Melasma:Tips to Make It Less Noticeable

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We are beginning the process of using an electronic medical record in our practice as required by federal law.  As part of that process, we have established a "Patient Portal" in which patients can enter certain information that will help us, including your medical history.  Prior to your next office visit, we ask that you please access our patient portal by clicking on this link to complete our office forms relating to your medical history.  If we have not previously provided you with your Username and Password, please contact our office through our "Contact Us" page on this website or by calling the office at 518-690-0177.

When in our Patient Portal, you will not be able to edit the information under the tabs labeled Contact Information, Insurance, or Problem List.  We would appreciate it if you do your best to complete the information under the other 6 tabs. 

Eventually, we expect that you will be able to use our Patient Portal to obtain your medical records and test results.  However, we are not at that point yet.  We hope that our electronic medical record will allow for patients to obtain such information by sometime in 2013. 

As always, you can contact our office to answer any questions or concerns.

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Patient Portal Link

Melasma is a common skin problem that causes brown to gray-brown patches on the face. More likely to affect women and people with darker skin tones, melasma affects more than six million women in the U.S.  Although the exact causes of melasma are unclear, common triggers include sun exposure, pregnancy, birth control pills, and cosmetics. 

Melasma usually appears on the cheeks, forehead, chin, bridge of the nose and above the upper lip, but it can also appear on the forearms or neck. Although it is not harmful, many people dislike the way melasma looks and seek treatment to make it less noticeable.

If you have melasma, dermatologists recommend the following tips for achieving a more even skin tone:
  1. Wear sunscreen daily: One of the most common treatments for melasma is sun protection. Since sunlight triggers melasma, it is important to wear sunscreen every day, even on cloudy days and after swimming or sweating. Choose a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection, a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or more, and zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide to physically limit the effects of the sun’s rays on your skin. Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going outside and reapply at least every two hours.
  2. Wear a wide-brimmed hat when you’re outside: As a recent study in the journal Nature illustrates, sunscreen alone may not give you the sun protection you need. Whenever possible, seek shade and wear protective clothing in addition to applying sunscreen.
  3. Choose gentle skin care products: Choose skin care products that don’t sting or burn, as products that irritate the skin may worsen melasma. 
  4. Avoid waxing: Waxing may cause skin inflammation which can worsen melasma, so it’s important to avoid waxing areas of the body affected by the condition. Ask a dermatologist about other types of hair removal that may be right for you.
Sometimes melasma will fade on its own, particularly if it is triggered by pregnancy or birth controls pills, melasma can fade. However, if your melasma does not go away or you want to keep taking birth control pills, see a board-certified dermatologist to discuss available treatments for melasma, such as prescription medications or in-office procedures.

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