What the heck are these dark patches that have just appeared on my face Doc?

There is a chance it's "Melasma". It’s a common question and yes, there is treatment available.

The dark patches may well be Melasma which is a form of facial pigmentation. It can be a difficult condition to treat as it can quite often reappear and if not treated correctly, it can result in the condition worsening.

So what causes it?

There are a number of triggers that can cause Melasma

Melasma is thought to be triggered by the female hormone Oestrogen around times when the Oestrogen exposure is more prominent like when taking the contraceptive pill,
pregnancy and sun exposure can make Melasma appear or worsen.

Those who have naturally darker skin or tan more easily tend to be more prone to the condition also however it may not be limited to the above - Skin trauma, some medications and even just ageing can trigger this sometimes embarrassing and unwanted blemish.

Treatment usually requires a particular skin regime complimented with a specific and gentle laser treatment to breakup the pigmented cells but not over-inflame the Melasma - Which in some cases can make it worse.

Treated correctly the appearance of Melasma can be heavily reduced but at the same time it is prudent to avoid trigger factors where possible and be vigilant in sun avoidance. In short Melasma can be managed and controlled.

Pigmentation can be troubling, but it doesn't have to be. Feel free to come and have a chat about what we can do to help.

Dr Silvan