Melasma is a fairly common skin condition that causes dark brown or discolored patches on the skin. It often occurs in pregnant women and is also called chloasma. While men develop this condition too, around 90% of individuals suffering from melasma are women.
What are the symptoms of melasma?
* Melasma causes visible discoloration and it creates patches where the skin is darker that the person’s natural skin tone.
* These marks are more prominent on skin that’s routinely exposed to the sun, like the facial skin.
* These marks are also symmetrical and the patches are similar on both sides of the face.
* They generally appear on both the cheeks, the bridge of the nose, chin, and the forehead. It can also appear on the neck and forearms as these areas of the body are exposed to the sun as well.
Melasma is a cosmetic condition and doesn’t have an impact on general health. The marks tend to make individuals very self-conscious about their appearance.
What are the causes of melasma?
While estrogen and progesterone sensitivity is associated with melasma, this isn’t considered the cause of it. Experts haven’t yet been able to determine what causes melasma in the first place and why it’s more prevalent in darker-skinned individuals than those with pale skin. Some of the causes of melisma include:
* Pregnancy, birth control pills, and hormone therapy are known to trigger melasma.
* Excessive exposure to the sun and its ultra violet rays can have an impact on skill cells that control pigment.
* Stress and thyroid diseases are also known to cause melasma in some individuals.
Melasma can be diagnosed by a visual inspection but doctors might investigate further with a Wood’s lamp examination or a biopsy.
Treatment of melasma
Melasma fades away on its own in most cases and doesn’t require any specialized treatment. There are a number of topical solutions that can help fade the melasma pigmentation over time. These treatments include:
* Creams to lighting the skin in the affected area.
* Topical steroids.
* Chemical peels.
These treatments remove the upper layer of skin with the objective of eliminating to melasma pigmentation. If the melasma has penetrated deep into the skin, these solutions will only lighten the spots instead of removing them entirely. They are also temporary solutions in most cases, and individuals might need to visit their doctor regularly in order to remove the new melasma pigmentation.