Melasma is a skin condition resulting in discoloured and dark patches on the skin. It also goes by the name of chloasma. It is frequently observed in pregnant women. As per the report of the American Academy of Dermatology, it is found that 90 percent of the overall cases of Melasma are found among women.
What are the symptoms?
The main symptom of this skin condition is discolouration patches that are darker than the skin colour. Mostly visible in the face, Melasma occurs in a symmetrical fashion with equal effect on either side of the face. This being said, other body areas which often get exposed to sun also runs the risk of developing Melasma. While brownish patches are visible in body parts such as chin, cheeks, forehead and nose bridge, their presence can also be felt in the forearm and the neck. Skin colouration in no way is a threat to the body, it, however, can make a person self-conscious about himself.
Common causes of Melasma
The exact cause of Melasma is not known. It is estimated that people with dark skin are more prone to developing Melasma than their white-skinned counterpart. At times the progesterone and the oestrogen sensitivity of a person is also linked with this skin condition. This essentially means that hormone therapy, birth control drugs and pregnancy are all associated with Melasma. Doctors have also identified thyroid and stress to be a potential cause of Melasma. Above all the ultraviolet rays of the sun are by far the bigger threat of Melasma than any other factors.
How the condition is diagnosed?
Melasma is usually diagnosed with one visual exam. However, a doctor might perform different tests to rule out other skin condition. One popular test that is often conducted by the doctor is known as Wood’s lamp examination. This is a special light which can penetrate through the skin and help a doctor identify the number of layers Melasma has infected of the skin. Furthermore, in case of any doubt, the doctor might take a sample of the affected area and send the same to the lab to rule out the possibility of cancer and other critical skin diseases.
How is Melasma treated?
If Melasma is caused due to pregnancy, it often disappears suddenly much like the way it came. No specific treatment is required. If, however, the condition refuses to heal, a doctor might prescribe topical steroids and creams to lighten the skin. If it fails, other possible avenues, such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels and dermabrasion are explored. Treatments such as these are capable of stripping the top layer of the skin and lighten the patches. However, no treatment can guarantee a non-recurrence of Melasma.