Melasma is not attractive
Melasma, or chloasma or the ‘mask of pregnancy’ as it is also called, are tan or brown spots which discolor the skin. It is most commonly found among woman, especially pregnant women or those taking hormone replacement therapy medications.
Generally the symptoms include dark patches and spots on the cheeks, nose, forehead or upperlip. They may develop and worsen over time. Melasma is a purely cosmetic concern, though any unusual spotting should be diagnosed by a qualified dermatologist to determine if it is skin cancer.
What Causes Melasma?
Genetics, hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, and extrinsic factors such as sun exposure are thought to be the cause of Melasma. Hormones stimulate the production of melanocytes, the pigment-producing cells in our skin, as they become exposed by the sun. The increased melanin production causes the spotting we see with Melasma.
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Avoiding the Sun
As with most skin conditions, the sun doesn’t help melasma. Wearing sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection will help protect the skin and diminish the factors contributing to a worsening of the condition.
There are a number of treatments available for melasma. Some include:
- Laser Treatment to remove the discoloration in the skin
- Azelaic Acid
- Tretinoin (not during pregnancy)
- Topical Creams like Hydroquinone
- Chemical Peels