WHAT IS MELASMA?
Melasma is a common pigmentation disorder that causes brown or gray patches to appear on the skin, primarily on the face.
This type of hyperpigmentation is common during pregnancy and other endogenous and exogenous factors.
Melasma is more commonly seen in women (phototype 3-5) and is thought to be triggered by UV exposure, as well as hormonal influences. The latter is what differentiates it from traditional hyperpigmentation and makes it tougher to treat. Now we know it is lifestyle problem.
It is hard to remove the endogenous factors.
The most common areas for melasma to appear on the face include:
- the bridge of the nose
- the forehead
- the cheeks
- the upper lip
Sometimes melasma can look like another skin condition.
Melasma can fade on its own.
However, some people have melasma for years, or even a lifetime.
Procedures for melasma include a chemical peel, laser treatment, or a light-based procedure.
After your melasma clears, you may need to keep treating your skin. Maintenance therapy can prevent melasma from returning.
Often what works for one person doesn’t work for another. It is hard to pinpoint one treatment that is most effective for melasma. Treatments depend on the severity of your melasma.
You can’t correct or prevent either without sun protection during summertime.
We’ve stressed the importance of diligent sunscreen use too many times to count. Melasma is also triggered by lifestyle factors, but that does not mean you should slack off on the SPF, as UV rays are dangerous if you are overexposed.
We recommend applying an SPF 30 even if you’re just going to be inside sitting near a window. Use moisturizer that contains SPF during summertime only and antioxidant creams during winter.