POSTED: Monday, January 11, 2010 - 11:47am
UPDATED: Friday, June 4, 2010 - 12:00am
You might not notice it if you passed her on the street, but Maria Roques has melasma. And it bothers her everytime she looks in the mirror.
"This one over here is starting to get a little darker," Maria Roques said.
Melasma is hormonal disorder causing dark patches in the skin and most often, it's seen in pregnant women. "My first child, my first pregnancy it started to appear, but again, when you're pregnant all this stuff starts to happen," Roques said.
It's a common problem, affecting 45 million people worldwide, but because it's most noticeable in women with darker skin, it carries a confidence crushing stigma in Latin and African American cultures. "Since my mother and my sister have it, I thought it was normal and I thought it would go away," Roques said.
Until recently doctors say there wasn't a very effective treatment for the condition -- but fractionated laser resurfacing is changing all that. Microscopic laser columns penetrate the dermis of your skin creating tiny wounds. Those wounds stimulate the collagen and elastin production healing the spots from the inside out.
"It's probably the best treatment currently available for the treatment of melasma. Someone like Maria will have a significant improvement and will drop from a four down to a one or even a zero," Dr. Bill Johnson, an esthetics specialist, said. Because melasma is a chronic condition, the treatment is not a cure. "She very likely though will require some maintenance treatments over time," Dr. Johnson said. But it will help Maria get her pre-baby face back once again.