Melasma – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

by andywalsh | March 27, 2019 1:30 am

Melasma is a very common skin disorder, characterized by irregular patches of dark patches on the skin. Melasma is also known by other names such as Chloasma and Mask of pregnancy . Although it can affect anyone, melasma is particularly common in women, especially pregnant women and those who are taking oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy medications. Melasma appears as a blotchy, brownish pigmentation on the face that develops slowly and fades with time. Chloasma usually affects women but occasionally is seen in young men who use after-shave lotions, scented soaps, and other toiletries. The disorder is most common in sunny climates and in people of Latin or Asian origin. Melasma produces irregular, patchy areas of dark color that are the same on both sides of the face.

The pigmentation most often occurs in the center of the face and on the cheeks, forehead, upper lip, and nose. Sometimes people have the patches only on the sides of the face. Rarely, melasma appears on the forearms. The patches do not itch or hurt and are only of cosmetic significance. Melasma usually fades after pregnancy or when an oral contraceptive is discontinued. People with melasma can use sunscreens on the dark patches and avoid sun exposure to prevent the condition from getting worse. Skin-bleaching creams containing hydroquinone and retinoic acid can help lighten the dark patches.

Melasma is a skin condition in which brown patches occur primarily on the cheekbones, forehead and upper lip. The most common sites of involvement are the cheeks, bridge of nose, forehead, and upper lip. Melasma does not cause any other symptoms beyond the cosmetic discoloration but may be of great cosmetic concern. Different types of melasma occur depending on the location of the excess melanin, in the epidermis or the dermis. Melasma is thought to be caused by elevated levels of estrogen, progesterone, and melanocyte-stimulating hormone (a hormone that causes melanin cells to make more melanin). Pregnancy-induced melasma usually resolves after delivery, but may return with subsequent pregnancies or with oral contraceptives. Treatment of melasma depends on the type and involves skin-lightening agents and sometimes tretinoin (Retin-A). The proper use of sunscreen is also important because UV light can worsen melasma.

Causes of Melasma

Find common causes and risk factors of Melasma:

Signs and Symptoms of Melasma

Sign and symptoms may include the following:

Treatment for Melasma

Treatment may include:

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