MELASMA / FRECKLES

About Melasma :

Melasma also called chloasma, or the “mask of pregnancy,” is a very common patchy brown, tan, or blue-gray facial skin discoloration, usually seen in women in the reproductive years

Presentation :

Common signs (what you see) of melasma are brown or gray-brown patches on the face. These patches most commonly appear on the:

  • Cheeks.

  • Forehead.

  • Bridge of the nose.

  • Above the upper lip.

  • Chin.

Some people get patches on their forearms or neck. This is less common.

  • People with darker skin are more likely to get melasma.

  • People who have a blood relative who had melasma also are much more likely to get melasma.

Types :

  • The epidermal type is identified by the presence of excess melanin in the superficial layers of skin.

  • Dermal melasma is distinguished by the presence of melanophages (cells that ingest melanin) throughout the dermis.

  • The mixed type includes both the epidermal and dermal type.

  • In the fourth type, excess melanocytes are present in the skin of dark-skinned individuals.

Cause :

The exact cause of melasma remains unknown. It likely occurs when the color-making cells in the skin (melanocytes) produce too much colour. 

Common melasma triggers (what starts it) include:

  • Sun exposure: Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun stimulates the melanocytes. In fact, just a small amount of sun exposure can make melasma return after fading. It also is the main reason why many people with melasma get it again and again.

  • A change in hormones such as in pregnancy. Birth control pills and hormone replacement (HRT and progesterone) medicine also can trigger melasma.

  • Skin care products: If a product irritates your skin, melasma can worsen.

  • ​Antiseizure medications, and other medications.

MELASMA: Tips for Managing

If you have Melasma, these are the tips for achieving a more even skin tone: 

  • Wear sunscreen daily, even on cloudy days and after swimming or sweating. Choose a sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection, a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or more, and zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide to physically limit the effects of the sun’s rays on your skin. Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going outside and reapply at least every two hours.

  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses when you’re outside

  • Choose gentle skin care products that don’t sting or burn, as products that irritate the skin may worsen melasma. 

  • Avoid waxing areas of the body affected by the condition.​

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