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Dermatologists Shed Light on Common Pigmentation Problems and Solutions in Skin of Color
Date:7/29/2009

isone with regular sunscreen use can be effective, with clearance occurring in about three months for most patients. Dr. Breadon noted that cases where melasma has penetrated the dermis are very difficult to treat and the combination triple cream medication will not be effective in these patients. However, some patients may experience improvement with microdermabrasion, dermabrasion, chemical peels or lasers. In cases where both the epidermis and the dermis are involved, the triple cream medication may offer some improvement for some patients.

"Melasma is hard to define, as it can occur in women during or after pregnancy or in women who have never been pregnant or used oral contraceptives," said Dr. Breadon. "While lasers can be effective, there are risks of further hyperpigmentation and results vary greatly from person to person. Dermatologists can help patients decide the best course of treatment, depending on the severity of the condition."

Lichen Planus

Lichen planus is a common inflammatory disease of the skin and the mouth that is characterized by a rash of round, or oval, violet-colored lesions. While lichen planus can affect people of all races and genders, it is more pronounced in people with darker skin since, as the lesions heal, the affected skin can develop very dark, leopard-looking spots.

When caught early, steroid injections are used to reduce the inflammation thereby minimizing hyperpigmentation. However, if the condition progresses before it can be treated and dark spots appear, Dr. Breadon explained that the triple cream topical medication, mild or systemic steroids, or lasers can be used with varying degrees of success to try to lighten the darkened areas of the skin.

"Detecting lichen planus early can make all the difference between spots that heal without hyperpigmentation and spots that are extremely pronounced and do not fade on their own," said Dr. Bre
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SOURCE American Academy of Dermatology
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