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Types. Symptoms & Diagnosis of Melasma

The diagnosis of melasma is important to understand well the types and symptoms of melasma from the point of view of treatment.

Melasma: The Risk Factors

Age and gender are not the determining factors when it comes to the development of melasma. Read more for details.

How to Treat Melasma

If you are looking for melasma treatment methods, you can read on to know about the methods that actually work.

More Articles

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An Overview - What is Melasma?

Are you suffering from the increasing occurrence of irregularly shaped brown spots on the face or in the neck region?

It is so annoying to look into the mirror each day and see these brown spots of different hues spoil your otherwise flawless complexion. You despise them. You've never had them before and wonder where they came from and what they actually are. When small in size, we generally mistake them for freckles. However, this is a condition called melasma and is caused by various underlying factors.

In this section, we shall introduce you to melasma - what it is, the causes, symptoms and treatments. So read on.

How is Melasma defined?

Melasma is a dark skin discoloration or a patchy brown tan. It is characterized by the development of dark brown spots on the forehead, nose bridge, cheek, upper lip and neck. Melasma may be caused in other sun exposed areas of the body. The dark spots may be ugly in appearance but, this is a relatively harmless skin condition. It is also referred to as Chloasma Faciei or mask of pregnancy when it occurs in pregnant women.  

A common misconception about melasma is that it occurs only in women. Melasma is not a women exclusive skin condition; it occurs in males as well only the incidences are higher in women. Melasma is also more common in olive and darker skinned individuals.

What are the different causes of Melasma?

Skin discoloration caused due to melasma is associated with the following factors:

Treatment and Prevention Methods:

The skin discoloration caused by melasma is only temporary and the spots lighten over time. There are several treatment and prevention methods that be used to reduce the intensity of melasma. Topical creams containing the skin lightening agent hydroquinone is an effective treatment for melasma. You could also look for creams that include kojic acid, azelaic acid and tretinoin as the ingredients.

The health care provider or dermatologist may suggest the use of chemical peels to improve the appearance of the melasma. Dermal and mixed melasma are tricky to treat. The use of topical applications only lightens the spots. Laser treatments can help but, they should be undertaken only under proper guidance and after consulting a specialist.

If melasma is caused due to pregnancy or certain medication such as HRT or birth control pills, it would best to avoid doing anything and let it take its course of time to disappear as melasma generally disappears after birth of the child or with discontinuance of the medications.

Since sun exposure is one of the main risk factors, avoiding long hours of exposure to the sun and use of sunscreen to protect the skin against the harsh and intense heat can help. You should use a sun block of at least 30 SPF or higher.