Melasma also known as chloasma, is a common skin disorder that causes dark, discoloured patches on the skin. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 90 percent of people who develop this condition are women between the ages of 20-50 years old.
Symptoms of Melasma
Melasma causes discolouration in the form of patches that are darker than your skin. The patches tend to be brown, tan or a blue-gray colour. The condition typically occurs on the face such as the upper cheeks, upper lip, bridge of nose, forehead and chin. Other areas of your body that are often exposed to sun can also develop this condition such as on the neck or forearm. The discolouration doesn’t do any physical harm but the individual may feel self-conscious about it.
Causes of Melasma
There isn’t a clear definite cause, however some things associated with the condition are the sun, genetic predisposition and hormonal changes. When estrogen and progesterone are altered in the form of birth control pills, pregnancy and hormone therapy, melasma can be triggered. Stress and thyroid disease have also been postulated to be causes of melasma. It has been determined that darker skinned individuals are at more risk than fair skinned individuals.
Usually a visual exam of the infected skin area by a doctor is enough to diagnose the condition. However to rule out specific causes some other tests may be performed. Doctors may do tests to check for infections and determine how many layers of skin are affected.
Melasma Prevention & Treatment
For some, melasma may disappears on its own when it is caused by pregnancy or birth control. However if it does not disappear on its own there are alternative methods can can treat it such as creams that can be prescribed by a doctor to lighten the affected skin. As well there are other treatments such as chemical peels, dermabrasion and microdermabrasion. A newer way that is proven to reduce the appearance of the condition is by using the Spectra Laser