associates8144 Walnut Hill Lane Suite 1300
Dallas Texas 75231
Fax: (214) 420-7380



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