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MELASMA

 

Introduction

Melasma is a common skin problem. It causes dark, brown to gray-brown patches on the face and is symmetrical, with matching marks on both sides of your face. Although, it appears on all part of the body, but it is often found on cheeks, bridge of their nose, forehead, chin, and above their upper lip. It can also appear on alternative parts of the body that get immeasurable sun, like forearms and neck.

Signs & Symptoms

Common signs of Melasma are brown or gray-brown patches on the face, sometimes on the forearms or neck and sometimes causes irritation. These patches most commonly appear on the cheeks, forehead, bridge of the nose, above the upper lip, chin. Melasma is often associated with the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. It is common in pregnant women, women taking birth control pills (oral contraceptives), women taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) during menopause.

Causes

It normally occurs when the color-making cells in the skin (melanocytes) produce too much color. People with skin of color are more prone to Melasma because they have more active melanocytes than those with light skin.

Main Causes are -
Sun exposure:
Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun stimulates the melanocytes.

A change in hormones: Pregnant women are more prone to get Melasma. When Melasma appears in pregnant women, it is called chloasma, or the mask of pregnancy. Birth control pills and internal secretion medication can trigger Chloasma.

Cosmetics: Skin care products that irritate the skin might worsen Melasma.

Prevention for Melasma

It is not possible all cases of Melasma can be cleared up with treatment. However, there are things you can do to minimize appearance of the discoloration which includes:

  • Wearing sunscreen with SPF 30
  • Taking prescribed medication by doctors.
  • Wearing protective clothing from sunshine.

 

Authored By Dr. Harish Prasad

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