Melasma: The Pregnancy Mask

March 26, 2010

Melasma, which is often better known as the mask of pregnancy or even the pregnancy mask, is a skin condition that can be identified as the occurrence of dark brown, well demarcated and roughly symmetrical patches of pigmentation on the face.  Occasionally, these patches can also appear on an individual’s forearms and more commonly the backs of the forearms.  More women than men will have this skin condition to contest with, of course, with a name like pregnancy mask.  In fact, melasma is over nine times more common in women than in men and is most common in prevalently darker skinned females.

Even after years of research the cause or causes of melasma, or pregnancy mask, are still unknown.  However, what factor is known that all of the cases have occurred on sun exposed skin that have been recorded thus far.  As the name implies, this skin condition is generally associated with females whom are pregnant and some who are recently pregnant.  The statistics of this skin condition occurring in women whom are not pregnant and men is a mere ten percent in comparison to the percentage of women who develop pregnancy mask while they are, indeed, pregnant.  The reasoning that pregnant women are far more prone to developing this skin condition is associated with the usage of certain medications such as Dilantin and oral contraceptives.

Developing and living with melasma will be a painless physical experience, but for some, the harsh emotional experience of dealing with unsightly patches on the face or on other body parts can be embarrassing to say the least.  Also from the years of research that has been done on pregnancy mask, medical professionals have concluded that melasma cases will come in one of three patterns virtually time.  These patterns have been classified and described by these professional in relation to their depth of skin involvement and these three patterns are:  Centrofacial, which involes the nose, foreheads and cheeks and is most common; malar, which is the second most common and involves cheeks and temples; lastly, there is mandibular which accounts for the smallest percentage of cases and involves the jaw line.  Depending on which one of these applies to you, you will have different treatment options.

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