What Causes the Brown Patches of Melasma?

What Causes the Brown Patches of Melasma? 65f3489622b08.jpeg
Melasma is thought to affect around 1% of the global population, but among certain high-risk populations, that number can jump to as high as 50%. The biggest risk factor for melasma is being female: 9 out of 10 people who develop melasma are women.

Many people with either early-appearing or late-life sudden onset melasma are unhappy with how melasma affects their appearance. At Skin Deep Laser MD in Fort Worth, Texas, Dr. Riehm and her team offer PicoSure® laser treatments to minimize the visibility of melasma.

What is melasma?

Melasma is a darkening of patches of skin, typically occurring across the cheeks, forehead, nose, and chin. The severity of the hyperpigmentation can vary widely; some patients only have a mild, faint spotting that is almost indistinguishable from natural freckles, while others have large dark brown patches that are very noticeable.

In some cases, melasma resolves on its own. If brown or tan spots appear and don’t go away, you’ll probably want to seek professional help from skin care specialists. At-home melasma treatments rarely provide results and can harm your skin depending on the ingredients or methods used.

Causes of melasma

There are many different many factors that can contribute to the appearance of melasma: 


As you get older, certain areas of your skin can become more prone to melanin production, causing dark spots on your skin. This is often more common in people with darker skin tones, and the blotches are darker than the natural skin color, making them stand out.


No one is entirely sure why pregnant women suddenly exhibit melasma, but it’s thought that hormonal changes lead to splotching, which can also occur on the belly. This is one instance in which melasma is more likely to resolve independently.


Speaking of hormones, puberty, menopause, and other hormonal changes or imbalances also seem to cause melasma, which may go away on its own after hormones rebalance.

Sun exposure

Most people know that sun exposure can cause fine lines, wrinkles, changes in skin texture, and sun spots or age spots. However, too much sun can also cause melasma, which may only be recognized when the brown patches grow large.

Treating melasma

If you’ve been unhappy with your visible melasma, visit our office for a consult. We’ll evaluate your splotches and tell you if you’re a good candidate for our PicoSure laser therapy.

This safe, gentle method of pigment-disrupting treatment only takes about thirty minutes per treatment, requires no downtime, and generally requires a few sessions depending on the spread and severity of your melasma.

Afterward, you’ll need to up your sunscreen game, and the odds are you can stay plasma free. If you’re interested in learning more about our PicoSure laser, schedule a consultation with Dr. Riehm. To get in touch, call Skin Deep Laser MD at 817-263-7546 or book an appointment online.

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