Melasma appears and usually fades on its own

September 19, 2010

Melasma is a skin that typically occurs primarily in woman and can appear anywhere on the face as a grayish-brown patch. More a cosmetic problem than anything else, melasma can appear on prominent features of your face such as your nose, chin and forehead. There is little known about the cause.

Interestingly, about 90 percent of melasma cases are women and only 10 percent are men. Typically, seen in people of Mediterranean or Latin origin, you can also find cases among people of Indian origin, or among people of North African origin.

And, while there is little known about the cause of melasma, what is known that it does seem to occur within families. In other words, it is more a skin condition that can be said to be hereditary.

There is evidence to show that melasma, which also appears during pregnancy, can be caused by hormonal treatment, birth control treatment and even some anti-seizure medications have been known to trigger this discoloration where pigment-producing melanocytes are triggered to counteract the effects of the sun or ultraviolet rays.

Melasma usually fades over time as the melanocytes lose their hold, although they can be triggered again by using some irritating skin-care products.

To be sure that it is nothing more serious, dermatologists may order biopsies of a melasma area, however, by and large they have found the favored treatment for this problem is hydroquinone. These are generally applied topically in a cream and it does take some time for the darkening to fade. These creams must be used regularly to ensure effectiveness.

Other forms of treatment that work with success on especially stubborn cases of melasma can include a chemical peel, dermabrasion and the like. The reason these are successful is that they usually take the layers of skin where the melasma appears and removes those layers, revealing lower levels of healthy non-melasmic skin.

During treating if melasma, dermatologists also recommend daily use of sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30. This is to prevent a recurrence of the skin discoloration.

One thing to remember in this is that this should be done in consultation with a skilled dermatologist and that recommendations made must be followed.

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