The Mask of Pregnancy: Melasma and Its Effect on the Skin

shutterstock_81573487The skin condition melasma is a hyper pigmentation skin disorder impacting over 5 million Americans, according to the International Dermal Institute. Melasma was brought into the spotlight earlier this year when ABC News chief meteorologist Ginger Zee revealed that she has melasma during a segment on Good Morning, America.

The disorder affects women more frequently than men; the American Academy of Dermatology estimates that just 10 percent of melasma sufferers are men.

Zee developed the skin condition while pregnant with her son. Melasma is a common skin problem that causes the skin to develop gray or brown patches. The condition is brought on by prolonged sun exposure or changes in hormones brought on by pregnancy, menopause and the use of birth control and is often referred to as the mask of pregnancy.

Melasma commonly develops on the cheeks, nose, forehead and chin. It can also develop on the neck, chest, back or any part of the body that sees regular sun exposure. Patients with sun exposure induced melasma or individuals concerned about developing sun exposure induced melasma should take care to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat or long sleeves when in the sun also reduces the risk of developing the skin condition.

Hormone-related melasma is not so easy to prevent. These cases develop because of an imbalance between progesterone and estrogen. While hormone therapy to correct this imbalance is available for many women, it is not an option for women who are pregnant.

Melasma patches may fade after delivery when the body’s hormones return to normal levels, but not all women end up with even pigmentation after pregnancy. As a result, some pregnant women and many other individuals with melasma are turning to dermatological and cosmetic treatments to improve their appearance and even out pigmentation. One of the available treatments that to successfully treated melasma patients is the chemical peel VI Peel.

VI Peel is a powerful chemical peel that treats hyperpigmentation, along with light to moderate acne scarring, fine lines, wrinkles and other signs of aging. VI Peel is different from any other chemical peel on the market because it can be used for all skin types. Historically, chemical peels were off limits to patients with darker skin types. Patients with darker skin types ran the risk of uneven skin pigmentation. Dr. Bill Johnson, M.D., is a Dallas, Texas, cosmetic physician offering VI Peel to melasma patients.

“Melasma makes some individuals feel self-conscious about their appearance, and the VI Peel helps them regain confidence by evening out their skin,” Johnson said.

The VI Peel uses a salicylic acid solution applied to the affected area. The VI Peel also contains Retin-A, a vitamin A derivative. After a few minutes on the skin, the solution creates a controlled burn of the hyperpigmented top layers of the skin. Once the skin blisters and peels, new fresh, evenly pigmented skin is revealed.

The VI Peel is also different than other chemical peels in that that while it is burning the top layers, it is also soothing the skin with its Retin-A component.

“Patients with melasma typically need two to three peels to be fully treated,” Johnson said.

Chemical peels are popular because they treat a wide range of skin conditions in one fell swoop, and require only a few treatments compared to other skin rejuvenating therapies.They also worked faster than over the counter products that offer anti-aging and rejuvenating benefits. After the peel, melasma patients may experience redness akin to mild sunburn.

“It takes about seven days for the skin to return to normal,” Johnson said.

Chemical peels are non-invasive treatments and are completely safe for women who are pregnant or are breastfeeding.


ABC News, “ABC News’ Ginger Zee Shares her Melasma Journey”. 2 February 2017

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Dr. Bill Johnson MD, MMM Innovations Medical
Contact us with any questions or call our Dallas office at 214-643-8665.