What Is Melasma?

August 24, 2011

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Melasma is a patchy brown skin discoloration which can normally be seen on the upper lip, upper cheeks, forehead and chin of women between 20 to 50 years old. Constant exposure to the heat of the sun is the main suspect for melasma although there are recent studies that certain medicines such as birth control pills, progesterone, HRT and anti-siezure medications can trigger melasma. Although melasma is common in women, it is uncommon in men.

A recent survey by the American Medical Association found out that melasma is frequent in pregnant women and on women undergoing hormonal changes. The survey also indicated that women of Asian, Hispanic or Middle Eastern descent are also more prone to melasma. People who have dark or olive skin are also more prone to melasma.

There are four known types of melasma – the mixed, the dermal, the epidermal and one unclassified type of melasma that is common on dark skinned people. The epidermal type of melasma is caused by the excessive presence of melanin in the skin’s superficial layer. The dermal type of melasma is due to the existence of abnormal amounts of melanophages in the dermis. The mixed type is the combination of the dermal and epidermal type of melasma. The unclassified type of melasma is known to be caused by the presence of excess melanocytes in dark-skinned people.

The exact medical reason why elasma occurs is still unknown. Although frequent exposure to the UV rays of the sun is pointed out as a contributing factor, there are other factors as well. One of such factor is heredity. If your parents or grandparents have melasma then you have an increased chance of acquiring melasma once your reach the age of twenty.

Some chemicals that are used during skin treatments, especially chemicals that produce skin irritation, are known to increase the melanin levels in your skin and induce the occurrence of melasma. It is therefore advisable to consult a skin expert before using any skin treatment products that you purchase off market shelves.

Like liver spots, melasma can be prevented by limiting the amount of time that you spend under the sun. Whenever our for extended periods of time, always apply a high SPF sunscreen on your skin. Although melasma is relatively harmless, have a skin biopsy if you detect excessive and abnormal presence of melasma on your face.

melasma

Recent Melasma Articles:

10 Ways To Remove Melasma

Dealing With Melasma

 

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