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Have you noticed patches of skin discoloration on your face? You may be dealing with melasma, a common skin condition.
Melasma is a skin condition characterized by patches of brown, tan, and blue-gray skin discoloration, and it’s most often seen in women in the middle of their reproductive years. Melasma is a form of facial pigmentation, and it’s typically found in three different areas of the face: the jawline, the central part of the face, and the cheekbones. Many people will notice melasma on the bridge of their nose, chin, and forehead, but it may appear on other areas of the body, including the neck, chest, or arms—any patch of skin that sees the sun a lot.
Melasma doesn’t have any lasting health consequences; however, these patches can cause distress and embarrassment. The good news? There are plenty of ways to reduce the appearance of this skin condition. Let’s delve into the causes of melasma and consider the ways you can treat and prevent future discoloration.
What Causes melasma?
Experts have yet to pinpoint the exact cause of melasma. Researchers believe that the dark patches may occur when the skin’s color-making cells (melanocytes) create too much color. That’s why people with skin of color are more likely to experience melasma; they have more active melanocytes than those with fair skin.
What Causes melasma?
The appearance and severity of melasma can be triggered by three main factors: hormonal fluctuations, sun exposure, and genetics.
Let’s take an in-depth look at two of these melasma causes.
Yes! Melasma is one of the most common skin conditions in the United States. Melasma is more common in women than men, and often shows up during pregnancy. Typically, melasma shows up between the ages of 20 and 40, but there are cases of childhood melasma that continue well into adulthood.
Those with tan or naturally brown skin are more likely to experience melasma than those with fair or black skin, and people who live in areas that see intense bouts of ultraviolet rays may have more severe melasma discoloration.
This skin condition can be diagnosed by simply looking at it; dermatologists will often visually examine the skin. They may use a special tool called a Wood’s light to help assist in this diagnosis, which helps them determine how deep the melasma has penetrated your skin. Generally, the characteristics of melasma can be seen with the naked eye.
If your physician is concerned the discoloration may be caused by another disease or condition, they may elect to take a skin biopsy, but this is very rare.
Yes. There are three types of melasma diagnoses: epidermal, dermal, and mixed.
There are some pervasive myths about melasma that are simply untrue. These include:
If you already have skin discoloration as a result of melasma, there are a few ways to go about managing it. While some hyperpigmentation may be permanent, certain treatment options can greatly reduce the appearance discoloration.
At-Home Melasma Treatment and Prevention
You can take the reins of your melasma treatment at home. Managing this skin condition means understanding your triggers and doing all that you can to avoid them. If you are struggling with melasma, make sure you practice the following to help create a more even skin tone.
Dermatologist Treatment Options
For some, melasma only sticks around for a few months or years, but others can struggle with this skin condition for decades. In these cases, professional treatment may be the best solution. Professional dermatologists can tackle your melasma in a few different ways:
Many women deal with melasma during pregnancy (you’ll often hear of it referred to as Chloasma) According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, almost 70 percent of pregnant women develop this skin condition.
Don’t worry about this skin condition affecting your little one—it’s harmless. If it shows up during pregnancy, it’s likely that it will resolve after the baby has been delivered. It may come back with recurrent pregnancies though, and can be worse if you’re pregnant during the summer season.
If you’ve noticed discoloration on your face, melasma could be the culprit. This common skin condition can’t be completely eradicated, but the right products and management strategies can help you achieve an even skin tone and get the radiant complexion you deserve.
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