A common skin condition, which causes the discoloration of your skin in patches across the face, melasma is more of a social embarrassment and cause for distress rather than being a serious condition. Although it affects men as well, studies have shown that over 90 percent of patients are women. It is also known as the mask of pregnancy as many pregnant women develop this skin condition.
Causes of Melasma:
Primary causes of melasma have been attributed to various hormonal changes within the body. Let's look at some of the factors that may cause this disorder:
It has also been noticed that people with generally a darker skin tone tend to get melasma and it is less common in people with fairer skin.
Certain characteristics of Melasma:
Melasma develops in certain patterns which can be easily diagnosed either as spots on the skin similar to freckles or brown patches of skin that grow bigger. Some of these patterns are:
Treatment of Melasma
Most women who develop melasma during pregnancy report that it goes away after childbirth. However certain forms of melasma may appear in non-pregnant women due to hormonal changes. Treating the underlying hormonal changes usually, resolves the problem. However certain other methods may be required to resolve the issues such as skin creams, chemical peels, dermabrasionand microdermabrasion.
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.
Melasma is a skin condition that is characterized by the formation of discolored patches on the skin. This condition is primarily observed in women. It usually occurs on the nose, cheeks and the forehead. Other parts of the body that might be continuously exposed to the sun for extended periods of time are also vulnerable to this disorder.
Melasma exhibits symptoms of discolored patches on the skin. The patches are symmetrical, mostly forming on the face. Brownish patches tend to develop on the chin, nose, cheeks and the forehead. The discoloration of the skin does not cause any bodily harm but may be a cause of embarrassment in public.
The exact cause of Melasma is not known. People with a darker skin tone are especially susceptible to this disorder. Sensitivity to ‘progesterone’ and ‘estrogen’ are also possible causes. In a nutshell, certain factors such as pregnancy, intake of birth control pills and having undergone hormone therapy can increase the risks of this disorder. Excessive exposure to the harmful UVA and the UVB rays of the sun may also trigger this condition as these ultraviolet rays affect the skin cells that regulate pigmentation.
In some cases, treatment is not required as the symptoms tend to clear up on their own. This usually happens if Melasma is triggered by intake of birth control pills or pregnancy. Certain skin lightening creams may also be used to treat the discoloration. Derma procedures such as dermabrasion and chemical peel may also be used to treat this condition.
In addition to the treatment options, there are also certain preventive measures that one can adopt:
Wear a sunscreen, with SPF count of minimum 30 before stepping out in the sun.
Take your medications regularly.