Melasma! This is derived from a Greek word “Melas” meaning black.
This name is given because this condition results in hypermelanosis of sun-exposed areas which forms symmetric hyper pigmented macules which are brown, black in color which can be confluent.
The most common sites of this condition are the cheeks, the upper lip, the chin, and the forehead. Other sun exposed regions also have the chance of developing it.
Now let’s see the causes of melasma and also what its risk factors are. As melasma is a very common skin disorder it can affect any one. Sun exposure is reported to be the strong risk factor. In tropical climates melasma is very common.
Young women with brownish skin tones are at high risk. According to studies melasma is found to be associated with female hormones estrogen and progesterone. You can find this disorder in pregnant women, women taking hormone replacement therapy during menopause and women who are taking oral contraceptives for birth control.
Women are at high risk than men. Melasma is found to affect almost 90% of women among all the cases. This is a pretty high ratio. The clinical and histologic picture is identical when men are affected. Women are at high risk during their reproductive years. This condition is very rare before puberty.
Not Much Symptoms! Yes, melasma doesn’t cause any other symptoms besides skin discoloration. But this is enough for a person to get depressed as this may be of great cosmetic concern. As this result in a uniform brown color over the cheeks, forehead, nose, or upper lip it becomes a matter of concern.
Usually not much of treatment is required for this type of skin disorder. The major problem lies with the discoloration of the skin which usually goes away spontaneously over a period of several months after stopping taking the oral contraceptives or hormone replacement therapy or after giving birth. For fading of discolored patches many topical application creams are available. For advanced cases the laser treatment is also used.
During any of these treatments one should strictly avoid sun exposure. The use of broad-spectrum sunscreens with physical blockers, such as titanium dioxide and zinc dioxide is preferred over that with only chemical blockers. In order to reduce the visibility and appearance of melasma cosmetic cover-ups can also be used. [Sunburn]
As mentioned earlier melasma often fades over several months provided the use or oral contraceptive pills and hormone replacement therapy are stopped. Also after delivery of baby melasma gets faded away but keep in mind that it may return with additional pregnancies or use of these medications.
Is Prevention Possible? Certainly! Using moisturizer not only helps in preventing melasma from happening but also protects you from skin cancer and wrinkles. Check It Out!